How to obtain health insurance when teaching abroad

Teaching overseas is an exiting and rewarding journey for expat teachers around the world. There are many opportunities to teach English and other subjects in both public and private schools abroad. Many younger teachers will gain valuable work experience that will help their career when they come back to their home country. More experienced teachers may choose to work abroad to experience life abroad, especially in a more exotic country.

If you are teaching overseas for a year or more, it is important to consider adequate health insurance to cover both you and any dependents that may come with you. In this article, we will discuss health insurance options for expatriate teachers and introduce the differences between domestic health insurance and international medical coverage.

Why Should I get health insurance while teaching abroad?

Before teaching overseas, it is strongly recommended to do some research about your current health insurance plan and the healthcare situation in particular country where you are moving. Most local health insurance coverage in your destination country is designed to cover you locally it will not allow you to seek medical care overseas. Depending on which country you are going, in some less developed countries, the local medical facilities may not be up to the standard that you are used to. Therefore, obtaining appropriate medical coverage is very important.

 

Group or Personal Plans for Teachers

Many teachers will be offered to join a group plan offered by the school if one exists or is available. Expat Financial can source excellent group medical plans for schools and universities that provide both local and global medical coverage for the teaching and administration staff. Most teachers will naturally join the group plan that is offered. If your school is not offering a plan that you can join, then teachers should obtain an individual health plan to cover their emergency and out-patient medical needs.

Domestic Health Insurance V.S. International Medical Coverage

In most countries, the healthcare system is divided into two options: public medical care and private healthcare. If you are employed by an institution or an organization overseas, you are probably covered by adequate local healthcare system provided by your employer. However, to many expats living and working abroad, the local healthcare system is not the best choice. In Hong Kong, for example, health insurance is considered as part of expats’ benefit package. This is often referred to the public clinics and hospitals. Though the overall standard of public healthcare system is high in Hong Kong, the system is more focused on emergency care, not preventive healthcare. Also, the public medical system does not provide dental care. The private healthcare system is often chosen by many wealthy Hong Kong nationals and expatriates. This is not only because of its excellence in service and medical treatment, but also the flexibility of surgery bookings to many busy expatriates.

The cost of using private medical care is usually very high. Expat teachers living and working overseas who choose to opt for the private healthcare option should obtain international health insurance to cover emergency and/or out-patient medical costs. With an appropriate international medical plan, individual expats and their families are covered worldwide (except in the USA unless you add it as optional benefit). International health insurance plan provides day-patient care and full hospital coverage, extensive cancer coverage, maternity and baby care (conditions may apply), dental & vision care and international medical evacuation and repatriation. This is especially important for expats going to visit rural area in some less developed countries.

How do teachers lower your global medical premiums?

If expatriate teachers want to lower their health premiums, one can include a larger deductible or obtain a plan that will only cover in-patient expenses that are incurred in a hospital. Most global medical plans will offer three levels of coverage, such as Silver, Gold and Platinum with each plan offering a higher level of coverage and policy maximum. Some medical plans will include maternity care after a 12 month waiting period. 

expat healthcare if critical

How to Obtain International Teacher Health Insurance?

Expat Financial can source global medical insurance plans for expatriate teachers that can provide excellent coverage and premiums. We have been offering teachers international health insurance coverage on an individual basis for many years. For more information, please check out our International Teacher Health Insurance page. 

If you are an international education institution and employing expatriates teachers, we can provide group medical plan quote for your teachers. Please click here for International School Insurance Solutions brochure. Contact us for plan details.

2017 Travel Destinations: Best of China for Expats & Visitors

Why international health insurance is critical in Beijing for expats

Beijing is the capital of China and is located in the northern China. It is a city that is well known for its cultural heritage sites such as the Forbidden City, Temple of Heaven, Summer Palace, Ming Tombs and of course the Great Wall. Besides being the economic center in China, this fascinating city is home to many multinationals from abroad and local Chinese companies headquarters. Many firms are willing to bring in new expats from abroad with western education and experience. In this article, we will discuss healthcare in Beijing, why international health insurance is critical for expats and expatriate group insurance plans for international employers if wishing to open a market in Beijing.

Healthcare in Beijing

Generally speaking, the standard of healthcare system in Beijing is higher than in most cities within China. Since Beijing is the capital city of China with a large population, many well-known doctors and medical experts reside there. Many patients travel to Beijing just to see a well-known doctor in one of the many hospitals that are located there. Public hospitals in Beijing are not only serving local residents, but also patients come from all over the places in China. As a result, most public hospitals in Beijing are often overcrowded, with long waiting period and long line-ups. One should also note that the air pollution is a significant concern for both locals and expatriates in China. The health impacts of that pollution will impact the health of expatriates in Beijing and having medical coverage and preventative healthcare is critical.

Private hospitals and clinics are also available in Beijing. These private medical facilities usually have English speaking doctors and medical staff. Some of them are even expatriates from western countries. High end private international clinics such as Beijing United Family Hospital are one of the options for many foreigners. Such private medical firms are able to provide faster medical appointments and urgent medical treatment. Many private international clinics offer direct billing with global insurance companies, which is very convenient for expatriates living and working in Beijing. Therefore, most expats in Beijing would want to choose the city’s private medical centers.

The High Cost of Medical Care in Beijing & the Rest of China

Like most of China, private health treatment has become extremely expensive in Beijing, even rivaling the United States. Even at public hospitals with special foreign or VIP departments, medical costs are rising, according to recent reports. For example, an uncomplicated birthing procedure at private international clinics Beijing United Family Hospital costs between over $13,000 USD. The cost of one standard private hospital room can be thousands US dollar per night. In case of medical emergency, the costs are estimated to double or triple. Without an appropriate medical coverage plan, expatriates could end up with paying tens of thousands of US dollars or even more.

expat healthcare if critical

Why International Health Insurance Is Critical For Expats In Beijing? 

Many expats working in Beijing may qualify for the local public health insurance system. However, the public health insurance plans does not meet most expat needs, especially if you want to get treated at a private facility or outside of China. As noted above, medical treatment fees in Beijing are relatively high and expats may find that they still need to pay a certain amount of co-payment when go to public hospitals.

For expats who prefer private hospitals and clinics, it is critical to obtain an international health insurance plan. A typical international health insurance plan will provide coverage options such as hospital coverageoutpatient treatment, medical emergency evacuation, routine health check-ups, dental & vision care and US coverage options. It will help you maintain your health and avoid financial risks while working and living in Beijing. It is also very important to have an international health insurance plan that provides international emergency evacuation and repatriation coverage. 

International Group Insurance Plans For Expatriate Employees in Beijing

While we can source individual medical plans for expats in Beijing and the rest of China, Expatriate group insurance plans are critical for international employers who wish to open an office in Beijing or already have expat employees there. An international group insurance plan for expats in Asia will usually include life insurance, health insurance, dental, evacuation and disability insurance to expatriate employees and even some key local nationals. It will not only protect expatriate employees in Beijing, but also will protect employer’s business as providing medical coverage is a key fiduciary responsibility. The international expat group insurance plans can be tailored to meet the needs of your employees working in Beijing so that your business objectives can be achieved. It is critical that that a global benefit plan cover pre-existing medical conditions and provide easy access and direct payment to the hospitals in the city and the rest of China. 

Get Insurance From Expat Financial for Beijing Expats

Expat Financial offers independent advice, solutions and ongoing service and support to clients around much of the world and we have extensive experience in sourcing medical cover for individual expats and expat employers in Beijing and the rest of China. We can source plans from large and secure global insurance companies with excellent global service and support. Our firm can offer a wide array of individual expat health insurance plans for expats China and even Chinese expatriates living overseas. If you have questions about our international medical insurance plans and expatriates group insurance plans or you want to discuss your needs and produce a customized quote, please contact us or complete the quote form. We look forward to hearing from you soon. 

Medical Insurance for trips to the USA is critical

Whether you are planning a short trip to the USA, an international student going for a summer course, or you are moving to the United States, it is vital to obtain medical insurance before departure. Medical costs in America are widely known to be the most expensive in the world. However, many visitors are to the USA will take the chance and not obtain travel medical coverage or simply forget. In this article, we will discuss the importance of visitor insurance and ways to obtain appropriate medical insurance when traveling to America.

The Importance of Visitor Health Insurance When in the USA

There is basically no universal or free healthcare in the United States. In March 2010, President Obama passed the Affordable Care Act (ACA), commonly referred to as “Obamacare”, intended to expand healthcare coverage in the USA. However, medical expenses are still about twice as much as many other developed countries. There are a variety of reasons, but is at least partially because of the high administrative costs, drug prices, mix of medical treatments, etc…

We have all heard stories of people who have traveled to the United States for a short trip and after suffering a major accident or illness been faced with a extremely large medical bill that is in the hundreds of thousands or even over a million. In fact, recently a Canadian couple were in California and were both hit by a car. Unfortunately the husband died at the scene and the wife suffered catastrophic injuries that exceeded her $500,000 travel medical insurance policy. Another reason to check if your policy has a large policy limit.

It is also important for international visitors and new immigrants to obtain health insurance before going to the USA for short or long trips.

Short Term Visitors to the USA

Travel medical insurance plans are often suitable for international visitors staying 5 days to 12 months in the USA and we do offer some excellent plans with a variety of policy maximums and several deductible choices. A typical travel medical plan for trips to the USA will often include medical benefits such as  hospital room stays, x-rays, ICU care, emergency drug cover, accidental dental,emergency evacuation & repatriation. Policy details and the web application are available online. If you want, you can obtain a quote and purchase coverage online. We recommend that you purchase a comprehensive travel medical plan with as high a policy maximum as you can obtain. More details on the policies we offer at our travel insurance page.  For companies sending employees abroad for business, it is their duty to make sure that their business travel medical plan fully covers their employees globally, especially when going to the USA. 

Long Term Stays in the USA

If you are a non-US citizen and you plan to reside in the United States, you will need to obtain an international health insurance plan that will provide comprehensive medical treatment including hospitals in-patient and out-patient coverage, international medical evacuation, vision and dental coverage in the USA. If you are an expatriate living or traveling to the USA, you should obtain adequate international health insurance coverage. If you become eligible for a local health plan in the United States, you should apply for it. Note that the local plans will most likely not cover treatment outside of the USA or when you travel abroad. If you are an American living overseas and you plan to go back to the USA for a short trip, make sure your expat health plan fully covers you for treatment and/or short trips in the United States. If you are an American who plans to permanently move back to the United States, you will have to obtain a local health plan in the USA.

travel insurance

Do You Have Questions? 

If you have questions about our international medical insurance plans or you want to discuss your needs and produce a customized quote, please contact us or complete the quote form  as you may want to make sure that you are indeed fully covered when visiting the USA for short or long term stays. 

 

How to find a doctor while living abroad

Before moving or traveling overseas, it is important to get to know more about the health services at your destination country. This especially important for people with chronic medical conditions or people who will stay in a foreign country for a long period of time. In this article, we will discuss how to find a doctor while living abroad and tips to prepare for medical care before and after departure.

Ways to Find Medical Facilities Abroad

Research Hospitals: We recommend that expats and travellers research destination country’s medical information and hospitals online and contact them if you require medical attention during your stay. Especially for expats who have pre-existing medical conditions such as heart disease, arthritis, HIV, diabetes and depression. When living abroad, most expats will want to use private hospitals and clinics, especially in countries where local government medical systems are underdeveloped or not available for expatriates. Expats also prefer private medical facilities because of their excellent treatment and high level of medical service. Compared to public hospitals’ long queues and waits, many private hospitals not only have English speaking staff and well-trained doctors, but also the flexibility treatment bookings to suit expats’ schedules. It should also be noted that most private medical facilities provide better accommodations and services for expatriates.

The cost of private medical treatment can vary significantly between country to country. In many nations, uninsured medical costs can cause a financial burden to many foreign patients. Therefore, it is vital for expats obtain an international health insurance plan that can cover both emergency and non-urgent medical costs.

Researching Doctors While Living Abroad: In addition to hospital search, it is suggested that expats research doctors online in their destination country as well. Please keep in mind that you will want to select doctors who can speak your language. Many embassy sites in your destination country will provide doctor services information. For example, many US embassy web sites in foreign countries will have a list of international physicians and doctors. It is also recommended that expat patients with medical needs should contact their embassy before they go abroad.

Aside from a web search, another great source for expatriates living abroad is to check with their international health insurance provider’s web site as it will often provide a list of medical doctors and hospitals that are in the insurer’s medical network. This may even allow for direct reimbursement of the costs without the expat having to pay out of pocket for medical claims. It is vital that expatriates and expat employers obtain medical coverage with an expat insurance company that has a large medical network that will provide fast and efficient payment of claims while living abroad.

How to Prepare in Advance

In case of medical emergency, some healthcare facilities may be unsatisfactory in underdeveloped countries or for expats working and living in rural areas. Expats and visitors can follow these simple points to make sure you and your family members are properly prepared while living abroad:

  • Bring any medications you may need while living abroad and make sure the bottles are properly labeled.
  • Always consult a doctor if you need to find a replacement medicine or prescription in your destination country.
  • Carry your global health insurance card with you, as well as your international health insurance company contacts and policy number.
  • Check if the local doctor can write and speak English or your native language.
  • A written document that identifies your blood type, any chronic illness and allergies in local language. This really helps in case of medical emergency.
  • Make sure your international health insurance plan has medial emergency evacuation coverage.
  • Wear your medical information bracelet if you have an underlying medical condition
  • Embassy contact information for your destination country.

Obtain International Health Insurance Before Departure

The cost of preventive healthcare at many private medical facilities is expensive, especially in more developed countries. Local healthcare packages for expats may include some very basic medical coverage, but those plans usually do not cover preventive healthcare expenses or give you access to advanced private care. With a tailored international health insurance from a company such as Cigna, expats can be covered internationally – including medical emergency evacuation and repatriation, preventive healthcare expenses, hospitalization and treatments and medicines. The peace of mind of knowing that you and your family access to the best healthcare is very important for individual expatriates and their employers. 

If you have questions about our international medical insurance plans or you want to discuss your needs and produce a customized quote, please contact us or complete the quote form

 

 

 

Hong Kong International Health Insurance Options

International health insurance in Hong Kong is very important to consider when moving to this city, which is one of the world’s most successful financial centers and offers an exiting array of culture and excitement for expatriates in this vibrant Asian city. In this article, we will discuss how Hong Kong international health insurance is vital for locals, travelers and expatriates in one of the most  prosperous international business areas in AsiaHong Kong is within a few hours’ flight from all major cities such as Beijing, Tokyo, Seoul and Singapore in Southeast Asia. Hong Kong has advanced medical care system, education, international cuisine and active lifestyle  that helps attract many expatriates of different countries from all over the world each year. When in Hong Kong it is important to keep healthy and active, so we will introduce the healthcare system in Hong Kong and health insurance options for locals, travelers and expats.

Healthcare in Hong Kong

Public System: The standard of healthcare in Hong Kong is generally considered as one of the best health systems in Asia. Most healthcare is government operated and managed by HK Health Authority. There are approximately 56 hospitals in Hong Kong, of which 12 are private and 44 are public. Public hospitals are equipped with advanced facilities and well-trained medical staff, while the cost to Hong Kong ID card holders are minimal and affordable. For the most part, the public system is more geared to emergency care, not preventive healthcare. There is also usually less choice, especially with regard to doctors. The one thing the public system does not provide is dental care. Therefore, expatriates seeking dental treatment must take out international health insurance plan to cover the medical cost.

Private System:  Private hospitals are often chosen by Hong Kong nationals and expatriates because of their high level of service and excellent treatment, without long waits and queues. Private facilities in the city will also provide flexible surgery bookings to suit expats’ s schedules along with more deluxe accomodations and services. You may have to pay more when a surgery is performed outside regular hours. However, the cost of using private medical facilities can be quite high. It is important that expats moving to Hong Kong should obtain international health insurance coverage before departure. Many expats in Hong Kong will add optional dental care for their family.

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Health Cover for Visiting Hong Kong as a Traveler

A visa for Hong Kong is not required for tourists from more than 160 countries within staying from 7 to 180 days. Medical payments are usually using cash in public hospitals. As travelers don’t have Hong Kong ID card, they will need to pay private hospital rates when using public hospitals. For example, the cost for an emergency visit at public hospitals can be HK$120 with ID card, but could be HK$600 as a traveler without one. Many travelers tend to use private healthcare facilities for treatment under emergency situations. It is important to obtain emergency travel medical insurance with medical evacuation coverage if traveling to Hong Kong from another country that will provide payment for medical treatment via a large network of hospitals.

Global Health Insurance for People Living and Working in Hong Kong 

As a well established international financial center, many expatriates working in trade and finance related professions in Hong Kong. Some expat employers may provide health plan with basic coverage, but it probably won’t provide much coverage beyond HK or Asia. However, this is often inadequate when apply to private medical facilities. Additional private medical insurance plan is required to cover your stay. Many expats should also obtain global life and disability insurance coverage. Our most popular global medical plan for Hong Kong is the Cigna Global Health Options plan and it can be offered to both expatriates and local Hong Kong nationals. It offers coverage from a very large, secure and respected global insurance company with many hundreds of thousands of expatriates coverage around the world. You can choose in-patient only or add out-patient medical coverage to include items such as check-ups and tests done outside a hospital setting. 

International Health Insurance Solutions in Hong Kong 

Expat Financial offers several international health insurance plans for expatriates and even local nationals living and working in Hong Kong. We offer plans from several different international health insurance companies that are designed for foreign nationals living outside the country for which they hold a passport or some local national living outside US or Canada. We also offer excellent service before and after you purchase your international health insurance plan. If you have questions about our international medical insurance plans or you want to discuss your needs and produce a customized quote, please contact us or complete the quote form.

Road accidents in Thailand are a big risk for expats

Thailand is bustling and vibrant country at the heart of South-East Asia. There are many beautiful beaches and historic temples in Thailand. As a popular expat destination, Thailand has much to offer anyone when on the beach or traveling the country on many roads and highways. However, according to a recent article in the BBC news, 478 people lost their lives on the roads in just seven days over the New Year period in 2017. Unfortunately, like many developing countries, road accidents in Thailand are a big risk for expats. In this article, we will briefly review the high incidence of road accidents in Thailand, road safety tips for expats and how this higher risk highlights the importance of having global medical insurance in Thailand.

Road Accidents in Thailand 

According to a 2015 World Health Organization report, Thailand’s road death rate is one of the highest in the world. In fact, on Jan.2, 2017, a public van lost control and collided on a highway and 25 people were killed in the crash, as reported by many news organizations. Between December 29 and Jan. 3, 478 people died in 3,327 accidents according to by the Department of Land Transport. It has also been reported that road accidents involving tourists and expatriates in Thailand are quite common. In fact, the World Health Organization reports that there were 36 road related traffic deaths a year per 100,000 people in 2015. The British foreign office in 2013 even launched a road safety campaign to cut the number of UK expats injured and killed while living abroad, especially in countries such as Thailand.

As reported by the Vancouver Province, in January 2017, two Canadian women traveling in Thailand were involved in a car accident in Thailand. One died and the other suffered severe injuries and did not have any travel medical insurance. She is now faced with large medical bills.

One of the main reasons of road accidents in Thailand is speeding. However, other factors such as the rise of population, congestion in urban centers and highways, too many cars and vehicles in cities, etc. are all causes of road death. Luckily, the Thai government is implementing new road and safety projects and high-rise roads to improve the traffic conditions. In Thailand, many of the deaths and injuries involve scooters and motorcycles.

expat healthcare if critical

How to Increase Road Safety as an Expat in Thailand 

As a popular international destination, there are many expats choose to work and retire in Thailand. Just because there are more frequent road accidents doesn’t mean you should not enjoy life in Thailand. Here are some common sense road safely tips for expatriates in Thailand:

  • If you want to drive in Thailand, it is advised that always follow the legal speed limit.
  • Keep a certain distance with motorcycles – their speed is faster than you think.
  • When crossing road intersections, don’t rush to pass.
  • If you need to ride a motorbike or bicycle, wearing helmet is mandatory, but not usually enforced. However, it is well recommended as motorcycle accidents make up 70% of all road accidents in Thailand.
  • Expats living in Thailand should take extra care when walking in the city.
  • Your risks of a road accident increase when you ride or travel at night, so try to use the roads during the day.
  • Avoid riding quad bikes as they can be dangerous and illegal.
  • Check out the UK Foreign Office web site for Road Safety Overseas.
  • Before you enter Thailand and travel the roads, make sure you are covered for international health insurance. Make sure your health plan covers you if you are riding a motorcycle.

Railay beach, Krabi. Thailand

Medical Facilities in Thailand 

In major cities such as Bangkok of Thailand, the standard of medical facilities is generally quite good. Both public and private hospitals are available in Thailand. The public hospitals have good standard of medical care and used by the majority of Thai nationals. However, expats will want to skip the long queue of public hospitals and use private medical facilities with English speaking medical staff. If you are traveling the roads in more rural areas, the medical care you receive in the event of a road or pedestrian accident may be substandard. According to the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office, many private hospitals in Thailand are equivalent to western standards. Although the cost of medical treatment is reasonable in Thailand, expats should obtain international health insurance with medical emergency coverage before departure in the case of emergencies.

Obtain International Health Insurance in Thailand 

As one of the most visited country in Southeast Asia, Thailand is popular destination for expat worldwide. In 2016, a man from BC was visiting Thailand and while traveling by scooter he was run over by a large truck. Barely clinging to life with severe injuries, he barely survived. The Canadian did not have adequate medical coverage and his hospital bills quickly ran up to over $170,000 USD. This is an unfortunate reminder of the importance of international health insurance for expats living in Thailand.

If you are planning to work, live and retire in Thailand, most expatriates will want to obtain an international health insurance plan that will cover medical treatment in Thailand, but also globally. A good plan should not only cover accidents, but also illnesses. Expatriates in Thailand should make sure that their plan includes medical evacuation and repatriation coverageExpat Financial can source international health insurance for expatriates in Thailand from large and respected international insurance companies. If you are traveling the roads and highways in Thailand, contact us today for a quote and to discuss your Thailand expatriate insurance requirements.

Covering the chronic medical conditions of expat employees

Why should expat employers have a global benefit plan that covers chronic medical conditions? In today’s globalized economy, more and more companies are sending employees overseas to help their companies expand their markets. This includes companies involved in mining, engineering, manufacturing, oil & gas, legal and much more.  These expatriates are a vital asset for multinationals and organizations who want to retain and attract global talent. These expats are a key part of any multinational’s global success. However, many of these expat employees or their dependents may suffer from unseen medical conditions, otherwise known as chronic medical conditions. These “hidden diseases”, otherwise known as chronic conditions, are not something that companies can ask their current or future employees about.

There are many chronic diseases and conditions that an expat employee or his or her dependents may suffer from. A chronic condition is defined as being a disease which last three months or more and can’t be prevented or cured by medication. It has been reported that 88% of Americans over age 65 suffer from a chronic condition and the rates of such conditions increase with age. The rates for expats abroad under age 65 must also be quite high as well. Unfortunately, tobacco, alcohol and poor eating habits can increase your risk of developing a chronic condition. Sometimes its related to genetics or just bad luck. As an expat employer, you often can’t screen out employees with chronic conditions for a variety of reasons, such as legal restrictions. It is key that you get the best global talent possible and our firm have heard of expats who refuse expat postings because their employer doesn’t have a benefit plan that will cover their chronic condition or their dependent’s pre-existing medical condition.

Five well-known chronic conditions are heart disease, arthritis, HIV, diabetes, or depression have minimal symptoms at the very beginning. Below are a list of five significant chronic conditions that expat employers should consider when setting up a global medical plan:

Heart Disease: Otherwise known as cardiovascular disease, is a term describing diseases including the heart and blood vessels, whether the blood vessels are affecting other parts of the body. In many countries, heart disease is the leading cause of death in adults. Heart problems can cause a variety of symptoms such as chest pain, fast and pounding heartbeat and irregular heartbeats, or even shortness of breath. If diagnosed early, heart problems can be managed in many ways. Expats should take diagnostic tests regularly and discuss with doctor about the best treatment options. To prevent and control heart disease, expats should stay away from tobacco. Another good way to maintain healthy is regular exercises.

Arthritis: Is a chronic condition characterized by joint pain, stiffness and swelling. People of all ages can be affected. It has been reported that arthritis and related conditions are the leading cause of disability in the US, with nearly 43 million Americans affected. It has also been discovered by scientists that arthritis has a strong association with major depression, with an estimated risk of 18.1%. Physical activities have been shown to benefit people on preventing arthritis and related conditions.

Depression & Mental Illness: According to a recent research, in the UK, one in four people will suffer from a mental illness at some point in their lives. In the US, 18% of the population suffers from some form of anxiety or depression. Depression may not manifest itself until the stress of working overseas presents itself. These unseen mental conditions can go serious when they come to expat employees, whether they are on a short assignment or are a long-term expat. Unfortunately, many expat benefit plans we examine have mental illness exclusions or limitations.

Diabetes: According to the research of International SOS, failure to manage diabetes can cause a greater risk to an expat than an infectious disease. And The World Health Organization estimated that the number of adults with diabetes is expected to reach 592 million by 2035. Travelling across different time zones can complicate schedules for taking medications. When working and living overseas, expats also need to be careful not to run out of necessary medications. Expat employees should keep in mind that always consult a doctor before finding medication replacements. This can be very dangerous to your health.

expat healthcare if critical

HIV: Known as human immunodeficiency virus, this illness will weaken your body’s immune system and make you very sick. It has been reported by many sources that there are approximately 37 million people around the world who have the HIV virus. It has been widely acknowledged that there is no cure for HIV, but with proper medications and care, most people with HIV can avoid getting AIDS. While HIV used to be a death sentence, it is now seen as a chronic condition. Travelers and expats with HIV need to take proper medical plan when planning travel schedules. Most expat group insurance plans will exclude HIV, but we can source group plans that can fully cover this chronic condition.

The Dangers of Unseen Medical Conditions  

Due to the fact that healthcare providers vary dramatically between countries, expat employees living and working abroad with unseen medical conditions will rely upon medication within the country, and the duration of expat assignment. If expat employees are traveling in a location where the medical facilities are substandard, then the unseen illness can be seriously affected. An untreated chronic condition can quickly lead to a more serious medical claim and a failed expat assignment.

Some expat employers might be tempted to have the expatriate employees covered by a local or government group insurance plan. However, the local medical plan would usually only cover very basic medical conditions with long waiting lists. It is generally much better to have them covered under a global group benefit program with life, AD&D, disability, dental, evacuation and especially international health insurance coverage. A good global benefit plan should fully cover pre-existing medical conditions

How do Health Insurers Work with Chronic Conditions

Because many of your expatriate employees or their dependents may suffer from a chronic condition, it is important to have a plan that will cover pre-existing medical conditions coverage. All individual expat health insurance plans will either exclude a pre-existing medical condition, ask for additional premium or simply decline the application. For group plan, because the risk is spread among healthy and unhealthy people, they can often cover pre-existing medical conditions if the number of employees covered is large enough – usually 10 or 20 employees. We often run into clients who have placed their expats under a group plan that excludes chronic conditions, leaving both the employee and the employer at risk for a denied claim. However, we work global medical insurance companies who can provide full coverage for pre-existing medical conditions on the medical coverage for both the employees and dependents if the employer has more than 25 or 30 global employees – including both expats and local nationals.

international health insurance for chronic conditions

These excellent insurance plans can even provide full coverage for an expat group of only two or three expat employees. This is excellent for any expat employer as almost all employees or dependents, especially older ones, will have at least one pre-existing medical condition.

Obtain an Expat Group Insurance Plan that Covers Chronic Medical Conditions

Fortunately, Expat Financial can source international expat group insurance plans are available for companies with expatriates that can fully cover most, if not all chronic conditions. Some of the group expat plans we can source can even fully pre-existing medical conditions, which really is a must if you are an expatriate employer in today’s market looking for the best global talent. Expat Financial is able to offer flexible international expat group insurance plans in most parts of the globe:  Africa, Europe, Asia, Middle East, North America, South America, Caribbean, Oceania, Central America, and most major cities in the world. When your employees are sent overseas and experience a medical emergency that can’t be handled in the host country due to limitation of medical facilities and shortage of equipment or medications, it is very important to have an international health insurance plan that provides international emergency evacuation and repatriation coverage. A group plan will also offer international evacuation insurance plan that will enable urgent treatment abroad if required. All of these services are vital when you employ expats and their dependents who have these “hidden diseases.” 

As international insurance specialists, we can help you define your group’s international group insurance requirements in today’s global market. We have the experience, knowledge and global insurance contacts that expat employers require – only a specialist brokerage can adequately provide the independent advice, solutions and ongoing service and support to clients around much of the world.

For more information, contact Expat Financial today.

Expats in Africa – Important tips for living in Africa

Africa Introduction

Africa has become a very active continent for expatriates from around the world. Followed by Asia, Africa has the world’s second largest continent with about 30.3 million km including several surrounding islands. The continent of Africa has 54 independent countries, with an estimated total population of 1.1 billion. Surrounded by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, the Indian Ocean to the southeast, Africa hosts a large diversity of cultural traditions, natural beauty and languages. Africa can be divided into several general climate regions. Areas near the equator have a tropical rain forest climate, with high temperatures and seasonal heavy rain throughout the year. At the northern and southern parts of the continent are of subtropical climate. The number of expats in Africa is unclear, but it has been reported that there are an increasing number of Chinese expatriates in the continent due to the growing economic presence of Chinese companies in Africa. There is still a large presence of Western expats living and working in Africa.

Economy in Africa

Africa has abundant natural resources such as oil, gold and diamonds and many foreign mining companies are operating in various countries on the continent.  HR consultancy firm 24-7 has reported that after salaries for expats in Africa hit bottom in 2016, there will be new hiring in 2017 which should result in higher salaries for expatriates in the region. This is especially true in the mining sector, where Africa is believed to hold 90% of the world’s platinum and 50% of its gold. In the last ten years, Africa has an impressive 5% GDP growth. Expat Financial has several mining company clients in Africa employ large expatriate populations and require global benefit plans. Though prices for Africa’s commodities fell in 2015, decreased political instability guarantees the continued developments in Africa. The top three of largest economies in Africa are Nigeria, South Africa and Egypt. Oil and gas revenue have contributed significantly to the economy of many nations in Africa. Non-resource sectors in Africa are also making inroads, especially in the communications and banking sectors, which are also big expatriate employers.

Current Expat Working Environment in Africa

Expat assignments in Africa continue to focus on specialized industries such as oil, gold, diamonds and copper. According to a global survey, many expats working in Africa are making more than $250,000 annually. Based on InterNations‘ research, Nigeria has the highest number of high-earning expats. The overall labor environment has also been improving in recent years. Since 1994, some African governments started to take steps to secure and protect the rights of workers, and other labor friendly practices. However, government corruption at both local and national levels continues to be a major impediment to both the political and economic systems in many African countries. Political instability and civil strife in many nations in Africa is a constant concern for expatriates and their employers. It is important that companies employing expats obtain coverage that will cover war and terrorism risks.

Safety for Expats in Africa

It is widely known that many countries in Africa have serious safety concerns for expatriates and locals alike. Many countries in the continent have high crime rates and terrorism concerns, such as Nigeria, Chad and Zimbabwe. In fact, Kenya has experienced some horrific terrorist attacks in recent years, including the Westgate Mall attack in 2013. Other countries such as South Sudan are experiencing civil wars while DRC is in the midst of a political crisis that has lead to demonstrations and attacks. As an expatriate, you have to have a safety plan to avoid these civil disturbances and of course the usual crimes of opportunity such as muggings and pickpockets. Expats should remain vigilant and take steps to improve their safety, such as avoiding high crime areas at night, avoiding demonstrations and not wearing valuables or flashing cash. Probably the biggest concern for expats in Africa should be road accidents as local driving can be very dangerous on poorly run transportation systems. If you take adequate precautions and use your street smarts, you can enjoy residing in pretty much any African nation.

However, not all African countries are dangerous for expatriates. Many are quite safe for expatriates, including Morocco, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Botswana, Seychelles and Malawi. You don’t need to live in fear while residing in Africa. Be smart and take adequate precautions and enjoy the culture and local population who are keen to show you the wonders of Africa.

Health Risks in Africa for Expats

Though it has abundant natural resources, Africa remains the world’s most underdeveloped continent. Even though nations such as Nigeria, South Africa and Ghana are relatively wealthy, healthcare resources in cities and especially in remote areas can be very poor. Low standards of healthcare facilities and inadequate water sanitation have affected a large proportion of the African residents and are a concern for expats as well. The region’s health risks include malaria, dengue fever, ebola virus disease, tuberculosis and Hepatitis A and B. There also have been outbreaks of avian flu and Lassa virus, as well as HIV. Expats moving and traveling to Africa should carry water purification tablets, anti-diarrhea pills and alcohol based hand cleaning solutions along with updated vaccinations based on regional and country specific recommendations from the medical community.

International Health Insurance for Expats in Africa

It is critical that expats should include emergency medical evacuations in their international health insurance policy before moving to Africa. A typical international health insurance plan via Expat Financial will provide coverage options such as hospital coverageoutpatient treatment, medical emergency evacuation, routine health check-ups and dental & vision care.

Expats in Africa should also think about having adequate life cover, disability cover and accidental death coverage while residing in the continent. Expat health insurance premiums will vary depending on the coverage of the plan, your age, citizenship and several other factors.

Expat Financial  is extremely experienced in covering expatriate employees in Africa. We are able to source global benefit plans for groups of 2 or more expatriates in Africa and across most parts of the globe, If you have questions about our international medical insurance plans or you want to discuss your needs and produce a customized quote, please contact us or complete the quote form.

Obtain important information on the international insurance plans that are offered by Expat Financial to expatriates and some local nationals in the African region: expatfinancial.com/regions/africa/

We now offer a compliant ACA global health plan for individual expats

Previously American expats who were impacted by the PPACA (Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act ) had to purchase a USA local compliant health plan as well as an international health insurance policy to provide coverage abroad. Expat Financial is now able to offer the perfect solution for expats who need global Affordable Care Act (ACA) coverage under one policy that gives you both US compliant healthcare and global coverage. Or to put it another way, you shouldn’t need to buy multiple policies anymore in order to meet the Minimum & Essential Coverage (MEC) requirements and avoid the tax penalties.

Cigna International has offered this exclusive plan that to the best of our knowledge is the only ACA compliant medical plan for individual expats on the market. Only a very small number of insurance brokers in the world are allowed to offer the plan to expats and we are very proud to be considered as a key broker partner of Cigna and we can now sell the policy effective November 1st, 2016.

What is the Affordable Care Act? 

But for those of your who are asking, what is the Affordable Care Act (ACA), we should give you some insights before, is a United States federal statute enacted by President Barack Obama on March 23, 2010, hence the name Obamacare. For more information on PPACA, check out our ACA page.

Which Expats Should Get an ACA Expat Policy? 

Well, that depends on several factors and you should get some tax or legal advice just in case, but we can provide some general insights. Obamacare applies to US citizens, legal US residents, resident aliens and non-resident aliens required to file tax forms unless they are exempt. There are several way to be exempt if an expat qualifies for the Foreign Earned Income Exclusion by either the Physical Presence test or the Bona Fide Residence test. Generally this will mean being out of the USA for more than 330 days or being a bona fide foreign resident. Most residents of American territories are deemed to have Minimum and Essential Coverage (MEC). Again, best to talk to your tax expert.

How Much Tax Will an Expat Pay?

If you are an expat who is a US taxpayer and you are not excluded from the PPACA rules, then the tax amount will depend on your income. The tax is referred to by the IRS as the “individual shared responsibility payment,” but is most widely known as a tax. Expat individuals or family with an income over $83,400 can pay a penalty equal to 2.5% of their income in 2016 if they don’t meet an individual mandate to obtain compliant healthcare under the PPACA rules. You don’t have to comply – you can simply pay the “tax” instead, but why not put that tax to work with an ACA compliant health plan. Check with your tax professional to see how much you will pay as it varies widely.

Who can Purchase the ACA Expat Health Plan?

To be considered eligible for the Cigna ACA Global Health Plan, you must be under age 65 and a:

  • Non-US Nationals residing in the U.S. under an eligible visa or green card (Inbound)
  • US Nationals residing out of the U.S. (Outbound)

For expats in the USA, getting a MEC policy is very difficult to obtain before they arrive and they generally want a plan that will provide coverage outside the USA, especially in their home country. Most U.S. policies in the USA don’t provide cover abroad. If you are an American expat living or about to be living abroad and require PPACA compliant health plan, having one global solution seems to be the perfect fit. However, the coverage is quite comprehensive and the premiums may be higher than some are willing to pay.

What does the ACA Global Health Plan Cover? 

This comprehensive policy offers a number of benefits for expats, including:

  • Worldwide coverage including the USA
  • Completely portable coverage for this American style plan
  • A wide range of deductibles and coinsurance
  • Optional dental, vision and evacuation
  • Meets the minimum essential coverage requirements of the PPACA so you can avoid the tax penalty that currently runs at 2.5% of income
  • Unlimited maximum with maternity cover
  • Covers pre-existing medical conditions! This is a huge benefit of the Cigna plan.
  • Great mental health and addiction coverage

Who Can’t Purchase this ACA Global Health Plan? 

The plan is not meant for everyone and Cigna can only offer this policy to a select population including:

  • US Nationals residing in the U.S. (including US territory includes: Guam, Puerto Rico, American Samoa, Northern Marian Islands and Virgin Islands). There are visa requirements to get the policy.
  • Non-US national not residing in the U.S.

What Can I Do if I Don’t Qualify or Require an ACA Expat Health Plan? 

For expats who don’t qualify for the Cigna ACA plan or simply don’t want one, we still offer their excellent Global Health Options policy from Cigna via our web site. It offers similar coverage with a variety of options and deductible levels to meet almost any budget. Also, you can exclude the USA for additional savings if you don’t require coverage in the United States.

If you do want to get Cigna ACA health plan quote, click the link below.

getquote

If you have a tax or legal questions that relates to the PPACA, Obamacare or ACA, it is strongly recommended that you talk to your tax or legal adviser. The above is noted for general information purposes only and not meant to be seen as legal or tax advice.

Why choose a private expat health plan over a government plan?

When you live abroad you are often faced with the following choice: Do I go on the domestic government public health plan OR do I purchase global medical coverage? Some countries will allow you to choose while others mandate or automatically cover you under the state plan. In some Gulf State countries such as the UAE, you have to be covered by a locally admitted insurer in order to obtain and retain your work visa. In countries such as Canada, expats are often enrolled in the provincial medical system after a waiting period of 3 to more than 12 months and in the interim most will opt for a travel medical insurance plan. The key with domestic plans is that they almost always only cover you in that country. Also, domestic plans often only provide public or basic medical coverage and support. That is why expats around the world often contact Expat Financial to obtain a global medical quote.

Global Coverage?

However, if you are an expatriate, you usually require global medical coverage that moves with you and covers you locally, regionally and globally – especially back home. You may have a trailing spouse and child back home who you need to cover or a dependent attending university abroad – these people can’t be covered by a government plan.

Access to Private Care?

Domestic government health plans usually only provide access to public hospitals and doctors. This can mean access to more basic and restrictive medical facilities. Often domestic medical systems will restrict access to medical care and expats will be faced with long waiting lists to see specialists, obtain medical tests and receive surgical care. In Canada, the waiting lists can range from months to years to obtain medical treatment. Emergency care is usually received quickly in public hospitals. However, many expats want to be able to seek medical treatment in private hospitals and clinics.

Flexibility of Expat Plans

When you are an expat on a government health plan, there is no flexibility in your medical coverage – you get the same medical care that all domestic nationals are provided. Whereas with a private expat health plan, you can pick and choose what benefits are provided and as long as you have a relatively clean medical history, most pre-existing medical conditions should be able to be covered. You can even add dental and vision coverage, which is almost never provided by government run systems.

Portability of Coverage – A problem for Government Run Plans

As noted above, government run medical plans cover you only in your home country. These public health plans are not portable whereas expats are. So when you move to a new destination you will not be able to take the government health plan with you whereas the global medical plan is portable to almost all nations around the world. A global plan can also cover you when you travel abroad for business or pleasure. This is especially important for expat employers with globally mobile employees.

Government Cut Backs

Economic problems around the developed and developing world means that health budgets are being slashed and services and coverage are being curtailed. Such access and budget cut-backs can seriously impact an expat’s ability to access medical care.

US Affordable Care Act

If you are an expat in the USA and are paying taxes, it will probably mean that you will need to get a domestic health plan in the USA that is part of the Obama Care or Affordable Care Act (ACA), especially if you are not covered by your employer. If you do not have coverage under the ACA, you may be faced with tax fines that can really add up. Fortunately, our company is able to offer ACA compliant expat health plans that are fully compliant with the Obama Care regulations for individual expats. If this is of interest, please contact us for a quote.

For Expats Living Abroad – The Choice is Clear

For global citizens, it is critical that you contact Expat Financial to discuss your global medical insurance requirements and discuss the advantages of having a health plan that can cover you and your family globally and address the many concerns you may have with government medical insurance. The same problems we have talked about above also often extend to domestic health plans. We offer some excellent global medical plans for expatriates that can provide global access to healthcare and not leave you at the mercy of government run health coverage. Our most popular individual plans are from Cigna & IMG, which provide you the ability to obtain a quote and apply online. If you are an HR manager, please contact us for a group plan to cover your mobile expat population.