Choosing between a local or global health insurance plan as an expat

Why you should purchase a global over a local health plan if you are an expatriate

Expatriates who are moving overseas will often opt into purchasing a local health plan from the government or a private insurer. Some countries, regardless of your own coverage, may require you to purchase the local coverage care, even if inadequate for your needs. Most local plans will be inexpensive and some can potentially be quite good. However, if you are moving overseas there are five reasons why we recommend expats to purchase a global health policy:

Portability

As an expatriate living abroad, opting into a local health plan may limit your portability and your access to medical care in cases of relocation. If there is a possibility of you moving to a new destination, or if you are not consistently in one primary country, you will want to have access to a health care plan that provides you with the portability that you require. Another benefit of obtaining a global health insurance plan is that it may also include coverage for business travel and travelling for pleasure. Global health insurance plans are especially important for expat employers that employ mobile employees globally.

Local health plans may be deficient

Many expatriates find that local health care plans are not sufficient for their standards. One benefit that has proven to be important for expats is the ability to get medical care with a large network of hospitals and clinics. Many local plans will have a small network, in which you have to receive your care. Global health care plans tend to have a much larger network, as well as the ability to access medical care from outside network hospitals with approval from the insurer.

Local health facilities may be substandard and not up to western standards

The quality of medical care and facility capabilities vary greatly from one country to another, and in some countries, the standards of medical facilities may be much lower than those in Western countries. If you are an expat located in a second or third world country, the medical standards set in place may not be up to the standards in which you are accustomed to. Medical care that is not up to your usual standards may be passable for check-ups and basic care, but will not be adequate for any procedures that require a specialist or any form of intensive care. However, it is not only in third world countries that you will want to consider a global health plan. Even in developed countries, having a global health plan in place will help in a time of emergency, and explain how to deal with medical emergency coverage when times of need require it. It will also have the added benefit of providing you and your family with an accurate direction and alleviate panic at all times.

Local plans won’t cover you for treatment outside of that country

The difficulty with local plans is that once you have left the country, your local plan may be cancelled out. While being an expat often encompasses a certain amount of international travel, you will want to ensure that you are covered upon leaving your main destination. Another difficulty that comes along with local health care coverage is if you do decide to relocate, there may be a lapse in coverage or necessary waiting periods for coverage between the two regions. This may become detrimental in your protection if you are travelling in high-risk zones.

You may need or want to seek treatment back home or regionally

Although local health plans may be tempting for expatriates, local health plans are not designed for expats, but in reality, are designed for local natives. If you are wanting to obtain medical coverage back in your home country, you will no longer be covered under your local health care plan. You may also require medical evacuation coverage in cases that local hospitals are not able to treat you adequately. Evacuation coverage is a crucial feature of any expatriate insurance plan.

Expats are often portable, so it is vital that you have a global health policy that will cover you if you move from one country to another. It is important to note that most expat health providers are not able to renew their coverage should you move back to your home country or spend more than 6 months in your country of citizenship. It is important that you check your requirements and fine print when you apply online for a global health plan.

Expat Financial offers a variety of international insurance health insurance plans on a group or individual basis. To maximize your expat experience and avoid unforeseen risks and costs, please contact us today to discuss your international insurance needs and requirements. Toll-free number: 1-800-232-9415 or email info@tfgglobal.com

What is the best health insurance for a family during long-term international travel?

If you are going abroad for a year, it is highly likely that you will be giving up your domestic health coverage, which may not cover you abroad. Thus it is important to obtain a global health policy that will cover you and your family while living and travelling abroad AND also back home. You have the option to purchase an emergency travel medical insurance plan, which would be less expensive, but it will only cover emergencies and only while abroad – you will want to keep your domestic cover in place. Travel medical insurance plans are often best suited for short and medium term trips abroad.

Global Health Insurance

comprehensive global health insurance policy would generally be your best option. You can often choose from basic to comprehensive plans with small or large deductibles. Most plans offer you customisable options, beginning at basic hospital coverage with the option to add options as you need:

  1. Out-patient care – covering expenses that you may procure outside if a hospital, such as prevention, diagnosis, and rehabilitation.
  2. Wellness – such as seeing a medical doctor for a basic checkup as well as counselling
  3. Medical Evacuation – In case you are unable to be treated locally, medical evacuation is an important option to relocate you to a hospital that has the proper facilities.
  4. Dental and Vision – coverage for basic check-ups with a dentist and optometrist
  5. Coverage for the USA – this is a very important add-on if you are an American expat or reside close to the USA and are required to obtain medical care in the United-States.

global medical

Note that when you obtain a quote, you will need to tell the insurer what the main country of residence will be – meaning where you plan to spend the majority of your time as the rates are determined by where you will be living. Most plans are able to be quoted and purchase online to facilitate the process. 

At Expat Financial, we can help facilitate the process, as well as answer any questions along the way that may arise. We specialise in obtaining international health insurancelifetravel and disability insurance for individuals, as well as dependent family members while living abroad. We are a leading source of international health insurance plans with global health insurance coverage from various insurers that offer the best in international health insurance.

Thailand to mandate health insurance for expats

It has been recently reported that the Thai government is in the process of mandating mandatory medical health insurance for expatriates living in Thailand. The requirement is targeted for expatriates that are living in Thailand on a one-year non-immigrant visa, with an emphasis on those living in Thailand over the age of 60.

Over the past years, it has become increasingly difficult for those living in Thailand over the age of 60 to procure health insurance. There are very few local insurance companies that will cover those in this older demographic, and those few companies that will cover those 60 years and older are demonstrating predominantly expensive premium rates. There are even some foreign plans that will place limits on your global health coverage after age 65 or terminate coverage at age 70. The best plan for older expats that our firm has found is the Cigna Global Health Options plan we offer online to expatriates of any age – expats even in their 80s and 90s can get a quote online.

The proposed Thai legislation will require expatriates to be covered for the minimum amount of 400,000 ฿ (~ $12,570 USD) of in-patient coverage, and 40,000 ฿ (~ $1,270 USD) for out-patient care. Expatriates that are currently living overseas and meet the minimum required amount of coverage will be exempt from obtaining these Thai insurance policies.

These mandates have been derived with several government bodies in Thailand’s government. The process for finalizing these policies are currently in the stages of cabinet approval and is designed to aid and ensure the health protection for long-stay visa holders currently, or soon to be living in Thailand. It is important that expats monitor developments on this policy and make sure that they have adequate health coverage that will meet or exceed the requirements.

Thailand is a beautiful country and a very popular destination for expatriates from around the world. Medical care can be quite expensive and it is vital that you obtain a comprehensive global health policy for Thailand that will cover you both locally, regionally and globally. This is because you may move to another country or region and you don’t want to re-apply for medical coverage, especially if you develop a pre-existing or chronic condition.

Make sure you are fully prepared and covered before making your move abroad. At Expat financial, we can offer plans designed for your specific needs while living in Thailand that will exceed the requirements set up by most local governments at excellent prices and form large and respected providers. Click here to receive a quote, or contact us at info@tfgglobal.com

Top 12 safety tips while overseas

Nothing is bound to ruin a holiday more than feeling unsafe or running into scams and difficulties. When travelling to other countries, it’s important to always keep international travel safety in mind. Travel risk is unavoidable, but we have created a list of 12 tips that will increase your safety so that you can enjoy your holiday!

1. Get your vaccines before leaving

An unexpected illness can truly ruin a holiday. Make sure to be fully up to date on all your vaccines and double check all the recommended vaccines for your travel destination. Most countries will have a categorized list of all the recommended vaccines for international travellers, and where you can go to get your vaccinations.

2. Use cash when possible

In order to avoid high credit card and debit card fees, we recommend using cash whenever possible. It is also highly recommended that you separate your important cards in case of theft. Have backups if possible, as well as an emergency cash flow just in case. It is important to separate cash, cards and identification cards for any potential problems. Of course, it is also important not to carry too much cash with you and not flash cash when paying your bill in order to avoid becoming a victim of crime.

3. Have an international phone plan

In case of emergencies, you will want to have access to a phone that has the ability to call internationally. Whether you need to call your family back home or your insurance provider, you won’t want to be stuck trying to find a phone with international capabilities in times of emergencies.

4. Research cultural norms

When travelling internationally, especially to culturally diverse regions, it is crucial that you do your research on cultural norms and how the local population behave on the day-to-day. It can be dangerous to be in a situation that is culturally acceptable in your home region, and unaccepted in the region you are visiting. Local natives can find offence to certain behaviours, and it is recommended that you behave in culturally appropriate behaviour for your protection.

5. Tell your bank before leaving

The last thing you need while travelling internationally is to have your cards cancelled or put on hold while away. In order to avoid any situation where this could happen is to notify your bank before leaving. Many banks don’t require notification now, but we recommend always placing a note with your bank for your accounts to avoid any potential of the card holds.

6. Travel in Numbers

Travelling in numbers is highly recommended when travelling internationally. A large group of people is much less of a target for potential danger than comparison to someone travelling alone. Another important note while travelling is to project situational awareness. If you are in a foreign land, it is very important to project, to the best of your ability, situational awareness. If you are in an environment with confidence, you are much less likely to attract potential scammers.

7. Know your destinations food & water safety

Many regions while travelling internationally will have different food and water restrictions then you have in your home town. If you are travelling internationally, it is very important to research the food and water safety warnings that are in place for those destinations. This will allow you to avoid any potential foods and water derived illnesses in order for you to enjoy your trip!

8. Have electronic copies

Although we recommend printing all your necessary travel documents for your travels, it is also highly recommended that you have access to electronic copies of all your important travel documents – including hotel + flight bookings, passport photos, and insurance policy numbers. This is a preventative precaution in case you lose any of your paper copy documents.

9. Have embassy/consulate contact information

In times of emergency, such as losing a passport, it will be very helpful to have your embassy and consulate contact information and address for where you are travelling. Most major cities will have a list of all the international embassies that are located within the city for your convenience. If your country doesn’t have a local embassy, it will be important to have the contact information for the nearest one, as well as contact information for your embassy back home.

10. Give your family & friends an itinerary

Whether you are travelling alone or with friends, it is recommended that you have your family and friends back home know your general location and plans while away.

11. Leave expensive jewellery at home

Although having your jewellery with you may seem appealing, we recommend leaving your expensive and valuable jewellery back home. Travellers displaying expensive jewellery are often targets for theft which can lead to very potentially dangerous situations. In order to stay on the safe side, it is better to simply leave it all at home.

12. Have proper travel insurance

While travelling internationally, most domestic health insurers will not cover you when you leave your country of citizenship, so travel insurance is a necessity. The potential of getting sick or injured while travelling is inevitable, and if you get injured or sick and you can’t get adequate medical treatment in the country or city you are visiting, it will be important to have access to emergency medical evacuation to another country or back to your country of residence. For the simple purpose of peace of mind, purchasing travel insurance is highly recommended in order to protect yourself. 

Expat Financial offers citizens travel insurance from a variety of insurance companies. Get a travel insurance quote and even purchase online. Get travel medical insurance and trip protection plans online via a secure server. Click here to receive an online quote. 

 

 

 

 

Five most costly cities for expatriates living abroad

When talking about cost-of-living overseas for expatriate employees, it is not just exchange rates of currency, cost of food or groceries, but also housing costs. According to a recent Forbes’ survey result, the five most expensive real estate markets are Hong Kong, Mumbai, Beijing, Shanghai and London. In this article, we will discuss the five most costly cities for expatriates living abroad.

  1. Hong Kong, CHN

Hong Kong is considered one of the most successful financial centres around the world. It owns advanced medical care system,  promotes an active lifestyle and provides an excellent educational system. According to the Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey of 2016, Hong Kong‘s property market is the world’s most unaffordable. As stated in Mercer‘s Cost of Living Survey, Hong Kong is the most expensive in the Asian Pacific region. According to a local real estate site HongKongHomes.com, you should expect to pay around HK$ 55,000 per month (equivalent to ~ USD $7086.4 monthly) in order to rent a two bedroom, two bathrooms apartment with a saleable area of 953 sq.ft. If you would like to own the apartment, the price increases to HK$ 24,000,000 (~ USD $3,092,245.44).

2. Mumbai, IN

Surrounded by sea on three sides, Mumbai is the most populous city on the west coast of the Indian peninsula. Mumbai is listed among the most costly cities to buy real estate in. As being one of the most international cities of India, Mumbai has pleasant weather and advanced health care facilities. With job opportunities offered, increased expatriate migration and investment buyers that are willing to reside in the city has consequentially driven up the demand for property in Mumbai.

3.Beijing, CHN

Beijing Expat Insurance

The second Chinese city that is considered to be one of the most expensive cities in the world to live in as an expatriate is Beijing. Beijing is China’s capital, as well as its political and cultural centre. Known for its influential culture, Beijing has been known to be an extremely popular destination for expatriates moving overseas. According to the National Bureau of Statistics of China, Beijing is in continuous demand for real-estate investments, resulting in increasing high costs of living. Apart from real-estate costs, Beijing also has one of the most expensive healthcare systems, especially for non-native residents.

4. Shanghai, CHN

The third Chinese city that has made its way to be one of the leading most expensive cities in the world to live in is Shanghai. Located on the central coast of the country, Shanghai has become one of the leading financial hubs of the world. The importance and ability to conduct business in Shanghai have transformed the city to be an expatriate hot spot. With continuous growth and demand, the cost of living has skyrocketed in the last few decades. Don’t be surprised to see an average, furnished one-bedroom apartment costing $3,000 CAD/month.

5. London, UK

London has long been one of the most popular, and therefore most expensive cities to relocate as an expatriate. London is known for its rich history and remarkable agriculture, as well as being a city that can please all needs. Whether you are interested in art, culture, food or adventure, the city has it all. As a leading destination for expatriates, the significant increase in population has caused a substantial surge in living expenses, such as accommodation, transportation and food & entertainment.

 

If deciding to relocate to one of the above cities, it will be very important to ensure that you have proper medical coverage while abroad. Living in one of these cities will cost you a substantial amount of money, you’ll want to ensure that you don’t have to worry about any unforeseen medical expenses. At Expat Financial, we can offer a wide range of expatriate health insurance plans designed specifically for expatriates of any nationality around much of the world. For additional information, contact us at info@tfgglobal.com or click here for a quote today! 

 

Becoming a Global Citizen

The opportunity to live a life as a global citizen is one that is appealing to many people. It involves a life of adventure and new experiences. If deciding to become a global citizen, it is important to understand what it takes to successfully take on the opportunity in which you are given and facilitate the transition period. Let’s dive into what it means to be a global citizen.

Health considerations

As many concerns arise about making the decision to become a global citizen, health considerations are likely to be at the top of your priorities before moving. Taking care of your health while living abroad will be one of the most important and crucial steps to ensure a successful and blissful lifestyle.

Global health insurance is highly recommended for anyone living or travelling abroad. The advantages of global health insurance go far beyond basic medical care. It will alleviate any added stress or concerns about medical coverage while travelling abroad, as well as facilitated payments, coverage regions and standard of care.

At Expat Financial, we offer plans from basic in-hospital plans to in-hospital and out-patient plans. We are able to provide various plans from several different insurance companies in order to find the right fit. Contact us today by email at info@tfgglobal.com or click here for a free online quote. 

global medical

Culture adaptations  

Depending on where your global adventures take you, there is a high chance that you will be relocated to a country that will likely lead to a degree of culture shock. The important thing here is to stay as open-minded as possible. Locals will gladly teach you their culture and welcome you into their country, as long as you are willing to immerse yourself in the community.

A useful type for overcoming culture shock is to learn the local language as well as possible. This will allow you to engage with more locals and feel less alienated when exploring and appreciated the new city in which you call home.

Location is key

When it comes to choosing where you want to relocate, there are many different considerations to remember. First, it will be important to understand the local culture and what it will mean to connect with the locals as an expatriate.

A second aspect that is very important will be to find an area that has low crime rates for your safety – whether that is choosing, in general, a safe city or specifically a safe neighborhood. Explore our region & city guides to discover which regions are the best fit for you!

A third factor that is important in choosing a location will be to know what the tax policies are for your incoming country. Many countries have different ways in which they tax their local employees, and as an expatriate living abroad, it will be very important to know the local taxation policies.

Get involved in local politics and policies.

As important as it is to immerse yourself in a local community, it will be equally as important to immerse yourself in the local politics and policies that are relevant to your new home. Knowledge of local politics will help you understand a multitude of important factors, such as taxation, governance, community values and elections, as these will all be crucial in your development in the community.

It is important to note that it is not recommended to get involved in politics in all countries, and it is important to research beforehand and look into political stability before diving into local politics, especially if you are not a citizen of your new country. Getting involved in politics as an expat in many countries, especially ones with little or no human rights protections, can be very dangerous.

Apart from local politics and policies, we also recommend having a general understanding of global politics, specifically with countries that directly affect your new city. This will allow you to stay aware of external factors and policies that may alter the way in which you engage with your community.

Keeping in touch

Lastly, after making the decision to become a global citizen, it will still be important to stay connected with your roots back in your home country. This can come with many challenges, including adjusting to time zones, whether or not you are in a Wi-Fi efficient zone or keeping this priority top of mind. It is important to keep in touch with members back in your home country in order to maintain and facilitate the transition, as well as keeping in touch with your own mental health.