7 Reasons to become an expat in Vietnam

Vietnam is the eighth most populous Asian country. It is located in Southeast Asia, bordering China, Cambodia, and Laos. Tourism in Vietnam is a major component of its vibrant economy. According to reports, the number of international visitors has increased from 7 million to 10 million in 2016. And tourist arrivals in Vietnam have continued to rise in 2017. For expats, Vietnam has become a popular expat destination in Asia. In this article, we will discuss top 7 reasons to become an expat in Vietnam.

Attractive Natural and Cultural Experiences

Vietnam has several UNESCO World Heritage Sites such as Central Sector of the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long – Hanoi, Citadel of the Ho Dynasty, Complex of Hue Monuments, as well as natural sites such as Ha Long Bay. There are many wonderful culture and history heritage sites to enrich your expat experience in Vietnam. You can start a day by visiting the ancient civilizations in Hoi An, enjoy a leisurely bike ride through the region, and explore the night market and try local delicacies.

Lower Cost of Living 

According to Numbeo, the cost of living in Vietnam is about 43% lower than in Canada. For US expats, the country is a great place to return as a three course meal for 2 people at a mid-range restaurant would cost $17.61 USD. A bottle of imported beer costs $1.32 USD. Groceries are generally much less expensive than those in North America. Though prices range among different cities, the average rent fee in Vietnam is almost 50% cheaper than in North America, according to Numbeo. For expatriates coming from a Western country, they will be pleased to discover that the cost of living in Vietnam is a great value.

Friendly Expat Community in Vietnam 

There are many expatriates working and living in Vietnam. You can either reside in a typical expat neighbourhood or choose to fully immerse yourself in Vietnamese culture. For expatriates relocating with family and children, there are great areas that will cater to your requirements along with some excellent foreign schools. It would be a great idea to connect and become friends with the expats community and join a sport team.

Teaching English in Vietnam 

Education is very important in Vietnamese culture and expats can find many ESL teaching opportunities in Vietnam. The government of Vietnam implemented a National Foreign languages Project, aiming for most of Vietnam’s students to be using English confidently for work and study by 2020. There are numerous international schools, state owned universities, private owned education institutions, language centres. Many of these schools are looking for hiring the qualified ESL teachers who come from overseas.

Friendly People 

Like many other countries in Asia, everywhere you go, local residents in Vietnam are friendly to foreign visitors. The overall culture and tradition in Vietnam is easy-going and hospitable. Most expats will find that the traditional culture and hospitality are quite welcoming.

Vietnam Cuisine 

The Vietnamese diet is quite attractive to expats living there and is also quite varied. Often, food there will include influences from the Chinese and Indian, and the French cuisine. Common Vietnamese dishes include fish sauce, lemongrass, fresh herbs (basil leaves), shrimp paste and mint. Traditional Vietnamese cooking is mostly using fresh ingredients, such as the use of fresh lime instead of vinegar. One of the most classic Vietnamese dish is the well-known pho. It is a rice noodle soup with either beef or chicken, served with Vietnamese lime, bean sprouts, mint and fresh chilies. Expats living and working in Vietnam will have the chance to try different traditional Vietnamese cuisine.

Convenient Travel from Vietnam

Another benefit of relocating to Vietnam is that, you can have easy and inexpensive access to other Asian countries. Starting in Ho Chi Min, you can plan your travel itinerary as VietnamLaosCambodiaThailandChina. Generally speaking, Vietnam serves as a gateway to Southeast Asia and other Asian countries such as Japan. There are also excellent beaches and tourist opportunities for expats in Vietnam.

Don’t Forget to Bring your International Health Insurance 

The government of Vietnam is working to develop a universal healthcare system for its citizens. Although the standard of medical care is considered good in major cities, in rural areas it is still insufficient and not readily available. The standard of care in private hospitals in Vietnam is usually quite good. Most private clinics have doctors from the US, Japan and Europe. The cost of private medical care can vary considerably.

At present, most expats will usually opt to use private hospitals as these are usually equipped with English-speaking medical staff. Expats should ensure that they obtain international health insurance before moving to Vietnam. Many expats may want to seek medical treatment in Bangkok or Singapore for specialist and medical emergencies.

For expat health insurance in Vietnam, it is important that you obtain plan that will provide reimbursement for medical expenses via a large network of hospitals. Many expats should also obtain global life and disability insurance coverage while residing in Vietnam. If you require a quote for insurance coverage in Vietnam, contact Expat Financial today for a quote and to discuss your Vietnamese expatriate insurance requirements.

Five tips for a successful study abroad

Students from all over the world want to experience traveling and studying abroad – to visit a new place, try the authentic local cuisine, meet new people and become fluent in another language. Others want to take advantage of education opportunities, course and experiences that only a foreign university can offer. But how do you make the most of your overseas experience and integrate yourself into the local culture? In this article, we will discuss five quick tips for a successful study abroad to make the most out of it.

  • Find a Balance Between School and Your Spare Time 

The primary reason for international students to study abroad is to learn skills and obtain a degree. Therefore, having a study schedule with all the important dates is a good idea. It will help you to prioritize your study time and stay organized. However, it is also very important to give your brain a bit of break and do something that you enjoy. The best suggestion is to make the most of your study time, while avoid cramming yourself during the exam period. Give yourself some time to study every day. That doesn’t mean partying every night – pace yourself.

  • Continue Your Hobbies and Join Clubs

It is encouraged for international students to try different things and join clubs while studying abroad. Many universities have plenty of student clubs, athletic activities and groups available to new students. From there, you may have a chance to continue your hobbies or discover some new interests. You just might meet some new friends who may be from your home country or those from the local region. Immerse yourself in your new country as this should help you integrate into your new offshore student life. And the priceless relationships you developed with your friends at university can be a lifelong connection – and it may just help your career.

  • Experience the Local Culture 

One of the advantages of being an international student is to experience the local culture that a tourist can’t. Many universities have home stay programs, either short-term or longer period. This may give you a chance to experience the day-to-day life of the local people, learn cultural differences, overcome language barrier, etc. A home stay arrangement may also save you money as local residences and apartments will probably be quite expensive. Home cooking from a local home stay house may also be a great feature.

  • Ask for Help if you Experience Stress While Studying Abroad

Facing challenges and stress when studying abroad is quite normal. However, if you don’t handle it well, it can have negative effects on your performance. If you need certain support and help, it is encouraged to ask your teachers or supervisors and talk to them about your stress. Keep regular breaks and exercise daily, and spend time with your friends. You should check if your health coverage will pay for claims associated with mental illness.

  • Obtain Health Insurance When You Study Abroad

If you are studying abroad and traveling often, it is very important to obtain appropriate health insurance plan. Although many colleges, universities and educational institutions will offer some international health insurance plan, the coverage may be very basic or only cover you in your destination country (not back home). And the university plan may not cover your overseas travel. To learn more about international student health insurance, please click here to learn more about the great plans that we can offer students.

Feel free to contact us to discuss your student health insurance requirements so we can make a recommendation that will fit your needs. If your overseas education facility would like to discuss offering a plan for its students or even the expatriate staff, please contact us to discuss a group plan. For more information, please click here and obtain our one page international student health insurance brochure.

How does your company insure older expat employees?

How does your company insure older expat employees? 

Has your company looked into how it’s expat benefit plan covers your older expatriate employees? It’s a question worth asking. Expat employers are often relying upon older employees for expatriate positions that need to be filled by often senior level executives or specialized employees who’s skills require an employee with extensive experience that only an older employee can provide.  Many industries are faced with an aging workforce these days and struggle to find and retain the best employees possible. It is more likely with older expat employees that they may suffer from a pre-existing or chronic medical conditions. These more senior employees may also be highly paid and entitled to larger amounts of  life and disability coverage.

Older employees can be valuable expat employees

Often, the best person for the job posting overseas is an employee who is in their 60s or even 70s. This is quite common for the mining industry which often has to fill positions in engineering that require an employee who is most likely in their fifties or sixties. Unfortunately, some insurance plans that lesser experienced brokers have their clients with will not offer coverage for expat employees past age 60, 65 or 70 or severely limit the plan benefits. Also, some expat group insurance plans will exclude pre-existing medical conditions that are more often than not more common as you grow older.

What can you do to properly cover your older expat workforce? 

So what can be done if your current global benefit plan is not adequately covering or can’t cover your older expatriate employees? Well, it first makes sense to work with an expat insurance specialist firm such as Expat Financial, which is a division of TFG Global Insurance Solutions Ltd.. We are very experienced in working with clients from around the world which require a global health insurance plan for their group of expat employees or even just one person posted overseas.

Global medical coverage solutions for older expats employees

If you have a group of expats and you organization has over 30 employees globally, we may be able to source a plan that can usually cover the expat employees (minimum 2) without any medical questions and fully covering pre-existing medical conditions. The global medical insurance for some of these plans have no age limit, so we can still cover that 70 year old employee and dependent. We recommend global medical plans that will fully cover pre-existing and chronic medical conditions for both the employee and their dependents. Some HR managers think that they can reduce their risk by screening out expats with health issues with a medical exam before being hired, but this may not be legally acceptable with employment law, you may be excluding excellent employees with health issues and you won’t be able to fully screen out all conditions that would exclude an employee. Finally, the employee’s dependent might have a medical condition that you can’t screen for. Again, it makes sense for a group expat health plan to fully cover pre-existing medical conditions.

What about non-medical benefits for older expats?

For the Life/AD&D, the benefit levels usually reduce at age 69 and may terminate at 75 depending on the insurer. Long Term Disability will cease at age 65 or 70, but this is not usually an issue for most expat employers. For such pooled expat coverage, it makes sense to go with an insurance company that has a high non-evidence maximum, which is the amount of coverage that can be provided without medical evidence. Dental and evacuation coverage is not usually impacted by an expat’s age.

two businessmen and one businesswoman using laptop in front of modern office building, iStockalypse Berlin – Germany 2012

What if our company has only one expat employee? 

For individual expats, we do have access to a large number of global medical providers who can cover a single expatriate over age 70 for example, but the employee will be subject to medical underwriting and it is possible that he or she may be declined, a condition excluded or a premium increase required. As an international insurance brokerage, we have access to a wide array of insurance providers which we have worked with for many years who can underwrite many pre-existing conditions for individual expats.

So if you company is employing expatriate employees, especially expats who are over 50, you should contact us today to discuss how your existing global benefit plan is meeting their needs along with the premium rates that they are being charged. Our experience in sourcing and servicing a global workforce is quite impressive.

Top 10 tips for expat women living abroad

Many expat women living and working in a foreign country face unique challenges that include physical well-being, common illness and health care issues. In this article, we will discuss ten health & safety tips to prepare for your new life abroad. At Expat Financial, we are want to share our expat knowledge that includes providing expat health advice before and after relocating abroad.

Know General Medical Standards in Your Destination Country Before You Go

It is recommended to do some research on general medical standards in your destination country before relocating. In most countries, the healthcare system is divided into two categories: public and private medical care. In some countries, the healthcare standard is very high. Government funded hospitals are well equipped and staffed, with excellent services to patients. However, in other countries, hospitals may only provide basic medical treatment and lack of specialist care. In order to better prepare for your life abroad, it is recommended to do some research on general medical standards in your destination country before relocating.

Get Immunizations 

Many expat adults are not up to date with their vaccines. The specific vaccines you need as an expat are determined by many factors such as age, job, relocation plans, health condition, etc. To prevent yourself from getting new and difference diseases, it is critical to visit your doctor and get immunizations before departure. You can even get some great vaccination information from the CDC.

Bring Travel Medications

If you are under certain medical condition and require regular medication, then you should pack at least three months’ supply with you when relocating abroad. Many medical experts suggest that you have access to your medication in your expat destination and that bottles are clearly marked with your prescription. Expat women should also bring birth control pills if required. For long term relocation abroad, expat women should also prepare a good first aid kit with everything you need. Always pack an extra pair of contact lenses or eyeglasses wherever you go.

Try to Avoid the Expat Blues

Whether you are moving abroad for retirement or travel, you may face a series of challenges as an expat woman. The term “trailing spouse” is refer to a person who follows his or her partner overseas because of work arrangement. Due to a recent survey of more than 14,000 overseas expats, the 84% of trailing spouses are female and most of them are highly educated. However, according to the survey, only 24% of them have jobs. Others are staying at home and not working. This mainly because of work visa restrictions or family needs, taking care of children, etc. Even though they are highly educated, they could often not find any adequate job assignments with an appropriate payment range. This can be very difficult when adapting an international move.

When you move abroad and leave behind you career, your life is entering a new stage. Don’t be afraid to loose your sense of self-worth. Rather, take some time and allow yourself to redefine your identity in the new country. Embracing these potential differences will make your life overseas more enjoyable. Your mental health is a crucial part of your overall healthcare while living abroad. 

Build a Supportive Network

It is important that trailing spouses and expat women find a way to counteract frustration. Go out and join a social groups, participate in volunteer groups, sports classes or language lessons. For expats who are very busy, you can expand your network online. There are many expat supportive forums and websites which provide a sense of community. This will eliminate doubts, negative thoughts and uncertainty.

Connect Yourself to Local Community

It is not a good idea for expat women to isolate themselves from their new culture. Indeed, it is vital to find ways to get involved in the local community. It is strongly recommended that expats go out and engage locals and other expatriates alike. No matter you are meeting local friends or expat friends, they will help you to overcome communication barriers and culture shock. This kind of interaction will immerse yourself in local living, the earlier you start, the quicker you will eliminate the uncomfortable feeling about an unfamiliar country.

Take Steps to Secure Your Safety and Security While Living Abroad

According to the Government of Canada, expat women are facing greater challenges such as petty and violent crime, the dangers of international cyber-dating, etc. Therefore, it is critical for expat women to plan carefully in order to minimize your risks while living and working abroad.

Before going to your destination country, it is recommended to do a risk assessment that includes safety and security, healthcare, political environment, and culture customs. During your travel, try to avoid displaying expensive-looking jewelry and other devices that may indicate you as a wealthy expat. Beware of strangers, including locals, fellow travelers, use only legal and reputable taxis. Pay attention to fraudulent ads that recruit foreign women for work as models, maids, nannies, etc… Unfortunately, expat women have to pay extra attention to their safety while working and living abroad.

Eating Healthy & Exercise is Critical for Expat Women

When you are moving to a new country, it is critical to maintain healthy eating habits. Expatriates living and working abroad should avoid fast food or street food stands. Always go to local grocery stores or markets to find some fresh fruits and vegetables, but be aware that local sanitary conditions can vary in third world countries. It always makes sense for expatriates work out often, though it can be more difficult while living overseas. Jogging around a park, exercising yoga, hiking, running and golf are all popular options. If you prefer treadmill and gyms, or in some circumstances when the weather is unfavourable, go to local gym clubs near you.

Don’t Skip Medical Check-ups

Wherever you are traveling to, it is vital to ensure that you make sure you don’t forget to manage your health status and monitor changes. In many countries where local public healthcare facilities may not up to western standards, expatriates will want to use private medical care. However, these private facilities are usually very expensive, especially in emergency situations. A global medical plan can not only cover large medical expenses, but it can also cover you for preventative health and medical tests that can help you maintain you and your family’s health. This can even include vaccinations and health monitoring.

An international health insurance plan will provide expatriates and their families worldwide coverage (except in the USA unless you add it as optional benefit). Such plans can allows you to seek medical care internationally and is critical for expatriates residing in less developed countries where medical care facilities are below standard. Expat women living and working abroad will benefit from an international insurance plan that will cover medical check-ups. with day-patient care and full hospital coverage, extensive cancer coverage, dental and vision care, international medical evacuation and repatriation.

Obtain International Health Insurance

The peace of mind of knowing that you and your family access to the best healthcare is very important for expatriates of any gender, including expatriate women. A tailored expatriate health insurance that meets your unique requirements is important and you should also consider life and disability coverage, especially for expat women. 

Expat Financial offers several different global health insurance plans for expatriates. 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

The impact of global disease outbreaks on expats and tips on prevention

With people traveling from all over the world and relocating overseas, expatriates should take extra precautions when it comes to health and safety. In the last few years, public health experts were on high alert due to rapid spread of diseases threat such as the Zika virus, Dengue fever, SARS, Ebola virus, plague and more.  In this article, we will discuss several pandemic disease threats and tips for expatriates to protect themselves from those diseases while working and living overseas.

Should Expatriates Worry About Disease Outbreaks? 

It is difficult to give a definitive answer to an expatriate’s chances of getting a disease if relocating to a regions that has reported a disease outbreak. However, if there are a lot of people have already been infected, then expatriates should pay close attention if visiting specific area or region. One should note that diseases can travel vast distances because of increased travel and mobility – it just takes a plane ride of an infected person to bring an outbreak to a new location.

According to the Public Health Watch Report, cholera, yellow fever and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) are the potential health threat given recent pandemic report in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. There have also been reports of plague disease in Madagascar, where over 20 lives have recently been lost.

Five Disease Outbreaks that Put Expats at Risk

Cholera is an infectious disease that causes severe diarrhea and dehydration, and even death if untreated. Cholera is caused by a bacterium called Vibrio Cholerae in contaminated food and water. It is a serious medical problem in many parts of the world. According to the latest report on Africa News, World Health Organization (WHO) has declared Cholera outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), claiming that 17,000 treated in DRC.

Yellow fever was declared outbreak in Angola, Democratic Republic of the Congo and Uganda between 2016 and 2017, according to WHO. It was transmitted by the bite of infected mosquitoes. The outbreak caused 962 confirmed cases across the three countries. Yellow fever is a disease with symptoms of fever, jaundice, muscle pain, vomiting, headache and nausea. Large outbreaks of yellow fever occur within heavily populated areas, with high mosquito density but lack of vaccination. The virus can be transmitted by infected mosquitoes from person to person.

Zika Virus has become a fairly widespread disease that have cause great concern for expatriates and locals alike. While Zika is not a new disease as it was earlier found in Africa in the 1950s, the disease that is spread by mosquitoes has spread to many regions around the world, including South America, Asia and even in the USA. In most cases those infected will not show any symptoms, but some can experience paralysis or in pregnant women, it may cause birth defects in their children. There is no vaccine at this time along with no effective treatment.

Pneumonic Plague was recently declared as an outbreak in Madagascar. The Plague is a highly infectious disease caused by the Yersinia pestis bacteria and is often found in the fleas of small mammals.  People can be infected by the flea bites or direct contact with infected persons or inhalation.

Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) infection ranges from no symptoms to severe respiratory disease and death. According to WHO, the outbreaks have occurred in several countries including Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, and the Republic of Korea. And no vaccine or specific treatment is currently available for MERS-CoV. It has been reported that MERS is caused by Coronaviruses, which is a large family of viruses that can cause Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). The typical MERS symptoms include cough, fever and shortness of breath. The virus can pass from person to person through close contact.

Disease Outbreak Prevention Tips for Expatriates Living Abroad 

  • As a general precaution, expatriates visiting markets, farms, jungles, or other rural region with animals are present should practice high caution with hygiene, including hand washing before and after contacting animals, especially sick animals;
  • Avoid consuming raw or under cooked animal products or produce in developing countries, including unpasteurized milk or vegetables;
  • Based on infected cases reported, some people are considered to be at high risk of disease infection. Consult your doctor about your medical history before relocating abroad;
  • For diseases that haven’t been determined response priorities by health authorities, expatriates should maintain a high level of vigilance;
  • Avoid crowded areas if there is a disease outbreak
  • Avoid direct contact with animals and wild life, especially in regions where outbreaks often occur;
  • Do some research on the potential health risks in your destination country’s travel advisory page and obtain required vaccinations before departure – there’s a wealth of information from the CDC and WHO.

To ensure you and your family are protected from costly medical bills outside the home country, it is strongly recommended to obtain international medical insurance. Most medical insurance plans will include coverage for sicknesses caused by most disease outbreaks. It will be important to make sure your global medical plan includes medical evacuation coverage and will cover you for treatment outside your country of residence. 

Bring International Health Insurance with You

If you fear that you may have been exposed to an infection or virus no matter how many precautions you have taken, consult with a medical doctor as soon as possible as only your medical provider can provide definitive medical advice and treatment . Expat Financial offers several different international health insurance plans for expatriates. 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

 

How expats can work from home – 5 tips for expatriates living abroad

The idea of working from home can be exciting. And there are many expatriates would decide to work from home while living and traveling abroad. This is especially important for expat spouses who are living with their partner who is employed, but are unable to work in the new country for a variety of reasons, such as work visa issues. However, there are many concerns and challenges about it. In this article, we will discuss 5 tips for expats who decide to work from home while living overseas.

Benefits of working from home

It is easy to understand why working from home has become so popular. The freedom to control over your schedule, the flexibility in pursuing personal interests, keeping down the cost your commuting or gas, etc. To many people, it is pleasant to begin their day as early as they wish so they’re working when they are most efficient and alert to perform their jobs.

Working from home opens up more opportunities for career growth and personal satisfaction. Here’s a practical guide to excel under minimal supervision:

Make Sure You Set Goals 

It is essential to set goals if wish to work from home, especially during the change of family dynamics while living abroad. You will want to break goals down into daily small goals, and identify what daily expectations must be to achieve them. It is important to concentrate your efforts if you want to achieve your goals.

Avoid Distractions

To avoid infinite number of distractions while working from home, it is critical to set up professional home based office and stay focused on your daily task. It is ideal to have a reliable computer with quality internet, printer, business phone and general office supplies. All these items will increase your productivity and save your time.

Another suggestion would be a pair of noise-cancelling headphones. All the outside and inside noises can ruin your day. Construction noise, traffic sounds, etc., even the TV sounds are annoying. Therefore, it is wise to choose a pair of noise-cancelling headphones while working from home.

Work and Exercise Balance 

It is important to get out of your home office and do some exercise. Instead of sitting in front of your computer all day long, just take a short walk outside your house during the day or head to the gym for an hour workout. It will make a huge difference to your emotional and physical well being. You will have the chance to connect to people, or even socialize with other groups of people who work from home.

Update Your Colleagues Often 

This will help lower your stress level without the feeling of falling behind. Many work-from-home professionals know that they don’t have to do it all alone. Using an online file sharing system such as Dropbox will easily allow you to update your colleagues or team mates in real-time. It will also eliminates the problem of working with outdated projects.

Don’t Forget International Health Insurance 

For work-from-home professionals living abroad, it is important to note that you will most likely be responsible for obtaining your own international health insurance plans as you might be working for yourself or may not be supported by an employer. Also, the country you live in may have little or no medical coverage and may not provide adequate healthcare facilities. However, some expat employers will employ people working abroad, especially in IT roles. 

Domestic health plans may not even cover you or will only cover you in that one country, which is not ideal if you wish to travel or obtain health coverage abroad. You will probably lose your current health plan coverage if you live abroad or it may not cover overseas travel. 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. Also don’t forget to obtain individual life and disability coverage as well if you are an work-from-home professional. 

Six social media platforms for expatriates living abroad

If you are an expatriate living abroad these days, it is often important to keep in touch with family and friends both online and offline. Many expats turn to social media platforms as a great way to interact with their fellow expatriates and share their experiences online. There are many social media platforms in Asia, Africa, North America, Europe and around the world that expatriates will utilize: from Facebook to Twitter, Instagram to Google+, Weibo to Wechat… Finding the most popular social networking media that Asians are on can not only ease the difficulties of expanding your business and extending your local networking group, but can also strengthen your expat company’s branding. In this article, let’s discuss top 6 social media platforms that expatriates have to consider while working and living abroad, especially those in Asia.

1. Facebook

According to studies, Facebook is the most popular social network in Singapore, Thailand and Indonesia, especially for expats and locals alike. And according to reports, in 2016, 43% of Singaporeans use Facebook every month, comparing all other social media platforms. In Thailand, the statistic shows that around 18.9 million people are using Facebook throughout the day. It is reported that three in four Indonesians who use the internet also use Facebook. Note that Facebook is not available in China. If you are an expat interested in Facebook, we recommend that expatriates check out our Expat Financial Facebook page.

2. Instagram

As of 2016, 63% of Singaporeans are using Instagram. According to a recent study conducted by ConnectedLife, Malaysians are very active on Instagram as results show that users have gone from 59% to 73% in the past year. Another large Instagram usage nation in Asia is Indonesia. According to Instagram’s internal data, Indonesia is the largest market for Instagram in the Asia Pacific, with 45 million users. Unfortunately, Instagram is also banned in China, but some people are able to access the site via a Virtual Private Network. Don’t forget to visit our Instagram page.

3. YouTube

Research shows that YouTube is the most preferred and popular video platform in Thailand. YouTube Thailand is ranked as top 1 in Southeast Asia and top 10 in the world; 81% of Thais say YouTube is the first place they go for video. Other markets with the highest viewership in Asia are Vietnam, Japan and India. Check out our expat and insurance YouTube channel.

4. WeChat

WeChat is the NO.1 messaging apps in China. Users can book cabs on WeChat, send and receive money, shopt online, book restaurants, share moments with their friends, daily business communication, etc. Other than emails or phone calls, it is preferred to conduct business communication through WeChat in China now. The mobile application is available in many languages such as Russian, Spanish, Indonesian, Portuguese, Thai, Chinese and Vietnamese. Many expats use this excellent communication and social tool.

5. Weibo

According to data released by Sina in 2016, Weibo has 100 million daily active users around the world. The majority of these users are in China mainland, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan. Weibo is very similar to Twitter in the USA. One of the reasons why Sina Weibo is so popular is because many Chinese celebrities, movie stars, singers, famous business and media organizations joined the platform. The verification system works the same as Twitter for well-known officials and organizations.

6. Pinterest

 Pinterest continues its growth in Asia. According to recent reports, the site has attracted millions of users in Singapore and Hong Kong. And in Malaysia, Pinterest hit 10 million monthly unique visitors faster than any independent site in history, according to research. Pinterest is also an important platform for businesses to engage potential customers in Asia.

 

Living abroad is an exciting and rewarding expatriates for expatriates around the world. It will allow you to connect to other expats in your new country location and also keep connected to family and friends back home. Whatever your social media interests, it is important that you stay connected as much as possible both via social networks and also by getting out and about, such as joining a club, attending your work parties and making sure you are meeting new people. Also remember to check out our Social Media page. If you have a teen expat with you, make sure you educate them about the downsides of social medical sites and if you can monitor their usage and interactions. Social media can be great, but there are dangers that you should watch out for.

We would be remiss if we also did not mention that you should remember to obtain global medical coverage that will include both prevention and medical care that will take care of you and your family while living abroad.

Top 10 common international health insurance mistakes for expats

If you are an expatriate and searching for global health insurance plans, it is critical that you select the right plan for you and your family. Without an appropriate health insurance plan, you may be putting your health and finances at risk. To help you make the best choices, in this article, we will discuss steps to avoid the common health insurance mistakes that expatriates sometimes make. The following mistakes and advice we provide below relate to both individual and corporate expat health plans.  Remember, we all make mistakes, but when it comes to expat healthcare, it makes sense to read the points below to help avoid the following:

Mistake #1: Not choosing a plan that can cover a pre-existing medical condition

If you or your family member suffer from a medical condition, one of the most important questions to ask of any health insurance plan is whether it would cover pre-existing medical conditions. Most of the insurers will exclude pre-existing medical conditions, however, some will charge an additional premium to approve the application, but this depends on the severity of the medical condition. For example, how serious the condition is, how long you have been treatment free and the potential costs of treatment. There is usually an exception for group plans because the risk is spread among healthy and unhealthy people – such group plans can often cover pre-existing medical conditions if the number of employees covered is large enough – usually 10 or 20 employees.

Expat Financial works with 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. These excellent insurance plans can even provide full coverage for an expat group of only two or three expat employees. This is a significant advantage for any expat employer as almost all employees or dependents, especially older ones, will have at least one medical condition. To learn more, please contact us or obtain a free quote online

Mistake #2: Obtaining a domestic policy

Some expatriates purchase health insurance plans that don’t provide them with adequate amount of coverage when living and traveling abroad. Domestic government health plans usually provide coverage to access to private medical facilities. These plans are usually basic and will not allow for treatment outside your home country and are also not portable if you move to a new country. Therefore, expatriates will want to purchase international health insurance plan that covers them locally, regionally and globally. Most international health insurance plans will provide in-patient medical care, out-patient medical care, specialists care, routine scans, etc. If you are relocating to a region with limited medical services, you can select the medical evacuation option. Most of the global medical plans will offer dental and vision options. Finally, don’t rely on your health policy back home, it probably doesn’t cover you abroad.

Mistake #3: Assuming you are young and healthy and don’t require cover

If you assume that you and your family are healthy and don’t need to obtain health insurance, you are definitely putting your health and finance at risk. This is especially true in situations such as maternity care, cancer, accidents and emergency evacuation. Medical expenses in both developing and developed nations can be extremely expensive and you don’t want to go bankrupt because of uninsured medical fees.

Mistake #4: Not obtaining maternity coverage

Maternity care in private hospitals among many countries can be very expensive. It is important to obtain maternity coverage if you are planning to become pregnant as an expatriate. Most plans have a 12 month waiting period before maternity related expenses will be covered. We often get calls from expatriates who are currently pregnant and want coverage for that birth, but for individual expatriates this is not possible as you would have to have obtained a global medical plan that covered pregnancy and new child at least 12 months prior to conception. If your child is born with health issues, the baby will have to medically underwritten as a new applicant if maternity coverage was not in force 12 months prior – this can be a huge liability. If you are planning to have children or if there is a possibility that you may become pregnant, it is vital that your global health plan include maternity care

Mistake #5: Not obtaining evacuation coverage

Emergency evacuation is another critical part of any expatriate’s medical coverage, especially if you are residing in a developing country where local medical facilities are not up to western standards. It will ensure you have access to high quality medical facilities in the event of an medical emergency. Ambulances, helicopters, planes and travelling medical care can be incredibly high if you are not properly insured. For many expats in the Caribbean for example, there are some excellent medical facilities, but an expat may have to obtain medical care in the USA for more serious medical conditions, such as obtaining treatment in Miami. 

Mistake #6: Obtaining the cheapest global medical plan

A very common mistake that expats sometime make is choosing a plan based on price alone. If it is a lot cheaper than most plans in the market, there is probably a good reason for this. We are all guilty of looking for a good deal, but try not to when it comes to global medical insurance. If you are living or working overseas, you want an insurance plan that is going to be there when you need it. Quality is extremely important. Our most comprehensive policy with excellent service is the Cigna Global plan we offer on our web site. We offer the same coverage and price and you get the benefit of our agency support both before and after you purchase – we are your advocate.

The premiums of expatriate health insurance plan depends on a variety of factors: age, gender, citizenship, geographic area of coverage, deductible level, etc. These factors help the international health insurer determine your initial and renewal premiums. Before picking an international health insurance plan, you should carefully consider co-pays, co-insurance or deductible level, depending on your health care needs. Don’t pick a plan just because of its low premiums. In fact, there are some ways to lower your health insurance premiums while still obtaining first class access to your desired coverage level. Please read blog article How to lower your global medical insurance premiums – Five tips for expats to learn more about it. Contact us to discuss your requirements and obtain quotes from the market.

Mistake #7: Not telling the truth on application

Some expats may suffer from a pre-existing medical condition and not disclose it to the insurer. This is a serious mistake as it will allow the insurer to invalidate all your claims and terminate your insurance policy. Insurers will find out eventually and it is vital that you provide full disclosure of your health when you complete the application online or offline. Insurers will often write your doctor to confirm your medical health before or after a policy is taken out, so make sure you tell the truth when applying. If you have a condition, disclose it and provide as much detail as possible along with reports, tests and it is possible that the condition will be covered, depending on the insurer and the condition.

Mistake #8: For Americans, not obtaining a plan that covers treatment in the USA

Some American expats do not obtain a plan that covers medical treatment back home. If you are an American expat, there is a good chance you will want a plan that will allow you medical treatment back in the USA where you have family, friends and other support groups. Yes adding US care to your policy will cost you more, but surprisingly for some plans that cost is quite minimal – especially the Cigna Global Health Options plan we offer online.

expat healthcare if critical

Mistake #9: Not purchasing a plan that covers drugs

If you are an expatriate taking prescription drugs for short term or under chronic medical conditions, it is vital to obtain prescription drug coverage. Many countries have very expensive drug costs, especially when taking major illness drugs or new drug. Many drugs, especially biologics, are extremely expensive so it is important to purchase a plan with prescription cover.

Mistake #10: Not checking the fine print

International health insurance is complex and can be confusing for expats who are living and working abroad. We are all guilty of not reading the fine print or policy coverage details. If is important when you are purchasing a global medical plan that you carefully read the fine print of the global medical policy. This can also include checking the medical network and administration details of the provider.

Expat Financial offers several global insurance plans that will provide excellent drug coverage for expatriates who living abroad. Some of the global medical plans we offer can even cover local nationals in select countries. The international health plans from providers such as CignaMSH and IMG can provide prescription drug coverage for most expatriates. You can get a quote online and apply for the individual expat health plans we offer.

 

TFG Global will be exhibiting at Canadian Employee Relocation Council conference

TFG Global Insurance Solutions Ltd. and its division Expat Financial will be exhibiting at the Canadian Employee Relocation Council conference in Calgary that is running from September 10th till 12th, 2017. The CERC is an important membership based organization that ws formed to provide service, leadership and assistance in the relocation of employees both domestically and globally. The CERC has over 600 members in Canada and around the world. David Tompkins noted that “TFG Global is very pleased to be exhibiting at the Calgary conference in 2017 and hope that we will meet members of the relocation service community and global HR managers who assist their employees in relocating overseas”

David also mentioned that “TFG Global has become a key resource for multinational employers in Canada and also in many parts of the world that require global insurance solutions for their expatriate work force for short and long term assignments. We are able to source global medical, evacuation, life, disability, AD&D, special risk and other related international insurance plans on both a group and individual plan basis.”

David Tompkins will be providing a short presentation titled “Global Benefit Plans 101” that will provide some details on the services that our firm can provide to global employers in the private and public sector. It will also provide some important tips for Global HR professionals on how to effectively run an international group insurance program along with ways to reduce expat insurance costs.

TFG Global strongly encourages anyone who manages a global workforce to attend the CERC conference in Calgary, Alberta, Canada and of course attend our presentation on global benefit plans. We will also be giving away a $100 Amazon gift card, so please don’t forget to visit our booth and learn more about the international insurance expertise and services we provide.

The importance of dental coverage for expat employees

Working overseas is an exciting and rewarding journey for expat employees around the world. Most expat consider obtaining global medical care as a priority, but many expatriates forget about their dental health, which is not only important for your teeth and appearance, but also critical for your overall health. Dental treatment abroad can be very expensive and is almost certainly private. Expat dental insurance is one of the top priorities in your organization’s global benefit plan. In this article, we will discuss the importance of dental coverage and how to obtain dental insurance for expat employees working and living abroad.

Why Visit the Dentist? 

This may seem obvious, but according to recent findings presented by the International Association for Dental Research (IADR), periodontal disease and tooth decay are the two major threats to dental health among adults. And according to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are approximately 64.7 million people aged 30 or older have periodontitis, which is a more serious and destructive forms of gum disease. Furthermore, several researches have shown that gum disease and complications could lead to heart disease and diabetes. Professional dental care is important to oral health and overall health.

An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure

With preventive dental care, your dentist can examine your teeth for cavities when they are still minor conditions. For people who smoke or with pre-existing dental problems, this is especially important. A dentist can examine your mouth for any irregularities before they become worse. If expat employees are relocating abroad with family and children, dental coverage is one of your top consideration along with international health insurance. Prevention is key and can help keep dental costs low and also help with employee productivity.

The Cost of Dental Care Abroad

The cost of dental care abroad will often vary greatly based on your expat country of assignment. Some countries or areas offer excellent dental care and facilities, often charge at a higher price. The overall dental cost can vary dramatically in different regions around the world. For example, in Singapore and Hong Kong, dental practices are 100% private and incredibly costly. Many third world countries will offer dental care a fraction of the costs in North America.

Finding Expat Dental Care

Your global benefit plan may provide a list of dental clinics which will be able to direct bill the dentist overseas, but most will want to have the employee pay the bill directly and then have the expat obtain reimbursement from the insurer. The other expat employees in the country may also be able to refer your new employees to a reputable dentist. One should always examine the facility before obtaining dental care to look for credentials and see if the clinic is practicing proper hygiene practices. Some expats may prefer a Western trained dentist, but most country’s dentists will be properly trained and regulated.

Expats Prefer Private Dental Care

For those countries with a public dental healthcare system, expatriates may still want to use the private dental care system. This is not only because they can avoid the long waits for medical appointments in public medical care system, but also the access to English speaking dentist and medical staff. An appropriate international health insurance plan with dental coverage affords you the option of choosing private dentist, standard routine check-ups, and a higher level of dental treatment such as scaling and repairs. Therefore, taking out an international health insurance plan is essential if wishing to receive treatment from a private dentist as an expat employee.

expat healthcare if critical

Standard Dental Care Coverage for Expats

There are usually three types of dental plan covered by insurers:

1. Regular Dental Care

  • Emergency care
  • X-rays
  • Root canals
  • Regular anesthesia
  • Tooth cleaning
  • Consultations and examinations
  • Occlusion bar
  • Simple fillings

2. Large Dental Operations – Restorative

  • Root scaling
  • Tooth adjustment
  • Periodontists care
  • Membrane care
  • Bridgework and repairs
  • Gingivitis care
  • Temporary crowns, porcelain crowns and gold jackets

3. Orthodontics

  • Ortho expenses for dependent children, usually up to a $1500 lifetime maximum.

For people with pre-existing dental issues, after a certain waiting period, insurers may cover pre-existing dental issues depending on the policy provider. Most plans will have a waiting period for orthodontics. 

How to Obtain Dental Coverage for Expat Employees

Expat Financial can source group insurance benefit plans that provide both local and global medical coverage for expat employees, including dental care. We are not able to source dental only expat plans – the coverage must be part of of a group global medical plan. The plan designs for dental can include coinsurance and deductibles to help lower the costs. In most instances, dental rates for expats will be below what is seen for domestic employees in Canada or the USA. The rates will of course depend on the expat population demographics – such as age and country location. We can also source dental coverage as part of a global medical plan for individual expatriates when needed. 

If you are interested in learning more, have questions or would like a quotation, please contact Expat Financial via email or visit our Quote Request page.