Ebola Virus and Medical Evacuation for Expatriates

Ebola VirusThe World Health Organization recently declared the West African Ebola epidemic that has killed nearly 1,000 people an international public-health emergency. As the Ebola virus continues its march across Africa, international health insurance providers and their medical evacuation suppliers are continuing to monitor the precarious situation there. Some clients of TFG Global and Expat Financial which have employees in Africa are asking how their employees will be treated should they become infected with the deadly Ebola virus.

If an insured person is infected, it will be vital to immediately advise the health authorities, eliminate contact with others and seek medical attention. Most medical insurance policies will cover the medical expenses associated with the Ebola disease, but medical evacuation will be much more complicated and precarious because of the highly infectious nature of this disease.

An evacuation request would still be subject for review and coordination between the insurance company and the evacuation provider, however, the Ebola outbreak also has the added component of local and world health organizations. For instance, the insurer’s actions may be limited if a specific village is quarantined. If a client is worried about the safety of their employees, they may wish to take them out of that infected area as a proactive measure.

Generally, a healthy individual would not qualify for medical evacuation, so the client/member would be responsible for such travel costs. Evacuation is often decided on a case by case basis that would need to follow an approval process and be reviewed and handled by the insurance company’s medical staff. Evacuation providers such as ISOS have staff and also the local health authorities in the region who are continually monitoring the situation. The fact that Ebola is a deadly contagious disease with the World Health Organization (WHO) and other medical organizations involved makes it more complicated as insurers must also follow these authorities’ guidelines.

Also, a country may refuse to allow Ebola-infected patients to be evacuated to their country to prevent the spread of the disease, so I would expect that evacuation of an infected individual may be very difficult due to countries not wanting to import the disease to their country. Resources may be stained as well as transporting an infected patient is extremely difficult and requires specially outfitted planes and support staff.

For more information on international group insurance, medical evacuation plans and an examination of your organization’s global mobility benefits, please contact TFG Global Insurance Solutions Ltd. through its Expat Financial division. Individual global health insurance plans are also available.


Ebola Virus Outbreak is Reminder of the Importance of International Health Insurance

There have been reported outbreaks of the Ebola virus in Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia. One infected person even died in Lagos, Nigeria after a plane trip from a nearby country. Ebola virus is a rare and deadly disease. The Ebola incubation period, from exposure to when signs or symptoms appear, usually ranges from 2 to 21 days. Early symptoms include sudden fever, chills, and muscle aches. Around the fifth day, a skin rash can occur. Nausea, vomiting, chest pain, sore throat, abdominal pain, and diarrhea may follow. It is vital that one seek treatment as soon as possible and take immediate steps not expose others to the illness. 

Some expat health insurance policies may not cover a pandemic illness, but most policies will cover the illness like any other illness. One should check your international health insurance plan to make sure you know what you are covered for, especially if you will travel to a region where Ebola has been reported. Your employer should also check the international group insurance plan to ensure that any Ebola-related illness will be covered. More information can be found at:


Expat employers with few employees can obtain group expat coverage

One of the largest barriers to expatriate group insurance adoption for small organizations without a current plan is the simple belief that their company is “too small” for a benefit plan. Others think that a global mobility program for their small firm will cost too much.

Many companies do not know that there are international group insurance plans that are available for the small expat business market with as few as three overseas employees. The impact of an unfunded life, disability, evacuation or health claim can lead to a large impact on the organization, its employees and bottom line. This is even more of an issue for a small company with potentially much smaller backup resources than a large firm.

While the insurance benefits for a small group plan may be more restrictive because the risks can’t be spread upon a large population of employees, the group expat benefits will still be superior to what an individual expat health plan will offer. The administration of a group expat plan will also be much easier for a company’s human resources executive. The premiums for an international group insurance plan will also be lower than a group of individual plans. Some group plans will also provide medical coverage without any underwriting. Life, Disability, AD&D, evacuation and dental benefits can also be added.

A group expat plan can be started with as few as two or three employees with some global insurance companies. Send your company’s expat population census information to Expat Financial today so we can obtain quotes from the market after discussing your organization’s benefit needs.


Global health insurance inflation continues unabated


Recent studies have shown that medical inflation trends continue to rise unabated for both individual and employee sponsored international health insurance plans. The average global annual inflation trend for medical costs may be 10% overall, but the percentage is higher in select countries such as the USA and Canada, where many expatriates are covered and may seek treatment. Companies such as Aetna Global and Cigna International often report medical inflation trends of 12 to 13%. This trend rate is also shared by many expat insurance providers.

What is driving the increase in medical costs? Many providers cite a large number of factors such as:

  • poor health habits such as obesity
  • drug costs increase, especially with biologic drugs which can easily run in the tens of thousands of dollars
  • compliance with local coverage requirements, including the Affordable Care Act in the USA
  • defensive medicine where doctors order unnecessary tests to ward off legal actions
  • new healthcare technologies are constantly being introduced and demanded by patients
  • demographics and age of the population, which is related to the size and age structure of the population that are using health care services
  • the intensity of care, which refers to increases in the care and services per unit of care delivered

These factors and more are having major impacts on the claims that are being incurred by domestic and international health insurers. These costs have to be passed onto individual policy holders and employer sponsored expat group insurance plans. Expatriates and their employers need to adapt their global medical insurance plans to make sure the coverage meets their needs and budgets. Some may choose to reduce costs by:

  • increasing the size of deductibles
  • increase coinsurance levels
  • have employees share in the premium payments
  • remove certain medical procedures and possibly restricting coverage areas

It is important to work with an independent global insurance specialist firm such as Expat Financial, which is a division of TFG Global Insurance Solutions Ltd. We can analyze the coverage needs of both individual expatriates and their employers and then search the market for a plan that will meet their respective needs and budgets. Learn more about the international group insurance plans we offer expat employers.


What to Consider When Moving Abroad

Moving abroad to work and life can be a huge decision for both you and your family. A move abroad involves a lot of advance preparation and planning-such as where to live, transport, where to educate your children, getting help, language training etc… It can all be quite daunting, especially if you have never worked abroad or are receiving little help from your employer.

One of the most significant challenges for an expatriate is obtaining the right international health insurance policy. Obtaining a global health plan is usually on the top of your to-do list. It is important to know that the health of you and your family is protected as this will provide a high level of comfort and peace of mind. Expat Financial has long been recognized as a critical source of international health plans for individual expatriates and their employers. Expat Financial, which is a division of TFG Global Insurance Solutions Ltd., offers global medical plans from a variety of insurance providers who can cover expatriates and their family members.

An international health policy can be a complex policy to purchase, but Expat Financial is here to help you find the right product to suit your needs and budget. With a large number of global medical plans – from basic to deluxe – from several large and well-known insurers, we are sure to have a plan that will meet your requirements. Expat Financial even offers health plans that can be quoted and purchased via the internet.

If your employer has three or more expatriate employees, the HR director can contact us for an international benefit program that not only provides global medical care but life, disability, dental and evacuation insurance. The savings from having a group plan can be significant. Also, a group plan can often automatically cover an employee’s pre-existing medical conditions.

In addition to insurance products, our firm can refer you to international firms which can help you with cultural training, relocation and tax preparation. Check out our Links page for more information. Expat Financial can also source global life and disability programs for many expatriates in most parts of the world.

If you are going global, make sure you put contacting Expat Financial for international health insurance at the top of your list.

Updated Foreign Exchange Services

TFG Global has recently updated the foreign exchange page for expatriates and some local nationals. You can view the newly updated page at:


Our firm has partnered with OzForex, a strategic investment of Macquarie BankAccel Partners and the Carlyle Group and its original co-founders Matt Gilmour and Gary Lord. USForex is part of the OzForex Group which includes UKForex, CanadianForex, OzForex, NZForex and USForex.

We are pleased to offer this additional service to our customers living abroad. It is a secure way to send money internationally and can offer better exchange rates than your bank. You can register free for international money transfers and gain valuable insights into foreign exchange trends. USForex is registered at a federal level with “FinCEN”, a bureau of the United States Department of Treasury, as a Money Services Business.



Why Expat Health Insurance is Essential

At Expat Financial, we like to give expatriates the tools and information to personalize their requirement for expatriate health insurance. Easy access to superior healthcare is a necessity for anyone living or working abroad. As you may know, in the developing world and even in some developed countries, the local medical institutions can be inadequate, costly or unattainable depending. Everyone experiences sickness and accidents in their lifetime and superb expatriate health insurance coverage is a critical step in one’s recovery and also maintaining one’s health.

Expatriate health insurance plans offer a variety of degrees of medical coverage and with a large array of deals available from health insurance companies the decisions can feel quite arduous. The expense of medical care is rapidly rising globally at a rate faster than the price of living. If a dire situation were to occur many would quickly realize that having a plan that insures any foreseeable circumstances is paramount. Health insurance could likely be the most important expatriate insurance you buy.

international health insurance plan from Expat Financial

Many people think that if they are going to be living in a developed country, then the need for health insurance is lower because obtaining local care is relatively inexpensive or one can obtain a local health plan at next to no cost. This is dangerous because if the health care costs are low, it most likely means that you won’t want to be treated there for anything other than something minor. An expat health plan will be essential to help you obtain proper care at a local private hospital or be evacuated to a center of medical excellence in another country. Also, using a local health insurance plan is not advisable because the coverage may be poor and it won’t cover you being treated outside the country, especially back home.

Expat Financial is your essential expat health insurance resource. Feel free to contact us to examine your global medical insurance needs so that you can obtain the right policy that will meet your needs and budget. Expat Financial can also source group benefit plans for expatriates.

Interview of David Tompkins by Israel National Radio – Expat Insurance

David Tompkins, the President of TFG Global Insurance Solutions Ltd. which owns and operates Expat Financial, was interviewed by Douglas Goldstein on July 2012 on Arutz Sheva, the  Israel National Radio business show Goldstein on Gelt. The interview has been recently been posted to Youtube and you can listen and even view the interview online by clicking HERE.

David Tompkins spoke to Doug about insurance for expats currently living in other countries. “Goldstein on Gelt” is a global investment and financial planning radio show designed to educate and entertain its listeners with financial strategies and great investment tips.

David Tompkins remarked “that it was an honour to be interviewed by Douglas on Isreal National Radio. I hope that expatriates found the topic interesting and were able to learn more about expat health insurance and international life and disability insurance.”

Check the Fine Print When Shopping for Expat Health Insurance

Check the Fine Print When Shopping for Expat Health Insurance

Comparing the different expatriate health insurance plans can be very time consuming and confusing. There are many different plans offered by a variety of expatriate insurance providers.

Many expatriates have the following questions: Do you have questions about purchasing international health insurance? Do you wonder why some plans seem the same in quality and price? Or why others have a much larger price and what the difference is? It’s easy to miss the finer details in the small print of some plans.fine-print

Here are some important tips on what to look out for and to make sure your international health insurance can cover:

Chronic Illnesses: Usually these conditions will not be covered by insurers. If such conditions occur, later on, the prices for the level of coverage you previously purchased can fluctuate drastically, depending on your insurance carrier. It is vital that you are certain that you know what your coverage includes because prices can rise alarmingly.

Medical History: Pre-existing conditions, current or past are usually not covered or reduced in coverage by most insurance companies. Your broker needs to know if you would like to see if specific conditions can be covered. They can then get to work on attempting to find an insurer and plan that can cover you. Expat Financial does offer some expat health plans which can cover a pre-existing medical condition if it is disclosed, underwritten and approved by the insurer. The carrier may decline to cover you, excluded the condition or cover it for little or no extra cost.

Areas of Coverage: Make sure you know where you are covered. Many plans will not provide coverage in the United States or may include for a higher premium. Finer details need to be specified and will cost far more. Some emergency coverage can sometimes be granted in the US for a limited duration. If you plan to travel to the US, you need to know the specifics. Take some peace of mind in the knowledge of the locations and durations of where you are covered. Some insurers may only offer protection in certain areas of Europe and Asia, for example.

Policy Limits: Some plans have low overall policy maximums while other plans offer an unlimited annual or lifetime maximum. Some of the benefits, especially for out-patient claims such as seeing a specialist MD, will have a maximum benefit amount. It is recommended that you obtain a plan with a large overall maximum if your budget allows.

Range of Benefits: Overall, the benefits of annual plans can be great regardless of the insurer unless you have purchased a cheaper plan. Be warned, however, that some insurers do not give as much coverage in certain areas. They can differ in their coverage of Medical Aids, HIV/Aids treatment, Psychiatry, Physiotherapy, Alternative Medicine, Organ Transplants, Private Room/Semi-Private Room, Evacuation or Repatriation coverage and so forth. Some may not cover any of these, depending on your plan. Avoid misfortune by ensuring that you have all bases covered. Contact Expat Financial for more information on the range of benefits for your expatriate health plan.

Choice: In-Patient Only versus In-Patient & Out-Patient coverage. Depending on your choice, the costs can differ greatly. Selecting In-Patient only will usually cover you just for hospitalization that requires at least one overnight stay. Some expats who live in regions where out-patient costs are low will obtain an in-hospital only plan.

Options: Some expat plans will offer optional coverage for dental, vision and travel related expenses. Expat Financial recommends that you obtain the evacuation rider, which may or may not be included in the policy. Evacuation expenses can be extremely high, especially from a remote region.

You will receive your insurance certification soon after having paid the premium for your plan. Make sure to check this documentation to ensure that you have been covered for all your specifications and no special exclusions have been tacked on. Certain insurers can be lax at outlining their specific policies during the application and underwriting phases of your plan. Be sure to go over your new plan certification and documents whenever it is renewed because insurers are free to amend changes during this time. This rarely happens, but you or your broker at Expat Financial can check. You can obtain quotes for several different global medical insurance plans online.

It pays to talk to an expatriate insurance specialist at Expat Financial to obtain a plan which meets your needs and budget. Obtaining a quote is both easy, and some plans are even offered online. Expat Financial offers plans from a variety of providers, including BUPA, Cigna, IMG, ihi BUPA, William Russell and Interglobal.

Expat Financial Launches Newly Designed Website

TFG Global Insurance Solutions Ltd. is pleased to announce the release of our new website, which has been designed with a fresh new look and user-friendly navigation. The newly updated site provides clients around the world with the latest information about our expatriate insurance products and services.

The updated product pages contain information about existing and new products and services in a fresh and modern format. One of our primary goals was to build a user-friendly interface to navigate the site. The new design allows the users to quickly find the contents thanks to its low hierarchical structure.

David Tompkins, President of TFG Global Insurance Solutions, which operates the expatriate insurance specialty website Expat Financial noted that “we hope that people around the world will enjoy browsing our new site, finding more options and information each time and that it will be yet another tool for strengthening our business relations.”

The Expat Financial website has been in existence since 1998 and has seen several re-designs, but the new format that was designed and optimized by Neal Internet.  The website design is a vast improvement and will help expatriates better source international insurance plans such as:

Please contact Expat Financial via our contact page for more information on the international insurance plans that we can source for individual expatriates and their employers.