Are you ready for the Christmas Holidays? What about including expat health insurance?

Many expats are planning or have already booked a trip home in Christmas. When heading home from an expat assignment we need to get a list of things such as plane tickets, gifts, hotels, etc. However, many may forget one less obvious thing: international health insurance. Be aware of your options for health care insurance coverage while you are celebrating Christmas with your family this winter.

In order to get the best protection, most expats will select the most common and relevant plans like travel insurance or annual international health insurance. Travel insurance is designed specifically to provide medical coverage while the policyholder is not at their country of citizenship. Annual international insurance is designed to provide ongoing
coverage for medical health care anywhere in the world. Expats may have coverage that only covers them in their expat assignment country, so they may want to get travel medical insurance for short trips abroad. If an expat is traveling home, he or she should make sure that the travel medical insurance plan will cover a trip to one’s country of citizenship. Some plans will cover a trip home with a home return rider.

Despite of the flexibility travel insurance holds, an annual international health insurance plan will be the better of the two in terms of the actual level of coverage and service. This is because travel plans are designed to cover emergencies only incidents outside one’s country of citizenship. Many people may not realize that travel insurance plans will exclude any medical costs related to conditions such as pregnancy, pre-existing medical conditions, and accidents from sports, etc. In fact, travel insurance plans have more exclusions than an ordinary health insurance policy and many people are too late to know. International health insurance plans offer international direct
billing and can reimburse you for expenses much faster. You don’t need to pay for most medical expenses out of pocket.Furthermore, international insurance is a long-term medical plan focusing on recovery regardless restrictive time limits and location. For example, if you applied for medical travel insurance and had an accident during your trip, you won’t be approved for coverage extension even though you need the treatment. When your travel insurance is coming to an end, you will be underwritten again and the extended travel policy will not cover the treatment. However, international health insurance will still cover your expenses for the injury if you decided to extend your trip.

Finally, an international health plan will generally cover you globally excluding or including the USA. If you are an American expat, make sure that your expat health plan covers the USA if you plan to take a short visit home. Another option is to purchase short term travel medical insurance for that trip to the USA, but make sure it covers you in your country of citizenship while living abroad.

Expat Financial offers a variety of international 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 to: info@tfgglobal.com

Why expats should consider international health insurance over a local medical plan

When you are an expatriate living abroad, you are initially faced with the question of local versus international health plan? Which is better for my expatriate assignment, long term travel or overseas retirement? Some countries can offer local health coverage to expatriates after an initial waiting period. However, the truth is, the local medical plans are not designed for expatriates. An international health insurance plan can provide superior coverage for you and your family that will cover you both locally and globally.

Local health plans are designed to cover a local national, not an expatriate who may want to seek medical treatment back in his or her home country or in another country. Almost all local health plans will not allow an expatriate to seek medical care outside the country of domicile. If you are an expatriate living in a less developed country, it is even more important to obtain an international health plan that will allow for global medical treatment because the local medical facilities may not be up to western standards. You may also require a plan that will provide medical evacuation coverage in case the local hospitals are not able to adequately treat your medical condition. Evacuation coverage is a key feature of any expatriate insurance plan.

Another problem with local health plans is that if an expatriate is posted to another country, the local coverage will not move with him or her. Expatriates are naturally mobile people who require portable coverage. This is especially important for expat employers who often move expat assignees from one country to another. If an expatriate has developed a pre-existing medical condition while being covered by a local health plan, they may find it difficult to become insured by a new medical insurer in the new country. The portability that a global health plan provides is a key feature of any group or individual health insurance plan.

Local plans are often not set up to allow for coverage when an expatriate returns home for a vacation or extended leave. Also, if an expatriate suffers a serious medical illness, he or she may want to seek medical treatment back in the home country. Again, only an international health plan will allow for medical treatment back in an expat’s county of citizenship.

Not only will international health insurance plans provide flexible worldwide coverage and freedom of comprehensive world-class services, they come with the peace of mind that expats require. It is also important that you obtain an expat health plan that will allow for medical reimbursement from the local and global medical facilities. This will help you maintain a successful international experience for you and your family.

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 to: info@tfgglobal.com

 

Cigna individual expat health plan is offering cash back promotion for month of October

Amazing news for all you global expats. Cigna International is offering a simple Cash Back offer for the Month of October.  This first time promotional period runs from October 1, 2015 through October 31st 2015.  So if you are in the market for an international health insurance plan, this would be a great time to get a quote and apply.

Four Easy Steps

  1. Purchase a Cigna Global Individual Medical Insurance policy within the promotional period 1st Oct 2015 – 31st Oct 2015. (min. value $1,000)
  2. Wait 90 days after the policy start date.
  3. Complete the online claim form via Cign’s customer web site after you approved via our site (no later than 120 days from the policy start date).
  4. You will  receive the cash back directly into your bank account!

Final premium and coverage are subject to medical underwriting by Cigna and policy is subject to their plan terms and conditions and is not available in certain countries. Plan must be approved in October 2015. For more details, please contact us.

The Global Health Options plan from Cigna provides access to a large network of hospitals, clinics and medical practitioners. The expat health plan offers three distinct levels of cover: Silver, Gold and Platinum.

The Cigna global medical insurance plan offers very generous benefits with excellent claims and administration. You can rest assured that you are covered by a large global insurance company backed by superior underwriting and service. Obtain a quote and even purchase online. The plan is not available to local nationals residing in their country of citizenship (except in Singapore or HK) – only for expatriates. More details are available via our Cigna international health insurance page.

international health insurance for chronic conditions

Covering pre-existing medical conditions is critical for expat group insurance plans

The other day our firm was contacted by a teacher who was wanting to work abroad at an international school. She noted that the school that was interested in hiring her would not cover the pre-existing medical condition, which in this case was Diabetes. The diabetes medications are quite expensive and the individual was at risk of incurring significant medical claims that an individual expat health plan would probably not cover. Some individual expat health plans can cover some pre-existing medical conditions, but they do not want to go into a situation where they know right off that the medical claims will almost certainly well exceed the premium in the first year. The individual expat health plan will probably request additional premium, exclude the condition or simply decline coverage outright.

Most group plans are able to cover pre-existing medical conditions because they insurer can spread the risk among healthy and not so healthy individuals. Some firms can offer coverage for pre-existing medical conditions, otherwise known as medical history disregarded (MHD), if you have a minimum of 10 or 20 employees, but some carriers that we work with can offer MHD for a group of only three employees.

Some expat employers will provide individual medical plans or simply ask the employees to source their own coverage, but this misses the enormous benefits of having a group plan that can provide coverage with no medical underwriting and cover the employee and their dependent’s chronic conditions. If an employee has high blood pressure, it probably won’t preclude your company from hiring him or her. If the medical plan you put this new employee on doesn’t cover previous medical conditions and the person suffers a stroke or heart attack, it is very likely the very large claim will be denied. Whereas an international group insurance plan sourced by Expat Financial can usually offer full coverage for an employee’s previous medical conditions.

Having a comprehensive plan that covers an employee’s previous medical conditions will help you attract and retain expat talent. It will also protect your employee and your bottom line at claim time. To learn more about the expat group benefit plans we can source, please contact us today.

Potential end of Iran sanctions may open the country to expatriates

It has been announced recently that Iran and the Western powers, especially the United States, have reached a preliminary deal on nuclear issue with Iran. There have been intense negotiations between the major Western powers and Iran for many months. It is anticipated that if a nuclear deal is finally reached and approved, then sanctions will slowly be lifted. At present Iran has been crippled by many years of economic and political sanctions imposed by the UN and Western nations. It has been near impossible for countries to do business with Iran, which is in dire need of the expertise and investment – especially in their oil and gas infrastructure. If the sanctions are removed, there will almost certainly be an influx of foreign businesses and their expatriate employees into Iran. Some foreign companies are already in Iran.

At present the global medical insurance companies are very limited in how they can pay for medical expenses incurred in Iran because they all have to abide by the OFAC sanctions rules.  Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of the US Department of the Treasury administers and enforces trade and economic sanctions against targeted foreign countries such as Iran or North Korea. Most global insurance companies that insure expatriates have to make sure that they do not contravene these rules. This is especially true for those insurers from the USA or Europe. Some expat insurers can reimburse a medical claim incurred in an sanctioned country such as Iran or Sudan, but only to a bank residing outside of that country. Other insurers interpret the rules differently and will not reimburse a medical claim that occurred in a sanctioned country at all. Sometimes it can also be difficult to cover a person from a sanctioned country such as Iran, but some expat insurers will simply check to make sure that they person is not on the Specially Designated Nationals (SDN) list.Iran-Vector-Map

If your organization has expats who have a citizenship from a sanctioned country, it is important to check with the insurance provider to make sure that the person can be covered and if the insurance company can cover their medical or life insurance requirements.

Coverage for medical treatment in the USA important for many expats

Almost all international health plans will either include medical treatment in the USA or exclude it. Some global medical plans will give individual expatriates the option to purchase coverage in America at an extra cost. For some plans, this can mean a much higher premium while others may include it for American nationals residing abroad at a fraction of the cost. Most American expats residing abroad will seek out a global medical plan that includes the USA because if they suffer a serious medical illness or injury, the expat will most likely want to seek medical treatment back home in the USA. For non-US citizens who are residing in the USA who are not eligible for a local health plan on a group or individual basis, it is obviously critical that one purchase a medical plan that includes treatment in the United States.

If you are an expatriate who is living abroad and travel often to the United States, it is also important to get the USA coverage option. For non-US expats residing in a country that is close to the USA, it is also advisable that you get the USA coverage option because the local medical system in your host country may not be able to handle a serious medical claim and you may be sent to the USA for medical treatment. This is especially important for expatriates who reside in the Caribbean, Mexico and even Central and South America. Yes it will add to your monthly premium, but you do not want to be in the USA without medical insurance, especially if your are evacuated to a hospital in Miami or California for treatment.

While some individual expat health plans will cover emergency medical treatment in the USA, some expats who do not wish the substantial cost of including coverage in the United States will choose to purchase single or multi-trip travel medical coverage for any trips to the USA. It is important to contact your international health insurance needs with an expat insurance expert and weigh the costs and benefits of having an international health insurance plan that provides full coverage in the United States of America. Expat Financial provides a variety of individual health plans that can provide global coverage – including Cigna, BUPA, IMG and Allianz.

David Tompkins to speak at Global HR Conference in Toronto on June 18th

David Tompkins, President of TFG Global Insurance Solutions Ltd., which owns and operates Expat Financial, will be speaking at the Global Human Resources conference in Toronto on June 18th, 2015. The theme of the event will be on growing global business and managing mobile talent. The objectives of the conference are to help HR managers who employ expatriates around the world. Business leaders will be attending and will learn how to acquire the best talent of the positions, local and right price in the globalized business environment.

David Tompkins will speak on international group insurance and provide detailed tips one what to look for when setting up and maintaining an expatriate group insurance plan. David has spoken and written extensively on global insurance challenges that are faced by individual expats and their employers. David will also discuss special risk coverage for employees who are posted to high risk zones such as Iraq and Afghanistan – especially the requirement for terrorism insurance in today’s uncertain world.

The event will also feature very interesting presentations from a global tax expert at Trowbridge, CEO of HR.com and the head of HR at Hootsuite. This event is critical for any business which manages global employees outside of Canada or is bringing in talent from overseas. More information can be found online. Tickets are available from Global Business News web site or from TFG Global Insurance Solutions Ltd.

The event will take place at the AIG offices at 145 Wellington Street West, Toronto, Canada at 9 AM and finish by 2:30 PM.

Maternity expenses can be very expensive for expats & tourists

Going abroad is a huge financial and emotional commitment for expatriates, but even more so if you add maternity to the mix. The importance of maternity coverage is even more important if you will be residing or traveling abroad, especially if your travels will take you to the USA. Travel insurance plans will generally not cover pregnancy related expenses, especially in the last 3 months of a pregnancy. If a pregnancy has any complications, then you can rest assured your travel insurance policy will not cover any expenses should there be a premature or regular birth. This was made quite clear in the news recently as a Canadian couple purchase travel medical insurance to cover their trip to Hawaii. Only two days after their arrival the mother’s water broker and was prescribed bed rest and was unable to be repatriated back to Canada for some reason.

The premature baby was born six weeks later by C-section and was required to stay two months in the neonatal intensive care unit. The medical expenses amounted to over $900,000 along with additional living expenses for the husband. Unfortunately, the travel insurer denied the claim because it sited the pre-existing medical exclusion in the policy because of an earlier bladder infection that was clear before they left on the trip. This huge medical claim illustrates the danger of traveling when pregnant, especially in the USA or elsewhere in the world where medical expense are high.

Expat Financial is often contacted by couples who are traveling while pregnant and we are not able to located travel medical coverage that will cover an existing pregnancy. Some expat medical policies will provide some medical coverage, but it is better not to test the plan and instead stay home. For individual expatriates who are already pregnant and require international health insurance, there are no expat health plans that will cover them. Individual expat health insurance plans that offer maternity coverage will only cover pregnancies after a 10 or 12 month waiting period. Maternity can often be included in a plan or purchased as an optional benefit.

The only way to potentially an existing pregnancy will be to part of a group expat health plan that covers maternity expenses with no waiting period. As demonstrated by the huge medical claim for the Canadian couple in Hawaii, a large policy maximum is also important. If you are lucky enough to be covered by a group expat health plan, make sure you read the fine print as it relates to pregnancy expenses. Caution when it comes to pregnancy is probably the best policy.

44% Increase in terrorism attacks in 2013 – Terrorism insurance is critical

It has recently been reported by the Global Terrorism Index 2014 report that deaths from terrorism rose by 61% from the previous year in 2013. There were nearly 10 thousand terrorist attacks in 2013, which is a 44% increase from 2012. Iraq is the country that is the most impacted by terrorist attacks thanks to al-Qaeda and the Islamic State (ISIL or ISIS). A report from the Institute for Economics and Peace remarked that 18 thousand people died from terrorism related injuries in 2013. Syria and Iraq are fueling a dramatic increase in terrorism, but Boko Haram in Nigeria is also responsible for the global increase. Further destabilization in the Middle East will only increase the amount of terrorism in the world. Even Turkey and Mexico are experiencing higher rates of terrorism.

Terrorism across the world is being driven by religious, nationalistic and separatist movements that are attracting followers from the western world. Authorities are justifiably worried that citizens who have traveled abroad to join terrorist movements such as ISIS will then come back to wage terrorist battles back in their home countries – especially in Europe and the USA.

Expatriates are encouraged to obtain international insurance coverage that will cover civil strife, terrorism and even war if they will be traveling or posted to countries where such risks are present or possible. Unfortunately, terrorist attacks can occur almost anywhere. Expat Financial can work with individual expatriates and expat employers who are sending employees overseas to discuss their risk profile and find international insurance plans that will not exclude terrorism and war related claims for passive bystanders. War and Terrorism risk insurance is becoming a necessity for many international employers with employees posted overseas and Expat Financial can search the market for an international group insurance plan that will provide war risk coverage. Please contact us for more information.

Source:  Global Terrorism Database

Please check out our video which describes the special risk coverage that our firm can source:

 

 

Terrorism coverage has become a necessity for some expatriates

Silhouette of soldierIt is an unfortunate reality that living abroad today can be just as risky as ever. Recent events have shown that many parts of the world are becoming increasingly volatile.

Whether your move is for business or pleasure, understanding and predicting future medical needs can be very difficult. If your relocating on a fixed contract, you may be fortunate enough to have your insurance provided by your employer — they will likely have a better idea of how much health coverage is required for your stay. Otherwise, seeking out expatriate medical insurance is essential to maintaining your health, safety, and peace of mind.

Even with the ability to relocate nearly anywhere in the world, health and safety risks for expatriates have increased once again with the political unrest in the Middle East, especially with advances made by the terrorist group ISIS. Seeking special risk coverage is a necessity when traveling to countries in conflict. Earlier this year, this coverage has become additionally important for expatriates in some European countries, as the Russia-Ukraine conflict persists. Terrorism is a real danger for expatriates spending their residency in countries such as these.

Many insurance policies for expatriates will exclude war and terrorism related claims, so it is vital that individual expatriates and their employers secure plans which will cover war and terrorism. More information on global insurance plans to cover expatriates can be obtained at Expat Financial.