How Expats Can Save Money When Moving to the UK

The UK’s rich cultural heritage, vibrant history, and high standard of living have made it one of the most sought-after expat destinations in the world. London’s eminence as a global business center also means that many expat positions there will come with high wages. However, these qualities have also contributed to a high cost of living. The UK is the 12th most expensive country to live in in the world, and its capital, London, is the 5th most expensive city in the world. To help you keep costs down, we at Expat Financial will discuss five ways to save money in the UK.

1. Saving on Flights

As expats move to the United Kingdom from all over the world, they would all love to save a penny or two on their airfare. One of the easiest ways to do this is to book flights well in advance. Airlines tend to hike the price of tickets as your departure date looms closer, so booking at least several months in advance will allow you to avoid this. Additionally, if flying to the UK from your own country proves unusually expensive, you could try booking a flight to another cheaper European destination. This is a valid strategy, as due to the significant presence of low-cost airlines in Europe, once you are in Europe, flying within the continent can become as cheap as the taxi to the airport.

2. Saving on Accommodation

With the average flat price in Central London is an astonishing 1.4 million USD, and the average British citizen spending nearly 40% of their income on housing, it makes sense to share a flat with fellow expats to keep costs down. In addition to helping your pocket, sharing an apartment is also a great way to make new friends. Online platforms such as Gumtree and SpareRoom make it easy for expats to arrange a shared flat. For students in the UK, you can often obtain very inexpensive and basic rooms through your university or private student housing companies like Unite Students.

3. Saving on Food

As a melting pot of different cultures, Britain’s vast offering of diverse cuisines makes it a foodie’s paradise. Although some of this diversity amounts to £300 a head omakase bars, there is still an abundance of cheap eats to be found. Straying from the main tourist and business areas will usually lead to finding low-cost local favourites. Additionally, many restaurants lower their prices both before and after peak hours, so that late night sitting may be saving you money. It is easy to obtain ready made meals from the large food chains and department stores in London and other parts of the UK. If you avoid restaurants in your hotel, the prices can be much more reasobable. We strongly recommend trying the excellent pub food as well.

4. Saving on your Commute

The major cities of Britain are home to some of the best public transit networks in the world, and subsequently, they make owning a car very optional. In London for instance, only 33% of people drive on a daily basis. Utilizing public transit will not only save you money, but it will also save you time, as taking the tube is often faster than driving as city traffic can be agonizingly slow during rush hour. In areas that are not covered by the public transit system, using Uber is often less expensive than hailing a cab.

5. Saving on International Health Insurance in the UK

Traveling to the UK without adequate health care could leave your finances in ruin, especially if you wish to obtain medical care through the private system versus the National Health Service. Unfortunately, the NHS has had some serious problems which include very long waiting lists for treatment. You may also be traveling or want to obtain medical treatment in your home country. Therefore, it makes sense to contact an international healthcare advisor to make sure that you are fully covered. Expat Financial offers many different international health insurance plans for expats moving to the UK for long or extended durations. In addition, we offer group plans for multinational firms with great rates and enhanced coverage. If you have any questions regarding our services or the plans we can provide, please contact us or complete the quote form.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Expat Tokyo – Why you need international health insurance?

Tokyo is the capital city of Japan. It is also known as one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. As being the center of the Greater Tokyo area, Tokyo has many museums, festivals, fresh seafood market, fashion style costumes and cosplay. It is also Japan’s largest international center for tourism. Expatriates moving to Tokyo will find the city foreigner-friendly. The locals are very welcoming, but you should make sure that you adhere to the customs and culture of Japan. More and more expatriates work and live in Tokyo as many foreign companies have branch offices there or are hired by large Japanese based companies. In this article, we will discuss healthcare in Tokyo, the cost of medical care in Tokyo and why you need international health insurance as an expat in Tokyo.

Healthcare in Tokyo

Generally speaking, the standard of healthcare in Japan is very high. The quality of medical treatment in Japan is also competitive. Both public and private hospitals are available in Japan. As the number of expatriates working and living in Japan grows, the Japanese healthcare system has increased efforts to provide quality medical care for them. Many private clinics have English speaking, western-trained medical professionals.

Cost of Medical Care in Tokyo

According to the National Health Care of Japan, all Japanese citizens, permanent residents, and any foreigners residing in Japan are required to be enrolled in National Health Insurance. Another type of insurance, the Employee’s Health Insurance, is designed to provide health insurance for any employment-based program. However, National Health Care does not cover certain medical cases such as normal child delivery fee, abortion, preventive examinations, etc.  Medical costs can be very expensive without insurance coverage.

Why is International Health Insurance Critical For Expats in Tokyo?

Many expatriates are not aware of enrolling in a local plan cannot provide them with medical treatment at more satisfactory private clinics. Furthermore, these local medical plans do not provide medical coverage while expats are traveling out of the country or going back home. In Japan, local medical plans are aimed to cover basic medical needs that may not suitable for most expats. Therefore, you may need to create a tailored international health insurance plan that meets your requirements.

Premiums will vary depending on the coverage of the plan, your age, citizenship and several other factors. It is critical for expats to obtain international health insurance to cover any remaining costs not covered by the local insurance policies.

 

Get Insurance From Expat Financial for Tokyo Expats

An international health insurance plan provides flexible and worldwide service. It will not only let you select the hospital, medical providers and doctors but also provide you with direct payment so that you do not need to worry about any out-of-pocket medical expenses.

Expat Financial offers several different international health insurance plans for expatriates across most parts of the globe. 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.

10 Great reasons to become an expat in the Caribbean

Located on the east coast of Central America, the Caribbean has 17 dependent territories. Though small in total size, the Caribbean has a favourable tropical climate, a mixture of culture with different influences such as French, Spanish, and English, as well as beautiful beaches that make this region a natural choice for expatriates to live, work and retire. The natural beauty of the Caribbean attracts millions of travellers and expats visiting the Caribbean each year. In this article, we will discuss 10 great reasons to move to the Caribbean and become an expat. This includes people to move to the Caribbean for work, long-term travel or retirement.

1. Pleasant Weather 

The climate of the Caribbean is tropical to subtropical, with year-round sunshine and moist wind. The rainy season starts from May to October, while hurricanes occur between June and November. The average temperate is around 28 to 30 Celsius. The hurricane season is from July to October can bring powerful storms to your island, so it is critical that you obtain a property with adequate storm protection. You may want to exit the Caribbean in the Summer months when the humidity and heat can be quite extreme. Many expats will choose to return to their home country to see family members during this time.

2. Natural Beauty 

The Caribbean is well known for its beautiful island life and excellent beaches. You can experience impressive beaches such as Shoal Bay in Anguilla, Palominos Island in Puerto Rico, as well as Eagle Beach, and Nassau. They all have warm waters and white sands. It really is a natural paradise for beach lovers.

3. Diving and Water Sports

The Caribbean islands are full of marine life including turtles, rainbow coloured fish, coral, reefs, and dolphins. Diving is definitely a great activity for tourists and expats. For experienced surfers, long coasts and tides in the Caribbean will provide an unforgettable adventure. There are also many surfing training classes on the islands for new surfers.

4. The Caribbean Cuisine 

The Caribbean cuisine has many influences from Africa, EuropeLatin American and Spain. Local restaurants prefer to use a kind of green herb and olive oil as common ingredients, as well as coconut, potatoes, bean, and tomatoes. Meats and seafood are widely consumed on the islands. In Jamaica, one of the most popular dish is Saltfish, served with ackee fruit, which is the national fruit of Jamaica. Ackee and Saltfish is the national dish of Jamaica, but a favourite for locals and expats alike is Jerk Chicken. Many expats and locals will enjoy an island staple called Conch, a tropical mollusk that is quite common on the islands.

5. Friendly People and Culture 

Residents living on the islands come from different countries and cultures all over the world. As a multicultural community, you will hear different languages such as English, Dutch, Chinese, and Spanish. As a result, it is all the more likely that you will encounter your native language spoken on the islands. The people in general are very friendly and welcoming.

6. Favorable Tax Structures

Unlike many countries in the world, most of the islands in the Caribbean have desirable tax rates for both companies and individuals living there. Known as one of the most chosen tax heavens by many expats in the world, the Caribbean islands provide financial privacy and little or no tax policy. One of the most used nations in the Caribbean is the Cayman Islands. Offshore corporations do not need to submit financial reports to any Cayman government. Besides, for international business companies, the Cayman Islands have no income tax nor corporate tax. The other popular option is Panama. The level of security and privacy of account holders in offshore banking services attracts many expats from all over the world.

7. Accommodation

There are many all-inclusive resorts on the islands, as well as a variety of accommodation types no matter you are looking for luxury hotels or a budget place. To rent an apartment in the Caribbean, for example in Anguilla, a two bedroom and two bathroom apartment located in Crocus Bay Beach costs USD $750 per month, according to Sublet.com. Properties on Ambergris Caye, Belize, can be found around USD $17,500. It is important to talk to an experienced real estate agent on the islands that you are thinking of living in as he or she should be able to find a home or condo that can meet your budget should you wish to buy or rent.

8. Best Islands to Live On

There are more than 7,000 islands in the Caribbean and they belong to at least 28 nations. Many people recommend destinations such as BahamasBVIAnguilla and  Barbados. Many will move to the Cayman Islands or Turks & Caicos, which are considered great islands to live and retire. These islands are also quite safe and well run.

9. Family Friendly Activities 

The Caribbean offers a range of family-friendly activities to expats and tourists from beach activities and boat fun tours. These kinds of arrangements will keep your children busy so that they won’t get bored while you are out enjoying yourselves.

10. Affordable Living & Lifestyle

Generally speaking, the cost of living on the islands is reasonable and affordable. The accommodation on most of the Caribbean nations are relatively inexpensive when compared to western countries. Local produce is also low-cost. Expats planning to retire in the Caribbean would want to consider Panama – as they use US dollars and is very affordable on pension income for retirees.

Don’t Forget to Bring International Health Insurance with You 

Expat Financial has a great deal of experience in sourcing international insurance plans for individual expatriates and even expat employers in the Caribbean. We can also source global medical coverage for select local nationals in the Caribbean that will allow for global medical coverage that includes the United States. Most expats in the Caribbean will want to consider an international health plan that will cover them for treatment in the USA as local hospitals may not have the level of medical care that is necessary for many illnesses. Also, most local plans will only cover you on the island or provide very limited off-island care. The expat healthcare plans are available via our firm from a variety of international insurance companies.

Here is a list of different types of insurance coverage you will want if you are planning to become an expatriate in Panama:

There are a hundred reasons to live, retire and work in the Caribbean. If you require a quote for the Caribbean expat insurance, contact Expat Financial today for a quote.

2017 Travel Destinations: Best of China for Expats & Visitors

Top Travel Destinations for Visitors & Expats in China

With roughly 5000 years of history, China has a vibrant heritage to see and explore. In this article, we have listed for you the top 10 travel destinations of 2017 for expats and short-term visitors to China:

1. The Great Wall of China

The Great Wall of China is the longest wall in the world. It spans across several provinces such as Beijing, Liaoning, Hebei, Tianjin, Shanxi, Shaanxi, Ningxia, Gansu and Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region. This is because the Great Wall was built through different dynasties by different emperors. The Great Wall has been coined as one of the “New Seven Wonders of the World” and is one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in China. Having visited the Great Wall of China in 1982, this is the most impressive structure in China and is a must-see for any expat.

2. The Forbidden City in Beijing

The famous Forbidden City, was a palace from the Ming dynasty to the Qing dynasty, crossing the years 1420 to 1921. It served as the home of kings and their queens, as well as the political and ceremonial center of Chinese government. You will see a wide range of artwork collections in the museum. The palace was built with whole logs of precious wood. If you are in Beijing, you should definitely visit this important site.

3. Taishan Mountain 

Taishan Mountain is one of the most famous mountains of China and is considered to be of exceptional historical and cultural value. For instance, the ancient Taoist tradition started there. Located in Shandong to the west, Taishan Mountain covers an area of 426 square kilometres and it 5,029 ft high above sea level. From ancient dynasties, many famous poems were based on the beautiful scenery of Taishan.

4. West Lake in Hangzhou

There is an old saying in Chinese “Paradise in Heaven; Suzhou and Hangzhou on earth.” Many famous traditional love stories took place in West Lake, Hangzhou. It has also been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site and is a must visit for expatriates in China. It owns many garden-style parks, traditional bridges, and hills.

In recent years, Hangzhou has become a technological and economic center of China. Moreover, as one of the most important tourist cities in China, Hangzhou is attracting more and more visitors and expats from all over the world.

5. Guilin – Li River 

In North Guangxi, Guilin is one of the best-known tourist destinations in China. There are a lot of rivers in Guilin, including the most famous Li River – with its length around 437 kilometres. America’s National Geographic magazine has rated Li river as one of the world’s top 10 aqueous wonders. Visitors and expats can cruise in boats on the Li river. Despite the beautiful sights, there is a small but wonderful town called Yangshuo near Guilin city  with many expats and tourists residing there. It is not surprising to see western cafes and restaurants on West Street in Yangshuo. This is also a great place for hiking and cycling.

6. The Terracotta Army

Also known as The Terracotta Warriors, it is a collection of terracotta sculptures portraying the armies of Qin Shi Huang, the first emperor of China. The army served to protect the king in his afterlife. There are horses and chariots included in the army, as well as musicians and officials. Estimates show that the Terracotta Army is made up of approximately 8,000 soldiers, 520 horses contain in the Terracotta Army. Experts estimate that there could be more buried inside Qin’s tomb. Visitors and expats can go to the exhibition constructed right above the Terracotta Army.

7. Luoyang

Luoyang is one of the oldest imperial capital cities in China and is quite popular with tourists in China. There are many important historical sites in Luoyang: Shaolin Temple, the origin and home to Kung Fu, and the Longmen Grottoes, one of the UNESCO World Heritage Site in China. Other popular travel destinations include White Horse Pagoda, Museum of Ancient Tombs, etc. Luoyang has pleasant weather all year round.

8. Danxia landscape 

The Danxia national park is located in northwestern Gansu Province in China. The landscape has numerous red rocks, most of which are several hundreds of meters high. The best time to visit the Danxia landscape is from June to September. Expats and visitors may want to contact local tour guides to make sure you visit all of the most desirable locations.

9. Zhangjiajie 

Zhangjiajie is well-known for its towering sandstone pillars, very suitable for outdoor activity lovers and adventurous people. Zhangjiajie National Forest Park is a great place for hiking and photography. Within the park, Tianzi Mountain is famous for its mists and clouds, and Gold Whip Stream is the ideal spot for a relaxing walk. The ideal times to visit are from April to June, and September to October.

Bring International Health Insurance With You

As you can see from our list above, there are lots of excellent natural and cultural sites for expats and tourists in China. However, medical care can be very expensive in China. It is highly suggested that you obtain quality expat health insurance before departure or travel medical insurance for short visits. Medical facilities in many areas are very primitive, especially in the countryside. Even in many major cities where satisfactory public healthcare for expats exists, the methods of payment and the quality of medical treatment may be inadequate. For the popular choice of foreign-run hospitals, expats are usually required to make payment in advance before receiving medical treatment. It can be very expensive for emergency treatment and medications in most of the international hospitals.

For long-term stays in China, it is recommended that you obtain a comprehensive expat health insurance plan, which should cover you for medical expenses, hospitalization and treatments, medicines and emergency evacuations – which are all you need to stay in China. Some Chinese embassies require proof of health insurance before issuing visas, especially if you are a foreign student.

Expat Financial offers excellent service before and after you purchase your international health insurance plan. Our dynamic firm is also very experienced in sourcing group plans for multinational firms with expats in China.

 

7 Reasons to become an expat in Vietnam

Vietnam is the eighth most populous Asian country and is located in Southeast Asia, bordering China, Cambodia, and Laos. Tourism in Vietnam is a significant component of its vibrant economy. According to reports, the number of international visitors has increased from 7 million to 10 million in 2016. Moreover, 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 beautiful cultural and historical 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 to try local delicacies.

Lower Cost of Living 

According to Numbeo, the cost of living in Vietnam is about 43% lower than in Canada. A three-course meal for two people at a mid-range restaurant would cost $17.61. A bottle of imported beer costs $1.32. Groceries are generally much less expensive than those in North America. Though prices vary amongst 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 of great value.

Friendly Expat Community in Vietnam 

Many expatriates are working and living in Vietnam. You can either reside in a typical expat neighborhood or choose to 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 expat community and to join a local sports 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, privately owned education institutions, and language centers. 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, residents in Vietnam are friendly to foreign visitors. The Vietnamese culture 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 will include influences from Chinese and Indian and French cuisine. Everyday Vietnamese dishes include fish sauce, lemongrass, fresh herbs, 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 dishes 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.

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 health care system for its citizens. Although the standard of medical care is considered satisfactory 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 strong, and 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 care and medical emergencies.

For expat health insurance in Vietnam, it is crucial that you obtain a plan that will provide reimbursement for medical expenses through an extensive 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.

2017 Travel Destinations: Best of China for Expats & Visitors

Why international health insurance is critical for expats in Beijing

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

Healthcare in Beijing

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

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

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

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

expat healthcare if critical

Why is International Health Insurance Critical For Expats In Beijing? 

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

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

International Group Insurance Plans For Expatriate Employees in Beijing

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

Get Insurance From Expat Financial for Beijing Expats

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

Hong Kong International Health Insurance Options

International health insurance in Hong Kong is an important factor to consider when moving to this city. In this article, we will discuss how international health insurance in Hong Kong is vital for locals, travellers, and expatriates in one of the most prosperous international business areas in AsiaHong Kong is within a few hours by air from major cities such as Beijing, Tokyo, Seoul, and Singapore in Southeast Asia. Hong Kong has an advanced medical care system, education, international cuisine and an active lifestyle that helps attract many expatriates from all over the world each year.

Healthcare in Hong Kong

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

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

expat healthcare if critical

Health Cover for Visiting Hong Kong as a Traveler

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

Global Health Insurance for People Living and Working in Hong Kong 

As a well established international financial center, there are many expatriates working in business or finance related professions in Hong Kong. Some expat employers may provide health plan with basic coverage, but it probably won’t provide much coverage beyond HK or Asia. However, this is often inadequate when applying to private medical facilities. Additional private medical insurance plan is required to cover your stay. Many expats should also obtain global life and disability insurance coverage.

International Health Insurance Solutions in Hong Kong 

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

Expats in Africa – Important tips for living in Africa

Africa Introduction

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

Economy in Africa

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

Current Expat Working Environments in Africa

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

Safety for Expats in Africa

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

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

Health Risks in Africa for Expats

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

International Health Insurance for Expats in Africa

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

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

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

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

What expats should know about UK’s National Health Service (NHS)

The National Health Service (NHS) is a free publicly funded national healthcare system. Recognized as one of the world’s leading health systems, it is the primary healthcare provider in England, and often includes in-patient care, primary care, emergency medical care, long-term healthcare and dentistry. The NHS is for the most part funded from general taxation with a small amount contributed by National insurance payments.

The NHS has three core principles:

  • That the system meet the needs of everyone
  • That coverage be free at the point of delivery
  • That it be based on clinical need, not ability to pay

Most expats in the UK can access free emergency medical treatment at NHS hospitals. However, some expatriates will be responsible for payments of in-patient medical treatment and dental, depending on where they are from.

Expats Using the NHS while living in the UK

Expats living in the UK must register for an NHS Number to make a medical appointment. Due to the long queues, in most cases, the appointment will be in about a week or much more. Expats looking to use the NHS should be prepared for long waits.

Private Healthcare in UK

Private healthcare in UK can provide you the best medical specialists, without the long waiting times. However, they can be expensive, and don’t cover chronic conditions, pre-existing medical conditions or cover you outside the UK. Expats living and working in UK will want to obtain an international health insurance plan if living the UK. International health insurance offers global coverage when expats travel back to their home country or overseas. Most plans will cover international medical emergency evacuation and repatriation, preventive healthcare expenses, hospitalization and medicines.

Expats from Outside Europe Returning to the UK

It has been reported that Expats from outside Europe who return to the UK and want to access NHS hospitals may be billed for 150 percent of the cost of treatment if they don’t have sufficient medical coverage. Most treatments remain gratis for those with a European Health Insurance Card (Ehic) along with United Kingdom pensioners residing in the European Economic Area (EEA). Note that Brexit may impact these rules and systems. There are exemptions available to some people, but these rules reflect the current efforts by the UK government to reduce expenses related to the very expensive NHS and cover for expats. More info is noted in the nhs.uk website for UK expats living in many non-EEA nations who may get free hospital treatment in those countries because of a reciprocal arrangement with the British government.

Obtain International Health Insurance with Expat Financial 

Expat Financial offers several different international health insurance plans for expatriates planning on living in the UK who want global coverage. We also offer group plans for multinational firms that have excellent coverage & wellness programs for your employees along with great rates and enhanced coverage. If you have questions about our services or the plans we can source, please contact us or complete the quote form.