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.

 

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.

5 Tips for first time expatriates living abroad

For many first-time expatriates relocating abroad or doing an expat assignment, the first few months of living abroad could be either exciting or overwhelming. To help expatriates adjust to living in another culture, in this article, we will discuss 5 tips for your first months abroad so that you will overcome the negative feeling of culture shock and make your first move successful.

  • Go Out and Meet the Local People 

The most common feeling that expats will face in their first month is isolation. It is strongly encouraged that expats go out and engage locals and other expatriates alike. 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.

  • Eat Local Food

When you are in a new country, it is vital to maintain healthy eating habits, especially during your first few months. Try to eat local food that you’ve never had before will provide you with active thinking patterns, and building a new healthy patterns will give you the feeling of exploration. It is recommended that you try to give your body a few days to adjust to the new place, then you’re good to explore. From Cairo to Bangkok, there are lots of great food choices for expatriates.

  • Keep Your Own Pace When You Move Abroad

Lack of language skills, making mistakes when taking local public transit and getting lost are all common experiences for first time expats in your new country, so try not to feel embarrassed at the beginning. Things will gradually gets better , so we encourage expatriates to embrace all the imperfections during their first few months. It is a way to throw yourself out of your comfort zone and learn.

  • Try Something New

It is also suggested for expatriates to do something new in their destination country such as mountain hiking, dancing, dragon boating, etc. You will not only develop a new hobby, but you might meet amazing new friends. For expats will busy working schedules and don’t have time to attend these exercise classes, it is also encouraged to join gym during weekends.

  • Don’t Rush

Give yourself some time to settle in and don’t blame yourself on feeling lonely and missing home. It takes time to integrate in your new country. Accept your colleagues and neighbors’ invitation will help you ease the transition process. Many expat employers will have programs in place to help you and your expat spouse an children ease into your new life abroad.

Don’t Forget International Health Insurance 

Moving abroad for the first time is both exciting and sometime unnerving. Don’t let unexpected medical costs abroad worry you of your family when you make the big jump. It is important to choose a quality insurer when you live abroad for your global medical needs. Expat Financial offers many different international health insurance plans for expatriates across the world from large and respected insurers. We also offer excellent service before and after you purchase your international health insurance plan. Our firm is also very experienced in sourcing group plans for multinational firms with 2 or more expats.  If you have questions about our international medical insurance plans or you want to discuss your unique needs and produce a customized expat quote, please contact us or complete the quote form

5 Things you should know about being an American expatriate

When making the decision to move abroad and become an expatriate, about 83% of the US Americans are generally satisfied with life abroad, according to a recent survey by InterNations. Among the US expat respondents, over two-fifths want to stay in their destination country forever. As more and more Americans tend to live around the world, we are going to discuss some tips and facts to help future and current long-staying US expatriates to better prepare for the steps into the unknown.

  • Make Sure You Know US Expat Taxes

One of the most important things that US expatriates should know about is US Expat Taxes. The US is few of the countries which requires tax filing to its residents after they have moved abroad, even if you are paying tax in your destination country. In order to prevent penalties and earn tax credit, US American expatriates must file US tax obligation on time. Special regulations may apply when using foreign taxes paid as a credit against US tax obligations. It is important for future and current US expats to understand US tax programs and talk to a expat tax professional.

  • Take Advantage of Social Security Agreement Between US and Your Destination Country

According to US International Social Security Agreements, The US has established many bilateral social security agreements that allow American expats to only pay social security taxes to one of the two governments. Some of the eligible countries are: Italy, Germany, Canada, United Kingdom, Spain, France, Chile, Japan, etc.  This regulation can help eliminate dual social security taxation. When working expatriates retire, the contribution to the social security system of other country may count as well.

However, the exact regulations may have certain exclusions and rules such as self-employment rules, territoriality rules, etc. US American expatriates should examine your destination country’s agreement descriptions to make sure that you are covered while you live abroad. Again, talk to your tax and legal adviser.

  • Apply for New Driver’s License In Your Destination Country Maybe Required

If you are thinking about driving in your destination country, please be aware that road conditions and driving regulations can be different from those in the United States. Insurance and a valid driver’s license are required in most countries. Many countries may not accept a US driver’s license, so you may want to apply for  an International Driving Permit (IDP) or local driver’s license.

 

  • Understand International Health Insurance 

One of the most important considerations for American expats is obtaining global medical coverage, especially where local plans may be non-existent or adequate medical care may not be available. Your domestic health plan in the USA probably won’t cover you abroad so you need to search out an international plan assuming you will become a non-US resident. Therefore, it is critical for US expatriates to purchase an international health insurance plan. A good plan should provide a large direct pay medical network so you and your family wont have to pay out of pocket fee in multiple currencies. In addition, many international health insurance plan providers offer international medical networks with English speaking doctors and medical staff for those who don’t speak the local language.

If you are an US expatriate who is living abroad and travel often back to the United States, it is also important to get the USA coverage option in your international health insurance plan. 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. It is important to contact your international health insurance needs with an expat insurance expert such as Expat Financial and weigh the costs and benefits of having an international health insurance plan that provides full coverage in the United States of America. 

  • You May Have to Report You Foreign Bank Accounts When Living Abroad

Foreign Bank Account Report (FBAR) is a report of foreign bank accounts that based solely on your overseas account balances. This may be the case if you have a balance that exceeded $10,000 or more in your foreign bank accounts at any point during the year.

Expat Financial offers independent advice, solutions and excellent service and support to clients around the world and we have extensive experience in sourcing medical cover for individual  American expats and expat employers worldwide. We offer a variety of excellent global medical plans that can meet almost any need and budget. For more information and to review the plans that we offer, contact our office or visit our international health insurance page. If your organization has a group of two or more expatriate employees, our firm can source international group insurance plans. Note that the above tips are for informational purposes only as we are not tax advisors. We strongly recommend that you talk to a qualified tax accountant or lawyer to discuss your situation and requirements as these can differ from individual to individual. 

 

5 Tips for expats to stay healthy and fit while working and living abroad

For many expatriates, working and living abroad opens the doors to new adventures and challenges. However, it is very important to stay healthy and fit while experiencing your new expat assignment. There are many potential health risks that you will definitely want to avoid, especially in some third world countries. In this article, we will discuss five tips on how to stay healthy while living in a new country.

1. Eat Healthy and Drink Clean Water 

Clean water is critical for staying healthy, whether it is used for food production, drinking or domestic purposes. According to a recent report retrieved from World Health Organization (WHO), contaminated drinking-water is estimated to cause hundreds of thousands of deaths each year. Expatriates living and working abroad should be aware of the potential health risks of contaminated water and should take steps to secure clean water at work and at home. This is especially the case in water-stressed areas where drinking-water without improved sanitation. Contaminated water is a major transmission source of many diseases such as diarrhea, typhoid, dysentery, cholera, etc. It is strongly recommended expatriates to boil water before drinking if you are not 100% sure that the water is safe. In the end, maintaining hydration is critical both home and abroad, especially in hot climates.

According to World Health Organization (WHO), developing a healthy diet helps protect against leading noncommunicable diseases such as diabetes, obesity, heart disease and cancer. 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 you should be careful eating raw vegetables in some developed countries. It is suggested to avoid unhealthy weight gain through consuming excess calories, sugar and salt.

2. Build an Exercise Routine

Physical activity has significant benefits for your health while living abroad as an expatriate. It has been reported by the WHO that physical inactivity has been identified as the fourth leading risk factor for mortality causing 3.2 million deaths globally. Expatriates should exercise regularly through cycling, walking or sports while living and working abroad. Some expatriates may find it hard to rebuild an exercising routine in their destination country due to security risks or extreme climates. One suggestion is to purchase an exercise machine at home or join a gym. A healthy exercise routine will help expatriates to stay active and energetic.

3. Obtain International Health Insurance 

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. Without appropriate international health insurance plan, expatriates could end up with receiving large medical bills and putting your financial status at risk. 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). It allows you to seek medical care internationally and is critical for expatriates residing in less developed countries where medical care facilities are below standard. Expatriates living and working abroad will benefit from an international insurance plan with day-patient care and full hospital coverage, extensive cancer coverage, dental and vision care, international medical evacuation and repatriation.

4. Be Aware of the Potential Health Risks 

Expatriates living and working abroad may travel frequently. There are many potential health risks such as tropical diseases, respiratory illness, open wounds, etc. These diseases may not make people feel too bad at first, however, they can get deteriorate very fast and become life threatening. If you feel sick in your destination country, seek medical help as soon as possible. Don’t postpone treatment. To stay healthy, it is often important to update routine vaccinations and avoid any potential health risks. Expatriates should always consult a medical professional about vaccination requirements before traveling.

5. Stay Socially Active and Maintain your Mental Health

Expatriates may find not as easy to socialize as they did back in their home country. However, researches have shown that staying socially active can help people maintain good emotional and physical health – especially when you are living abroad and living in a new country and experiencing culture shock. It is important for expatriates to join a group of trusted friends they can socialize with and plan some activities together in their destination country – most cities have active expat social scenes and clubs. These kinds of social interaction offer many benefits to expatriates. For example, global relocation and stresses may have negative impact and cause mental health challenges such as depression. Being socially active will minimize the stress level, monitor signs of depression and prevent other mental health issues.

Also, don’t forget to help your expat spouse and children as their new life abroad can be exciting, but also stressful and isolating. If your spouse is unable to obtain a work permit, maybe he or she can work remotely or volunteer. For expat kids who are experiencing difficulties living abroad, making friends and getting used to the new school – maybe consult a psychologist if required. Many expat health plans will cover mental health and counselling.

Expat Financial offers independent advice, solutions and excellent service and support to clients around the world and we have extensive experience in sourcing medical cover for individual expats and expat employers worldwide. For expats who may have questions about international medical insurance plans we offer to individual expats or  expatriate group insurance plans, please contact us. We look forward to hearing from you soon.

6 Tips on How to Become an Expat

An expatriate, or expat, is a person who lives outside of their native country, according to the definition of  Oxford dictionary. Today, more and more people are willing to leave their home country and experience a brand new job or lifestyle abroad. To better prepare you for life overseas, we will discuss six simple tips on how to become an expatriate.

  • Find a job abroad

If you are interested in living abroad, the first step you would want to take is to find a job in your desired destination country. According to research, one of the reasons why people want to become expat is that expatriate employers often offer relatively higher salaries. Therefore, expat employees are more likely to experience a higher standard of living while working abroad.

In order to succeed in an international job, Expat resource centre offer excellent information on job hunting. Practical suggestions such as prepare CV and research the job market before you move, ensure that you have work permits or visa at hand, etc. to help future expats realize their dreams. To learn more, please view Expat employment – Job hunting tips.

  • Study abroad

Another option to become an expat is through studying abroad. And it is very popular among teens. According to NAFSA study, the number of American students studying abroad  during 2015 grew from 304,467 to 313,415. Studying overseas can be a great way to get a global perspective and the chance to learn a new language. The cost of studying abroad can be expensive, but in some less developed countries the tuition costs can sometimes be lower. However, more and more universities and colleges offer scholarships and bursaries. It is worth the time to research online for tuition funds to support foreign students.

  • Understand your destination’s culture

When moving overseas, one of the most unexpected events would be culture shock. And sometimes it can be quite frustrating depending on where you are moving to. For example, tipping in restaurants is common and considered normal in the U.S. and Canada. You are expected to add a 15% – 20% mark up to the bill in any restaurant; while in China or Japan, tipping in local restaurants is not required and can be considered insulting. There might be exceptions for some high-end western style cafes. However, even in these cafes, tipping is already included in the bill. It is suggested that future expats should do some research about your destination’s culture to avoid any embarrassment. The more research you can do on the customs and practices in your destination country the more successful your expat experience will become.

  • Travel abroad

It is always suggested if you travel to your destination country before relocating for a short trip. Through traveling, you will get to know its culture, food, people, etc. You will have a general idea whether the country that you are moving to will be suitable or not.

If you are traveling abroad for a short term trip up to one year, it is critical to obtain medical coverage for your entire trip that will cover emergency illnesses or injuries abroad. Our firm offers several travel medical plans from various insurers and providers. With IMG Patriot travel insurance coverage, you are covered with trip cancellation, lost baggage, emergency evacuation & repatriation, covering from as short as 15 days to 24 months. To learn more, please view the brochure below. 

  • Retiring Abroad

Retiring overseas is becoming more and more popular for citizens around the world and is a great way to become an expat. Generally speaking, South America, Asia and Europe are among the most popular expat retirement destinations. This is not only because of its favourable weather and beaches, but also its relatively low cost of living. For example, if retiring in Thailand, the cost of living is much lower than in the western countries. It’s possible to buy a one-bedroom home in Chiang Mai for around $50,000, according to several sources. Expats can pay around $500 per month to rent a home in Chiang Mai. According to International Living Magazine, Thailand is a very inexpensive country for expatriates. You will want to obtain tax and legal advice before retiring abroad as this can greatly impact your finances. 

  • Bring International Health Insurance with You

If you want to become an expatriate, it is critical for you to obtain an international health insurance plan that will not only cover medical treatment in your destination country, but also globally. Medical expenses while living abroad can be extremely expensive and local medical care in your new country may not be up to Western standards, especially if you are moving to a developing country. In some Asian countries such as China and Singapore, the cost of medical assistance can be surprisingly expensive for expats living there.

If you are an American citizen, you will want to include cover for the United States as most Americans will want to obtain treatment back home. Expats should make sure that their plan includes medical evacuation and repatriation coveragePlease contact us today for a quote and to discuss your expatriate insurance requirements. We would be delighted to be of assistance as we are expat insurance specialists. 

The impact of noncommunicable chronic diseases for expats

How the Global Impact of Chronic Conditions is Impacting Expatriates

Recently, Cigna has released a study on the global epidemic of noncommunicable chronic diseases and held a seminar for their brokers and clients. The study examined the situation of noncommunicable chronic diseases around the world and provided excellent suggestions for prevention. According to World Health Organization (WHO), a noncommunicable chronic disease is characterized by long duration and generally slow progression – these conditions are becoming more commonplace for local nationals and even expats. The wide spread of chronic diseases are putting expatriates’ health at risk. In this article, we will discuss the main types of chronic diseases based on Cigna’s research and advice for expatriate communities from expatriate health insurance professional perspective.

The Global Epidemic of Chronic Disease is Increasing 

As stated by Cigna’s study, noncommunicable diseases account for six in ten deaths worldwide. Major noncommunicable chronic diseases usually refer to diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and cancer. According to Cigna’s report, approximately 19% of the American have diabetes, the figure rises up to 30% in Middle East; Just over 30% of Chinese have some form of diabetes. This is the leading cause of kidney failure, blindness, heart diseases, stroke and death.

The rates of obesity in adults and children are increasing globally. And in some parts of the world, the situation is getting worse. Obesity is another cause of cardiovascular diseases due to the force of the heart to push around a greater volume of blood, which easily causes high blood pressure. Scientists predict by 2025, one in five of the population will suffer from obesity; 36.5% of adults are considered obese, according to Cigna’s report.

How to Prevent from Noncommunicable Chronic Diseases as an Expat? 

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), most chronic diseases are caused by three major risk factors: an unhealthy diet, lack of exercise and tobacco. Many expats working abroad often do not have the time to eat healthy foods or exercise and may be surrounded by fast food restaurants, vending machines and food trucks. However, building a healthy diet is crucial for your health when living and working abroad. When shopping at grocery stores, make sure to cut the high-sugar and high-carbohydrate food from your shopping list. Replace them with vegetables, fruits, fish, eggs and other healthy choices based on your eating schedule.

Regular exercise is good for your body, both physically and mentally. However, expats may find hard to rebuild an exercise routing when working and living abroad. Many expat may live in cities with few exercise options or in very extreme climates or in areas with bad security. Often the easiest way to start exercising is practicing yoga at home or purchase an exercise machine. Expats should develop a personal exercise routine and live an active lifestyle.

International Health Insurance is Critical for Expats Worldwide 

Most expat employers may not aware of the cost of the treatment of chronic diseases for expatriate employees overseas can be very high. It usually requires a specific plan to cover ongoing health needs. If an expat develops an illness later on it may be recognized as a pre-existing condition when trying to obtain health coverage. A global benefit plan can offer full coverage for pre-existing medical conditions to avoid claims being denied or coverage being restricted for expat employees. 

Expat Financial is able to offer flexible international expat group insurance plans  in most regions around the globe:  Africa, Europe, Asia, Middle East, North America, South America, Caribbean, Oceania, Central America, and all major cities in the world. Expat Financial can also offer international health insurance plans for individual expatriates that may be able to cover some existing chronic conditions depending on their severity and subject to underwriter approval. International health insurance plan provides day-patient care and full hospital coverage, extensive cancer coverage, maternity and baby care (conditions may apply), dental & vision care and international medical evacuation and repatriation. This is especially important for expats going to visit rural area in some less developed countries.

If you have questions about international medical insurance plans we offer to individual expats or your company requires a global expatriate group insurance plan, please contact us or complete the quote form. We look forward to hearing from you soon. 

The benefits of taking an expat mining job in Africa

Expat Mining Assignments in Africa – A Great Opportunity

In the past 10 or 20 years, there has been a mining boom in Africa as more and more global mining firms have been searching for minerals and setting up producing mines, most in very remote regions of the continent. As companies have increased exploration, especially in Central Africa, they have had to recruit expatriate talent from around the world to fill vital management and executive functions at mine exploration and development sites.

According to several reports, in 2015, almost 65% of  international mining companies claimed to increase investment on explosives as the market environment continue to improve. This means a shortage in local mining job market, especially for expat mining professionals.

With the recent improvements in metal prices, especially for gold, we are confident that the mining industry will continue to grow in Africa. There will be benefits for both local nationals and expatriates. In this article, we will discuss the benefits of expat mining jobs in Africa.

Excellent Career Opportunities for Expats in Africa Mining Industry

According to 2016 Ernst & Young Africa Attractiveness Survey, the long term outlook for economic growth & investment in Africa remains positive. Many major and minor mining firms are actively looking experienced and talented people from around the world. Positions such as mine engineering, electrical technicians, structural engineering, geologists are required for various mine operations. Other skilled expat positions in mining are available. Working overseas, especially in remote mine sites, can be quite challenging, but can also boost your mining industry career.

Explore Africa’s Culture

There are 54 countries in Africa today. Each country has a diverse culture, unique art and music representing regions. For example, Ghana, the second biggest producer of gold in Africa, has over 100 ethnic groups residents inside the country. In history, Ghana is the place of the great Ashanti empire during the late 17th century. Kumasi, served as capital of the empire, is one of the most advanced cities in Africa. The Ghanaian people are friendly to expat community. For expatriates working in Africa, Ghana has much to offer. There are also many other countries in Africa that can offer expatriates excellent cultural activities, resorts and tourist spots to explore.

Attractive Expatriate Salaries Available in Africa

Expatriates looking for mining jobs in Africa will find that the remuneration package is usually quite competitive. Many major mining firms will offer excellent accommodations with laundry services, expatriate community facilities such as basketball courts, fitness centre, satellite TV, etc. Mining companies are often willing to provide lucrative expatriate salary to attract and retain mining professionals. This can include schooling for your children posted abroad with families. Expatriates who are proficient in English and a second language are often highly preferred employees. If you have experience in working in Africa, this can be a great asset.

Working in Africa Can be an Adventure 

Africa is a land full of adventures and wonders: safaris, camping, diving, etc. Working in Africa is a way to get a completely different adventurous experience. You are working with local people during day time and spend weekend with them together. You will not only experience adventure travel and outdoor exploration, but also a chance to learn local language and lead an intercultural lifestyle. It is worth noting that some parts of Africa can be unsafe, so you should make sure that you and your employer will be taking steps to insure your safety.

Don’t Forget International Insurance Coverage for Expat Mining Assignments in Africa

Future expatriates need to keep in mind that working & living in Africa will have challenges. For example, the water supply and electricity in some countries is unreliable and there are often danger roads and more exotic illnesses in the region. South Africa, one of the richest country in Africa, has very good medical facilities and many expats working in the region will travel or be evacuated there to receive treatment. However, in some other poor African countries, the healthcare facilities is often far below standard. It is vital that expatriate mining professionals obtain excellent expat insurance coverage from their employer or on their own.

Many mining companies will offer health insurance plans for expat mining staff that they employ. It is crucial for expat employers and employees to obtain international health insurance with global life and accident coverage, dental and long term disability coverage. Some mining executives working in Africa will have to source their own coverage, especially if they are working as consultants – luckily our firm has a wide range of individual plans available. Evacuation coverage is obviously critical for mining employees residing in most Africa countries as more serious illnesses and injuries will often require medical care in another country or even in another continent, such as Europe. Another concern is civil strife, war and terrorism – which can be quite common in certain African nations. Thus, it is critical that your corporate policy for your expats in Africa have full war and terrorism coverage.

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.  We have extensive experience in sourcing global mining insurance coverage. For more information, please view our Global Mining Brochure. A quality expat benefit plan is critical if your resource company wants to protect & cover its employees, cover its risks and help retain and and attract the top mining employee talent to operations in Africa. 

7 Tips for managing expat finances

For expats, those retiring offshore or even those going abroad for over a year, managing expat finances is critical. For most, moving abroad and working overseas can be one of the most exciting things of your life. However, expats will want to plan ahead to preserve and grow expat finances and investments. It is very important for individuals and families to plan ahead and maximize their expat finances. In this article, we will discuss 7 great tips for managing and protecting expat finances and investment while living and working abroad.

1. Know Your Expat Tax Status 

A common misunderstanding about expat tax is when expats move abroad, they are instantly exempt from their hometown tax system. This is usually not the case. For example, a British expat living abroad who is no longer a UK resident (spend fewer than 16 days in the UK), he or she may still be responsible for tax of the profits of a UK business or property situated in the UK, and UK pension income. Other countries such as Argentina, joint filling income tax is not available. For American expats, the complexity of expat tax can be quite daunting. Expat tax issues can be very complicated and it often makes sense to work with a professional firm. It is important to do research and visit your local tax office before moving overseas to make sure that you know the rules. We often recommend that expatriates talk to an expat tax expert such as Trowbridge.

2. The Cost of Living for Expats

Before accepting a job offer overseas, you should definitely do some detailed research on the cost of living in your destination country. This may include any additional costs you may face: school fees, transportation fees (driving a car and parking fees), rent an apartment or buy a house, leisure and entertainment, etc. The cost of living for expatriates can vary significantly from one place to another and will often be more expensive than what the locals pay. For example, according to Numbeo, in Mexico, rent a 3 bedroom apartment in city centre costs over $500 USD; Whereas in Singapore, a 3 bedroom apartment rent per month could almost $4,000 USD. Knowing the cost of living in your destination country will give you peace of mind and let you plan ahead.

3. Currency Management is Critical for Expats

It is common for expats to exchange currencies from their hometown bank accounts into destination country’s currency. However, banks may charge high flat rates and currency exchange rates which expats will want to avoid. This is especially important for expat families with international payments across countries. Some international banks offer fixed exchange rate for a period of time. Expats should definitely explore different methods of managing currencies as this can save quite a bit of money and time. You can obtain more information on currencies and currency issues on our Foreign Exchange page and you should talk to an exchange expert.

4. Organize your Expat Investment Portfolio

You should organize and take stock of all your current investments before your become an expatriate. You should try to make sure you will be able to manage your various stock, bank and investment properties from abroad or if you will have to sell some of those investments before you go offshore, especially for tax reasons. Many expatriates often sell their homes before living abroad, but when they return they find that they should have retained and rented the home as house values have increased dramatically – this is especially trued for many Canadian and Australian expatriates.

Your risk profile may change because you will be living abroad. Will you have the time and ability to manage your investment portfolio and will your new expat location impact your investment decisions. If you have a private or company pension plan, you should examine how living abroad will impact your retirement savings and taxes. It makes sense to talk to an investment expert before you live abroad.

5. Have You Cancelled Payments in your Hometown?

This is obvious. However, many expats may forget to cancel their orders in hometown and receive penalty charges. Remember to cancel any subscriptions such as phone, internet, magazines, etc before you move abroad.

6. Do you have Adequate Life & Disability Insurance? 

One of the most overlooked parts of protecting you and your family’s financial future is making sure that you have adequate life and disability coverage. While your employer may provide some coverage, more often than not it will be inadequate to fully protect you and your family members from the financial hardships associated with a death or disability. Many expats employers only provide medical coverage and expats are expected to obtain their own life insurance or disability income cover. However, when you are living abroad you may not qualify for local coverage and such life cover may not be desirable or even available in your new home country. Also, expats needs something both global and portable. Note that most expat life and disability plans are not portable back to your country of citizenship and if you have existing coverage, its probably a great idea to see if you can retain the policies as expat plans are usually more expensive.

To learn more about your expat life and disability requirements & the policies available, contact our firm for more information.

6. The Importance of Obtaining International Health Insurance

To many expats living and working abroad, the local healthcare system is usually not the best choice. The cost of using private medical care is usually very high in many parts of the world or you may be living in a country where medical care is inadequate and you may need to see medical care regionally or globally – sometime you may have to be evacuated. Either way, a large medical bill can wipe out your investments and put your financial future in peril.

With an appropriate international medical plan in place, many individual expats and their families are covered worldwide (except in the USA unless you add it as optional benefit). International health insurance plan provides day-patient care and full hospital coverage, extensive cancer coverage, maternity and baby care (conditions may apply), dental & vision care and international medical evacuation and repatriation. This is especially important for expats going to visit rural area in some less developed countries.

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 worldwide. We can source plans from large and secure global insurance companies with excellent global service and support. 

If you have questions about international medical insurance plans we offer to individual expats or your company requires a global expatriate group insurance plan, please contact us or complete the quote form. We look forward to hearing from you soon. 

How to obtain health insurance when teaching abroad

Teaching overseas is an exiting and rewarding journey for expat teachers around the world. There are many opportunities to teach English and other subjects in both public and private schools abroad. Many younger teachers will gain valuable work experience that will help their career when they come back to their home country. More experienced teachers may choose to work abroad to experience life abroad, especially in a more exotic country.

If you are teaching overseas for a year or more, it is important to consider adequate health insurance to cover both you and any dependents that may come with you. In this article, we will discuss health insurance options for expatriate teachers and introduce the differences between domestic health insurance and international medical coverage.

Why Should I get health insurance while teaching abroad?

Before teaching overseas, it is strongly recommended to do some research about your current health insurance plan and the healthcare situation in particular country where you are moving. Most local health insurance coverage in your destination country is designed to cover you locally it will not allow you to seek medical care overseas. Depending on which country you are going, in some less developed countries, the local medical facilities may not be up to the standard that you are used to. Therefore, obtaining appropriate medical coverage is very important.

 

Group or Personal Plans for Teachers

Many teachers will be offered to join a group plan offered by the school if one exists or is available. Expat Financial can source excellent group medical plans for schools and universities that provide both local and global medical coverage for the teaching and administration staff. Most teachers will naturally join the group plan that is offered. If your school is not offering a plan that you can join, then teachers should obtain an individual health plan to cover their emergency and out-patient medical needs.

Domestic Health Insurance V.S. International Medical Coverage

In most countries, the healthcare system is divided into two options: public medical care and private healthcare. If you are employed by an institution or an organization overseas, you are probably covered by adequate local healthcare system provided by your employer. However, to many expats living and working abroad, the local healthcare system is not the best choice. In Hong Kong, for example, health insurance is considered as part of expats’ benefit package. This is often referred to the public clinics and hospitals. Though the overall standard of public healthcare system is high in Hong Kong, the system is more focused on emergency care, not preventive healthcare. Also, the public medical system does not provide dental care. The private healthcare system is often chosen by many wealthy Hong Kong nationals and expatriates. This is not only because of its excellence in service and medical treatment, but also the flexibility of surgery bookings to many busy expatriates.

The cost of using private medical care is usually very high. Expat teachers living and working overseas who choose to opt for the private healthcare option should obtain international health insurance to cover emergency and/or out-patient medical costs. With an appropriate international medical plan, individual expats and their families are covered worldwide (except in the USA unless you add it as optional benefit). International health insurance plan provides day-patient care and full hospital coverage, extensive cancer coverage, maternity and baby care (conditions may apply), dental & vision care and international medical evacuation and repatriation. This is especially important for expats going to visit rural area in some less developed countries.

How do teachers lower your global medical premiums?

If expatriate teachers want to lower their health premiums, one can include a larger deductible or obtain a plan that will only cover in-patient expenses that are incurred in a hospital. Most global medical plans will offer three levels of coverage, such as Silver, Gold and Platinum with each plan offering a higher level of coverage and policy maximum. Some medical plans will include maternity care after a 12 month waiting period. 

expat healthcare if critical

How to Obtain International Teacher Health Insurance?

Expat Financial can source global medical insurance plans for expatriate teachers that can provide excellent coverage and premiums. We have been offering teachers international health insurance coverage on an individual basis for many years. For more information, please check out our International Teacher Health Insurance page. 

If you are an international education institution and employing expatriates teachers, we can provide group medical plan quote for your teachers. Please click here for International School Insurance Solutions brochure. Contact us for plan details.