A financial checklist is important for expats moving abroad

Make a Financial Checklist if You Are Moving Abroad!

Financial planning is often considered confusing, frustrating and time-consuming, especially for expatriates who are busy enough living and working abroad. However, don’t let it frighten you off. Financial planning aims to help take control of your life and budget, and achieve your financial goals. This is very important for expats living and working overseas. In order to have a clear picture of what you want, it is recommended that you create a simple financial checklist before moving abroad.

Do you want to own a home or rent an apartment?

Expatriates working overseas will have the chance to own a larger amount of disposable income. A clear financial goal is important if you want to make the most of your money. For expatriates aiming to purchase home overseas, it is suggested to look for neighbourhoods with appropriate community services and excellent schools. This will be attractive for future resale value. If you decided to rent an apartment, make sure to check the entire room before signing the lease contract. Rental agreements will vary, you are responsible to read carefully before signing.

Do you have emergency savings?

Any unexpected events or risks could hurt your financial health. Financial professionals suggest holding at least 3-6 months of income as emergency savings. This is especially important for expatriates living overseas in the event of any financial emergencies. It is recommended to establish a monthly budget to cover day-to-day expenses, protecting cash account being invested or overspending.

Do you have a retirement plan?

If you have a retirement plan at hand, you will be clear when making major decisions such as what lifestyle you can afford, how much to save and where you will retire. The earlier you get the retirement plan ready, the more comfortable retirement. A lot of factors will help to design your retirement plan: investment returns, cash flow, country-specific benefits, etc. You should talk to an expat investment expert who may be able to guide you in the right investment plans and investments. Generally, the closer you are to retirement the less risk you may want to take. Expats may want to think about if your investment accounts are consolidated and organized?

There are also many retirement hot spots for expat retirees such as Costa Rica, Mexico, Thailand, etc. There are many reasons why expats choose to retire overseas: lower cost of living compared to western countries, beautiful beaches, cuisine, climate, etc. Check out our Expat Retiree page to read more about international health coverage needs for your current or upcoming retirement plan.

Have you undertaken adequate tax planning and preparations before moving abroad?

Tax issues can be complicated, especially for international citizens. Moving abroad can involve significant tax implications – some positive and some negative. For example, some Canadians become non-residents for tax purposes when they move abroad along with significant tax savings depending on the country they will be residing in. For American expats, it can be quite complex as well. It is recommended to visit your local tax office and consult expat tax experts before moving overseas. We often recommend that expatriates talk to an expat tax expert such as Citizen Abroad Tax Advisors. We also list several other firms on our links page.

Have you made financial arrangements in your new home country?

If possible, it is wise to arrange for a new bank account in your new country of residence and bring adequate ID and financial letters from your home bank. You may also need to transfer money into a new currency – we recommend our foreign exchange associates at OFX and use them ourselves. You should also check into money restrictions and regulations in your existing and new country of residence.

Do you have international health insurance to protect you and your family while living abroad?

Yes, as you can guess global healthcare is near and dear to our heats! We work with many expats who reside where the local healthcare system is usually not the best choice. That local health coverage may not even be available, especially if you are residing in the developing world. You may not even be eligible for local healthcare or it simply may be substandard. The cost of using private medical care is usually very high in many parts of the world, especially in parts of Asia and of course the USA.  It is common that you may be living in a country where medical care is inadequate, and you may need to see medical care regionally or globally. The expense of emergency medical evacuation is also quite expensive. For example, we know of a friend of ours who was charged 75,000 USD for a short evacuation flight from one island to another. A large medical bill can destroy your financial goals and hurt your financial future. If your employer is providing health coverage, make sure it is adequate coverage for both you and your family. Note that some companies do not extend coverage to dependent spouses and children.

With an appropriate international medical plan in place, many individual expats and their families are covered around the globe (except in the USA unless you add it as an optional benefit). International health insurance plan provides day-patient care and full hospital coverage, preventive medical care, 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 the more rural areas in some less developed countries.

How to obtain international health insurance 

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

Five Tips for Learning a New Language If Living Abroad

5 Tips for Learning a New Language If Moving or Already Living Abroad

Moving to a brand-new country is never easy. Learning a new language can take years. And moving to a brand-new country while attempting to learn a new language can be downright daunting.

For an expat in a non-English speaking country, the question simply becomes: how can I learn the local language fast? While there is no magic pill to learn a new language overnight, there are ways to pick up a language quickly. While this task of learning a foreign language may seem huge, there are ways to make your life a bit smoother – here are five tips to learning a new language, while living abroad:

  1. Understand that learning a new language is difficult! There are multiple ways of learning a new language and not every way will work for you. No one is expecting you to learn a brand-new language perfectly and to be fluent speaker right away, especially if you are learning a language with many complexities like Russian, Mandarin, Arabic, Korean, or Hungarian. The faster you can come to terms with this notion, the faster you can get over any anxiety and embarrassment that may come with learning a new foreign language. Relax, figure out what method works for you, practice, and enjoy the process.
  2. Immerse yourself in the language. Pay attention to the street signs, the advertisements on the sides busses and on billboards, read food labels when grocery shopping; all of this helps (especially when learning a new language alphabet). Celebrate your wins when you recognize what the words or phrases mean. Try ordering your daily cup of coffee at your neighborhood cafe in the local language. Find out the keywords or phrases to get by and say pleasantries like please, thank you, may I, sorry, etc. and use them on a daily basis. They will become automatic and make you more confident.
  3. Self-study. If you like to learn on your own there are many books out there on learning new languages. You can check out local books stores in your new country, many of which will have books on learning English or baby books. Don’t discredit these books, reversing how you view the language may be quite helpful. And there are thousands of YouTube videos, podcasts, and apps to help you self-learn – most of them free. Listen or watch videos on your daily commute or for a few hours a day when possible. Making use of technology can be a lighter and easier way of learning as many apps aim to make the learning process fun and game-like. Talk to the locals who speak English, they can help correct you and guide you. If you don’t know a local who can help, join a learning group.
  4. Join a learning group. This will allow you to be in a structured environment to learn the new language. You will get feedback, be sounded by others from various different countries who are trying to learn the local language and may even receive assignments to test your knowledge. Find fellow expats, but beware of slipping back into your native tongue.
  5. Get creative. Make flashcards, try to write up your work emails or everyday texts in English and the local language, visualize the new language rather than relying on a direct translation. Have fun with friends or family members who are trying to learn the new language, get into a habit of picking a category to talk about ex. “colours” or “foods” and say the examples in the language. Watch the news for articulation and pronunciation. If you are in a big city check out a play, visit museums, and see movies in the language you are trying to learn.

And finally, something thing you might want to consider before choosing a language learning method is what purpose are you looking to achieve by learning a foreign language? Do you need it mostly for writing? Talking? Business? Can you get by without learning too much of the local language? Learning a new language will always assist in ensuring a good quality of life and freedom within your new country. A new language will assist you should you require medical care from a facility or doctor who doesn’t speak your language. A great medical plan will also provide medical insurance support in all of the major languages. Expat Financial offers several different international health insurance plans for expatriates of any nationality across the world who are about to move abroad or already there. If you have any questions regarding international medical insurance plans or you want to discuss your needs as an expat, please contact us or complete the quote form.

4 Essential (But Easy) Steps to Follow Before Going Abroad

So, you’ve decided to go abroad!

Now what?

You’ve decided to take the leap and perhaps teach abroad for a couple of years, or to travel for a few months, or to retire internationally… Whatever the reason is, your big decision to travel abroad needs to be accompanied by a list of essential to-do items that you should follow through with before leaving.

The key thing for you to remember before going abroad is to prepare yourself as much as possible. There’s nothing better to bring with you on your travels abroad than peace of mind.

Following these three essential (but easy!) steps before you embark will put you more at ease.

Research

Research, research, research. This will make it easier for you to prepare what to pack, what documents you need to complete before going abroad (visas and other documentation can take a few weeks to a few months to process, so you need to account for waiting time), what costs to expect, and what kind of insurance you’ll need while abroad.

Making sure your visa and passports are up to date and registering for your trip with the government, including entering your itinerary, is something that will come up while you do research on your destination. For example, if your destination is a remote country, you’ll be advised to register your trip online so that in the case of an emergency, the government will be able to locate and contact you.

A little effort goes a long way. Research how much to tip in restaurants, what conservative attire you’d need when traveling to conservative countries, and how much entrance and exit fees in certain countries may cost you.

Get international health insurance.

On the note of unexpected emergencies, it’s necessary for you to obtain international health insurance.

It’s very likely that your domestic health insurance won’t cover you while you’re abroad. Though many are aware of this, people often fail to adequately prepare for not having their domestic health insurance at their disposal while they’re travelling internationally.

You absolutely need international health insurance while abroad. Not having international health insurance means failing to protect yourself from potentially pre-paying for medical procedures that can be costly abroad and shouldering a heavy financial burden.

It can be confusing to obtain coverage that adequately meets your requirements and those of your family, but Expat Financial is available to answer any questions you may have and walk you through the process of obtaining adequate international medical coverage. Contact us today to assist you in purchasing a plan that works best for you and your family or to obtain a quote.

Call your bank or credit card provider to let them know you’re travelling.

Many people leave this one essential step forgotten amidst all the other to-do items they have on their list before going abroad. If you don’t inform your bank or credit card provider that you’re going to, say, Paris, when you’re supposedly in New York City, they will turn off your credit card as a security measure.

On that note, always have local cash on you – just in case.

While the logistics and planning of going abroad can be overwhelming and complicating, following these three basic steps before everything else will lessen the burden of having to plan to pack up everything and move across the world.

Remember, your international health insurance coverage is essential and should not be forgotten before you embark on your travels. Contact us today to obtain a quote or answer any questions you may have about the policies we provide through our many international health insurance providers, such as IMGCigna and GeoBlue.

And finally…

Ensure your visa and passport are up to date.

It’s always important to ensure your travel documents are updated. Ideally, your passport will be valid for at least six months before flying abroad, just to be safe.

These four essential steps will help you prepare adequately for your travels abroad and minimize potential risks, so you can have peace of mind before you embark.

5 Tips for Expatriates Giving Birth Abroad

Moving overseas can be challenging for expat couples. However, if you are planning to have a baby and start a family abroad, you are adding a huge financial and emotional commitment to the complications. And in most countries, the expenses of labour and delivery for expats can be incredibly high. In this article, we will discuss the importance of maternity insurance coverage to minimize this financial risk with our top 5 tips for pregnant expats.

1. Obtain Maternity Coverage Before Getting Pregnant 

According to research from The Telegraph, a cesarean section would cost around $14,000 in many hospitals around the world. Normal childbirth in North America would cost $15,000, and in Singapore, the cost will be well over $10,000. If you include hospital stay, medicine, and anesthetic, the bill will most likely be a lot higher.

What many expatriate couples may not know is that individual expat health insurance plans will almost never cover existing pregnancy. Besides the high expenses of delivery, routine tests and prenatal care can also be very expensive. Due to the high cost of maternity overseas, it is critical that you obtain maternity coverage if you plan to become pregnant. Most individual plans have a 10 – 12 month waiting period for pregnancy and generally only the upper tier plans will offer any maternity coverage. Maternity can often be included in a plan or purchased as an optional benefit. Our most popular global health insurance plan is offered by Cigna and both their Gold and Platinum plans have maternity coverage with the standard waiting period on their contract. Most group expat health plans that are set up by your employer will cover a pregnancy without a waiting period.

2. Find a Doctor & Hospital

Most expats would want to use private hospitals while getting pregnant overseas. These private hospitals can offer the best medical care possible, with English speaking doctors that cater to foreigners. Many international health insurance providers offer a list of medical doctors and hospitals that are in the insurer’s network. There are also many routine checkups during pregnancy to reduce your risks for potential diseases. It is advisable to research the birth facilities and the doctor’s experience and qualifications before settling in on a hospital and doctor. You will want to make sure that the hospital is both recommended and able to deliver your baby safely. Regular check-ups with the doctor in your new home country will also be vital.

3. Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle

  • It is important for pregnant expats to eat healthily and on time.
  • A balanced diet and moderate exercise will help you keep your body healthy.
  • Try to cook healthy instead of eating out.
  • Avoid alcohol, caffeine, and smoking.
  • Make sure that your pregnancy diet is nutritious. Always include protein, vitamin C, calcium, fruits, and vegetables. Ask your doctor about prenatal vitamins that you should take before and during your pregnancy.
  • Many medicines are not recommended during pregnancy. Always talk to your doctor about medical treatment for any illnesses during pregnancy.

It all involves common sense measures that your primary care doctor can discuss with you.

4. Make Sure Your Baby will be Insured at Birth? 

Some international health insurance policies can provide coverage for newborn babies from birth, while others cannot. It may depend on whether you satisfied the 9 or 12 months waiting period for pregnancy coverage. It is essential to check with your insurance provider or employer for the new baby enrolment.

5. Bring A Copy of Your Medical History With You 

In case of emergency, your hospital in your new country may not be familiar with your medical history or latest prescriptions. Therefore, it is recommended to carry all medical records with a list of allergies in the local language to facilitate emergency diagnosis and treatment.

Obtaining Maternity Coverage Via Expat Financial

As international health insurance expert, Expat Financial is often contacted by expats who are already pregnant and require international health insurance; however, our experience is that there are neither individual expat health plans nor travel medical plans that will cover an existing pregnancy. Only a large group expat benefit plan will potentially cover an existing pregnancy. Also, your home country may provide public government-funded coverage that will cover the existing pregnancy. It is very important to include maternity coverage in individual expat health insurance plans.

Advanced maternity insurance for expats usually covers:

  • Newborn care
  • Fertility car
  • Birth defect care

Most regular expat health plans with maternity insurance will cover:

  • Pre-natal and post-natal care and examination
  • Mandatory caesarian
  • Delivery
  • Home and hospital delivery expenses

Contact Expat Financial for more information on which international health insurance plan will meet your family’s requirements and budget. We hope that your expat pregnency will be a health, happy and safe experience in your new home country and look forward to discussing your requirements. We can also discuss expat life insurance.

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.

Hiring the right expat employee

Nowadays, more and more people are planning their career overseas. As many organizations have gone global, the good news is that employers are looking for expat employees all around the world. In this article, we will discuss how to hire the right expat employee.

Are You Hiring For an International Assignment?

When your organization or company is expanding abroad, the first thing to do is to decide who will be in charge of foreign operations. You can either send a current employee overseas or you hire an expat. According to research from the Harvard Business Review, only 11% of the HR managers have ever worked abroad themselves. Most of them have little understanding of a global assignment’s challenges. This indicates that organizations need to engage in efforts to make expat assignments both beneficial for expat employees and the company.

For certain occupations, expat professionals with experience in international business will fulfill specific expectations. More importantly, employees with cross-cultural backgrounds will be more likely to live and work comfortably in different cultures overseas. In general, according to Doris Fullgrabe, the six characteristics of a successful expatriate employee would be having:

  • Managerial skills
  • Augmented skills
  • International knowledge
  • Cultural flexibility
  • Communication skills
  • Collaborative negotiation style

What is Required for Hiring Expat Employees?

  • In many countries, foreigners need to obtain temporary work permits before they are hired on a temporary basis
  • If you would like to hire expat employees for full-time permanent positions, you will need to complete the permanent residence process as an employer
  • Work with legal professionals to draft expat employment contracts, and prepare a copy of the contract in the expat employee’s native language
  • In certain countries, if you want to hire expatriates, it is the responsibility of the organization to get a work permit your employees
  • Pay attention to tax deductions. In some cases, the employer is responsible for submitting the individual tax income to the tax authority;
  • According to local employment laws, there are mandatory benefits contributions to expat employees

How to Manage the Payroll of an Expat Employee

  • Manage the payroll through a vetted entity in the host nation
  • Outsource your payroll operations to a third party
    • We recommend using ShieldGeo if you would like to outsource your payroll responsibilities
  • Run the payroll required for a specific nation remotely through your company’s head office

The Benefits of an International Group Insurance Plan

Sending expat employees overseas is a huge financial investment for any organizations. To ensure a successful expat assignment, expat employers will want to obtain an international expat group insurance plan. A tailored, flexible international expat group insurance plan will not only protect expat employees, with coverage for pre-existing medical conditions and high-risk countries; but will also attract and retain employee talent and protect the employer’s business. To read more, please check out “The benefits of an international group insurance plan.”

As international insurance specialists, we can help you define your organization’s international group insurance requirements. Expat Financial offers independent advice, solutions and ongoing service and support to clients around much of the world. We source plans from large and secure global insurance companies. Our firm can offer a wide array of insurance plans including International Life Insurance, War and Terrorism CoverageExpat Disability Insurance, International Health Insurance, Kidnap & Ransom Insurance, Travel Medical InsuranceEvacuation Coverage.

For more information, Contact Expat Financial today if your organization has gone global.

The top 5 countries to raise expat children in

Are you planning to move abroad with your family? According to a recent survey report, the top 5 best countries to raise expat children in 2017 are Switzerland, Canada, United Kingdom, Germany, and Japan. The rankings are based on various factors such as quality of life, political influence, business friendliness, cultural heritage, entrepreneurship, and ease of obtaining citizenship. In this article, we will introduce these top 5 countries to raise expat children abroad.

  1. Switzerland
  • Introduction: Switzerland is among one of the most developed and wealthiest countries in the world. Bordering Germany, France, Austria and Italy in Europe, Switzerland ranks at top globally for its quality of life, government stability, healthcare standards and economic development. The overall standard of living is high.
  • Healthcare: Medical services are considered to be of the highest standards in Switzerland. Expats living in Switzerland will find many English speaking medical staff and doctors. However, expats are strongly recommended to purchase international health insurance plans before relocating to Switzerland, especially for those who plan to give birth in the country.  International health insurance will fully cover the medical costs of giving birth, including medical check-ups to baby’s hospital stay, plus post-natal care. Without appropriate health insurance, the medical bills can be very high.
  • Safety & Security: Switzerland has been consistently obtaining high marks for safety and a healthy lifestyle. According to the Government of Canada, the public transportation in Switzerland is excellent. Expats living in Switzerland should exercise normal precautions as petty crime could happen in public areas.
  • Children’s Education: According to the survey, the education system in Switzerland gets top marks on a global scale. This is not only because the schools in Switzerland cater to international families, but also the flexibility of its education system. According to The State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI), each of the 26 individual regions has its own education department and own school curriculum. Local state schools are free of charge. However, many expat families prefer international schools to help their children with the ease of transition and continue their education in a familiar language and curriculum.

        2. Canada

  • Introduction: Known for its cultural diversity and natural beauty, Canada is the second largest country in the world. Few countries can compare with the geographic diversity of Canada. The official languages are English and French. Canada is a high-tech, developed country with a high standard of living. The country’s economy mostly relies upon energy, agriculture and minerals.
  • Healthcare: The provincial medical plans provide Canadians with excellent emergency and non-emergency care, and it is publicly funded. Expatriates who are not covered by provincial medical care should obtain international health insurance plans. The medical cost for inpatient care at hospitals without it can be very expensive.
  • Safety & Security: Being one of the safest destinations in the world, the crime rates in Canada are low. Expats living in Canada should maintain common-sense precautions however, such as not leave valuables unattended to protect the security of your property.
  • Children’s Education: The standard of education in Canada is high. There are many public-funded schools and private schools including language schools, career schools, community colleges and secondary schools. Since Canada is a bilingual country, English and French language schools are available throughout the country.

        3. United Kingdom

  • Introduction: The United Kingdom contains four countries united under one government. The countries are England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. With an area of around 242,500 square kilometres, the nation has a population of 65.1 million people. The capital and the largest city of the United Kingdom is London. There are also many cultural heritage sites across the UK, due to the nation’s long and rich history.
  • Healthcare: The healthcare service in the UK is generally of high standards. It provides patients with primary care, in-patient care, dental care, etc., and it is free of charge. There are also private medical facilities throughout the country. Most expatriates living in the UK would want to seek medical insurance coverage globally. Additionally, it is important to obtain an international health insurance plan that will allow the private medical facilities access, due to long queues at public facilities.
  • Safety & Security: The public transportation in the UK is excellent. According to Government of Canada, the risk level of travlling to the UK is “exersise a high degree of caution” due to the threat of terroroisim. Although terror attacks can strike in any nation, due to the recent increase in attacks across Europe, expats should be weary of the increased risk.
  • Children’s Education: More than a quarter of the world’s top 200 universities are located in the UK. The education system in the UK is famous for its high quality, excellent education methodologies and research facilities, as well as academic freedom. Across the UK there are five stages of education: early years, primary, secondary, further education and higher education. After a student reaches the age of 16, he or she may choose to continue studying. Further Education is not compulsory. The UK school system is more lecture-based, with a few assignments throughout the semester. The cost of education in the UK is high, but not as expensive as in the US, as the government sets limits for tuition fees.

4. Germany

  • Introduction: With a total population of 82,667,000 people, Germany is a leading European country. As the world’s second-largest exporter, the standard of living is high in the nation. The Official languages in Germany are German and English. The high-income capital city is Berlin. Germany is also known as one of the most industrious countries in Europe, with major industries including automotive engineering, technology, and pharmaceuticals.
  • Healthcare: The healthcare system in Germany is excellent. The government-funded public medical care system provides healthcare services and products to patients, and the private medical facilities make a considerable contribution to society. The medical staff and doctors in Germany have usually received extensive medical training. Many expatriates living in Germany will want to obtain international health insurance plans to cover their medical costs in private healthcare facilities.
  • Safety & Security: Violent crime in Germany is low. There is no nationwide advisory in effect for Germany, according to Government of Canada. Expatriates living in Germany should exercise normal security precautions if attending large crowds events or visit local markets.
  • Children’s Education: Germany’s education system is different from the ones in many other countries. Lectures in public schools are usually taught in German, where expat children will gain a high academic ability of German. After grade 4, the students are separated by their overall academic performance and are divided into three different kinds of schools: Realschule, Hauptschule or Gymnasium. Realschule focuses on theory learning from grades 5 to 10. Hauptschule focuses on practical skills more than theory. The Gymnasium is a path to the university. The education system in Germany is different from state to state. There are also many international schools. Among these private schools, Montessori education is one of the most popular teaching models in Germany.

5. Japan

  • Introduction: Located on the east coast of Asia and southwest to Taiwan, Japan is an island nation in the Pacific Ocean. The capital city of Japan is Tokyo, with a population of approximately 9 million people in the area. The country has one of the world’s largest economies, and is famous for its highly skilled workforce and fast pace. As a developed country, expatriates will enjoy a high standard of living in the city. Also, Japan’s population enjoy the highest life expectancy rate in the world.
  • Healthcare: The healthcare system in Japan is among the best in the world. The universal health care insurance system offers citizens with fees set by the government. The healthcare insurance is mandatory and is required by law to all residents. However, hospitals are privately run and owned. Expatriates living in Japan for under a year is suggested to buy international health insurance to cover the medical cost.
  • Safety & Security: There is no nationwide advisory in effect for Japan, according to the Government of Canada. However, after the strong earthquake on March 11, 2011, reconstruction efforts are ongoing at Iwate, Fukushima and Ibaraki. Therefore, some transportation routines may be unavailable. Expatriates visiting these areas will want to make sure that you have secured accommodations and transportation. The overall crime against foreign nationals is low. Expatriates are advised to exercise normal levls of caution throughout their stay in Japan.
  • Children’s Education: According to a recent study, the Japanese education system leads the world in numeracy and literacy skills. The Japanese school system consists of 9 years of compulsory education period and 3 years of senior high school. There are many after-school workshops where students will learn more than in the regular classes. According to a recent survey, nearly 85% of the students feel happy in school.

Don’t forget International Health Insurance 

Expat Financial offers several different international health insurance plans for expatriates across the world. We offer plans from several different 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 if you want to discuss your needs and produce a customized quote, please contact us or complete the quote form.

How to save money on your international health insurance premiums

Living overseas is often an expensive endeavour for individuals and families who plan to work, retire or travel abroad for over one year. Perhaps the most important decision before you live abroad or even if you are already an expat is what global health insurance you should obtain, the insurer you will choose and the plan coverage options. There are lots of expat health insurance companies and providers to choose from and endless insurance options that can be very confusing for expatriates. As an international insurance brokerage firm with extensive experience and knowledge in this domain, we have put together six ways expatriates can save on their international health insurance premiums & coverage. It should be noted that these tips apply equally to both group and individual global health insurance premiums.

#1. Choose a Larger Deductible

A deductible is what you pay before the insurance company pays a claim. Generally, the deductible is per policy year, or you may have a small co-pay for each claim. For expatriates wanting to save on their global health costs, the easiest and most effective way to save on global health premiums is to select a larger deductible. The larger the deductible the lower the premium and vice versa. Some expats that we work with will select a $5K or $10K deductible as they do not think they will ever claim or live in a country with low medical costs.

#2. Exclude Coverage in the USA

Plans that include full medical care in the USA are almost always more expensive than plans that exclude the USA. Most American expatriates will want a plan to include care in the United States as they will want to receive care there for any serious medical claims. However, excluding care in the USA can save an expat somewhere between 40% or 50% in their medical premiums for some expats. If you do not wish to be able to seek medical care in the States, it makes sense not to choose the USA coverage option. If you are living in a country close to the USA, it may be wise to add the option as you may want to see medical care there, especially in the case of an evacuation.

#3. Pay your Premium Annually

We find that most expatriates like to pay their premiums monthly as annual premiums can be quite large, but if you can afford to pay annually, you can often save between 5% to 10% per year on your global health premiums. You can also pay semi-annually for additional savings over paying monthly.

#4. Self-insure Out-patient Care

Most global health plans will include a base policy that covers claims related to hospital care. You will have the option to choose to add out-patient care for an additional fee. Out-patient medical will cover medical claims that are incurred outside a hospital admission – such as doctors visits & consults, medicine, physiotherapy, psychology, wellness, medical tests and scans, dental accidents, vaccinations and more. However, many expatriates live in countries and regions where medical care is quite inexpensive, especially for out-patient claims like doctors’ visits. Excluding out-patient modules can save an expatriate many hundreds of dollars in premiums per month and is certainly something to consider.

#5. Add Coinsurance to your Plan

In addition to having a larger deductible, some plans will allow you to add coinsurance to your plan. Coinsurance is the percentage that you as the insured member pays in the event of a claim. The higher the coinsurance level, the less risk you are taking and the higher the premium. For example, if you have a coinsurance level of 80%, you would be responsible for paying 20% of claims – usually up to a maximum out of pocket amount. A 90% coinsurance level would be more expensive, and if you are covered at 100%, you don’t have to pay a portion of the approved claim. The coinsurance is active after the deductible has been satisfied.

#6. Choose a Lower Level of Coverage from the Insurer

Most expat health plans will have 3 or 5 different levels of coverage with varying degrees of care maximums and services covered. For example, the Cigna Global Health Options plan that we offer have three levels: Silver, Gold or Platinum. As you would guess, the least expensive plan would be the Silver plan, which will have much lower levels of care without maternity coverage.

Things to Consider When Choosing Your plan?

Are there more ways to save money on your international health insurance? Yes, but these generally involve you taking on a lot more risk with minimal premium savings. We recommend that you purchase the best possible global health insurance plan that you can afford. In the end, you generally get what you pay for. To learn more about the global health plans that we can offer individual expatriates, please contact us or get a quote online today. We would love to discuss your international health insurance needs and the ways that you can save on your health insurance costs.

Expat Tokyo - Why you need international health insurance?

The ultimate packing list for long-term relocation abroad

Top 7 Packing List for Expatriates Relocating Abroad

After you have done your research on your destination country’s healthcare, housing, and job market, you are ready to pack and move. The process of packing and loading can be very stressful and tedious. In this article, we will discuss our top 7 tips for creating the ultimate packing list for long-term relocation abroad.

1. Important Records and Documentations

Pack important records and documents such as airline tickets, passports, visas, your children’s school records, shipping documents, medical records, etc. in a safe place. Some crucial documents require both the original and a copy for each of your family members. Please make sure that you have packed you and your family’s:

  • Birth certificates
  • Passport and Visas
  • Medical records
  • Health Insurance documentation
  • Mediation Prescriptions
  • Credit Cards
  • Immunization records

2. Medical Supplies

Pack medications that you may need as soon as you step on the new city. If you have a medical condition that required continued medication, make sure you pack enough medical supplies. This will save your time and money in finding new substitutes in a new country. Other essential medications include:

  • First aid kit
  • Anti-allergy medicine
  • Prescription medicine
  • Water purification tablets
  • Tylenol for Children’s fever

3. Electronics

Proper electronics will be a necessity during your trip and expat life. Please check these essential electronics before you go:

  • Flashlight
  • Camera
  • Home appliances (optional)
  • Laptop
  • Voltage converter
  • Portable charger
  • Smartphone
  • Headphones

 

4. Clothes

It is important to not only know where you are moving to but also what activities you want to do in your new destination when packing clothes. Below are the suggestions:

  • Sunscreen and sunglasses
  • Dresses or Suits
  • Bathing suits
  • Pyjamas
  • Sewing kit
  • Disposable towelettes
  • T-shirts
  • Winter coats
  • Socks & Jeans

5. Shoes

When packing, it is important to consider what footwear will be most appropriate for your various activities and destinations. Whether you are going to a meeting or hiking Kilimanjaro, it is critical that you plan ahead so you don’t find yourself wearing your trainers to close that deal.

6. Place Large Signs on Household Goods

For those who are packing heavy furniture, place large signs on these appliances. For example, if there are some items that you need immediately in your new home, place a “FOR IMMEDIATE USE” sign on it. This will keep you organized on moving days and avoid any complications. Your new employer abroad may provide you with relocation assistance.

On departure day, remember to close and secure all windows and doors, clean and vacuum the house, turn off lights and electronic appliances, and check all the closets, storage areas, and drawers to make sure that everything has been packed. Make sure you also have your mail forwarded.

7. Don’t Forget International Health Insurance

Perhaps we are biased, but you should definitely remember to purchase an international health insurance plan to fully cover yourself and any dependents who will be living with you abroad. A global medical plan cannot 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 is especially true of many countries where most local public healthcare facilities may not be up to western standards. Without an appropriate international health insurance plan, expatriates could end up receiving large medical bills that could put their financial status at risk.

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. Please contact us today for a quote and to discuss your expatriate insurance requirements. We look forward to hearing from you soon.