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.

expat employees

International Payroll Tips for Expat Employers

Global Payroll Tips for Expatriate Employers

Paying expat employees is increasingly more common as companies expand their businesses into global markets. There is not one straightforward way to ensure you’re paying your expat employees given that laws are different in every jurisdiction.

What is certain, however, is that human resources and payroll professionals are required to acquire knowledge of international payroll management systems, which are becoming more complex since they vary from one organization or company to the next.

Therefore, there are varying procedures and methods for how international employees are paid.

We’ve put together a list of our top five tips for dealing with international payroll so you can avoid legal problems. While our firm does not provide global payroll service, we are happy to provide some helpful tips that may assist your organization. We can even refer you to a global HR firm if required.

But first, what exactly is international payroll?

What is international payroll?

International payroll refers to the list of a company’s expatriate employees and includes information on how and when the money they are owed will be paid to them.

There are, generally, two aspects of global payroll obligations to remember:

  1. Withholding the correct payroll taxes.
  2. Income/tax reporting.

“Withholding tax” is the amount of an employee’s pay withheld by the employer and sent directly to the government as a partial payment of income tax. These concepts are essential for you to understand so you can avoid problems.

If your expatriate employees are required to travel often, then it is critical to design a payroll policy about how long an employee must stay in one state before withholding must be taken into account.

Remember also that specific expatriate payroll-related concepts include foreign currency exchange transactions as well as US payroll.

Given you need to be compliant with specific laws, rules, and regulations that vary in different areas and are sometimes quite complex and overwhelming, it is recommended that you hire legal or tax professionals to assist you and your firm.

Legal and tax professionals have extensive knowledge of the specific taxation, employment laws, and fluctuating foreign currency trends. These professionals would be able to support you in achieving the best method for setting up a successful international payroll system that works best for both you and your firm.

 

The International Compensation System

Recognizing international compensation plans when reporting expatriate employees’ income and tax is important.

An international compensation plan may include base salary, benefits, and other incentives as part of the expat employee’s monetary and non-monetary return for work.

Some aspects of international compensation plans include contributions to foreign pension plans, foreign trust reporting, and foreign deferred compensation arrangements.

Some US expatriates working for foreign corporations may participate in international pension plans. However, the tax arrangement may not meet “qualification rules” in the US, so this must be taken into consideration.

Discussing how best to treat contributions to your foreign compensation plans with tax professionals is recommended highly, as they can also advise on reporting requirements that may apply in addition to an expat employees’ tax return.

You’re not alone if you’re feeling a little overwhelmed or even confused about where to start or how to structure or enhance the HR policies in your company or organization to better facilitate the international payroll for expat employees.

We have compiled five tips for you to keep in mind as you go forward.

  1. Understand the difference between various mobility policies 

It is important to hire professional consultants who can provide guidance on a variety of mobility issues by identifying benefits available in the new location. These professionals will also be able to structure a new global employment strategic plan, as well as developing a worldwide expatriate compensation and benefits plan. In some nations, local benefits coverage and medical facilities may be limited. Local currency fluctuations and the financial stability of the local insurance company are significant concerns for expatriate employees. Expat Financial can source international group insurance plans from a variety of large and respected insurance companies for multinational companiesNon-government Organizations, non-profits, governments, and international schools.

Several benefits are available, such as Group LTD, AD&D, Life Insurance, Health, Dental, and Emergency Medical Evacuation & Assistance Insurance. The risk and the administration for numerous operations and countries are pooled under one plan. Benefits can be paid in several major currencies. For companies with less than three expatriate employees or individual expatriates, we can also provide individual International Health Insurance protection as well as individual life and disability plans.

  1. Tax knowledge is a must

It is critical that you understand the foreign payroll withholding requirement and are able to determine whether the various compensation aspects are taxable or non-taxable. Our firm can often refer clients to expatriate tax specialists and even global payroll firms with excellent global tax knowledge.

Expat Financial may be able to provide international pension plans from large and established insurance company. These plans are usually free of taxes on accumulations, and there are no withholding taxes on benefits paid.

In addition, a variety of investments can be made available. The administration costs are also typically much lower for the company and the employees than setting up individual plans. Check with your tax advisor to confirm your tax status at your location.

  1. Organize documentation of payroll operations

Managing the documentation of payroll is very important. It provides the payroll team members with operational standards and policies. Due to the complexity of international payroll, different staff members may have different payroll methods. Maintaining payroll documentation can help administrative staff to manage payroll operations efficiently.

A tailored international group insurance plan provides simple administration platform for your HR department. It can facilitate instant communication online between employees, insurance companies and HR administrators. This is most especially convenient for highly mobile expat employees.

It is imperative for your expat employees to move from one country to another without worrying about switching from one local health insurance plan to another. It is crucial that HR managers consider excellent administration when choosing a global medical plan for their expat employees.

Contact Expat Financial to learn more.

 

  1. Provide ongoing training for payroll team members 

The role of an international payroll specialist requires strong professional skills, as well as extensive knowledge of new technologies and software in an ever-evolving business environment.

Arrange annual training and professional upgrading programs in international payroll for all team members to enhance knowledge, learn trending methodologies, and stay up-to-date on the latest best practices. Training programs should ideally include a comprehensive range of webinars, seminars, and forums.

Opportunities to network are also a great plus. Building an international payroll network can be helpful in advancing your company’s HR team and their performance.

  1. Optimal payroll productivity

International payroll management usually requires a cross-department effort from the finance, administration, and HR departments. Therefore, it is vital to connect global payroll to the business administration process and continuously update your management strategy.

For example, implementing a reviewing process within each party involved (such as HR & Finance) before delivering the review process results to employees is a great idea that can be used to avoid mistakes and improve expatriate employee satisfaction. Continuously building your communication with employees is critical to a great international payroll procedure.

A Reminder About Global Insurance Requirements

While international payroll is a very complex and vital requirement for expatriate employers, it is also important to consider the insurance needs of your globally mobile employees.

Expat Financial offers international group insurance plans for expatriate employees. We can even source expat group insurance plans for multinationalsNGOs and governments that have groups of three to 1000 expatriate employees working overseas. We offer numerous global benefit plans that are available to meet almost any budget requirement you may have.

With extensive global experience, knowledge, and contacts, Expat Financial is a leading source of group international health insurance plans that offer global health insurance coverage from various leading insurance providers that offer only the best plans.

For companies with only one expat employee, we have excellent global health plans that you can obtain a quote and also apply for completely online. We also offer xpat life and disability insurance plans as well as source special risk plans including war and terrorism insurance.

We are also a major provider of international insurance solutions to companies across many sectors of the economy and regions of the world.

Contact us today to obtain a quote, learn more, and we can answer your global insurance questions. If you require a global payroll specialist, we may be able to refer you to a company which can assist your HR Department and of course your expatriates.

Read more to learn why an international group insurance plan is superior to placing your expat employees on domestic policies.

Top 10 Questions to Ask Your International Health Insurance Provider

Important Questions to Ask Your Global Insurance Broker & Insurance Company

Choosing global health coverage can be very difficult and one of the many things you have to do if you are moving abroad or already living overseas. Obtaining excellent international health insurance is vital if you and your family are expatriates. A major illness or injury could put your health at risk if you can’t access adequate medical care, but also your finances.

Most experts will agree that it makes sense to work with an expat insurance specialist firm such as ours. To help you in your global journey, we have put together 10 questions that you should ask before purchasing international health insurance broker

Question #1: Does your company cover expats for life?

Many people are moving abroad for long time periods or when they are older, so obtaining a global health plan that will cover them for life is vital. This is especially important for those planning to retire abroad. We often get requests from senior expats who want to retire in the Caribbean or in Asia. There are many international health care plans out there which will not cover you past a certain age or restrict benefits once you reach 65. Therefore, it is important that you ask if the plan can keep you and your partner covered for life. Of course, premiums will increase with age, but no-one wants to get kicked off a plan when they need coverage the most.

Question #2: Are there doctors in my city and country that I can access?

The size and quality of an international health insurance company’s medical network for direct reimbursement is critical, so it makes sense to ask your potential insurer or broker for a list of medical providers in your new country or region. Most expats want to be able to show a card and not have to pay out of pocket for medical expenses at a hospital or if they are in the USA, most clinics, hospitals, doctors and pharmacies. Most quality insurers will be able to give you a list of doctors and hospitals that you can work with.

Question #3: Is there a free choice of hospitals and doctors in the plan?

When picking a global health plan for you and your family, it is important to get a plan that will allow you to choose whichever medical doctor or hospital that you wish to utilize. That hospital may not be in the provider network mentioned above, but you can at least get treated there, pay out of pocket and get reimbursed by the insurance company. Note that in some countries and cities, you may not be able to find a hospital in the insurers network and some facilities simply do not want to work with an international insurer.

Question #4: Can the insurer provide a guarantee of payment to the hospital if outside of the network?

For large medical expenses incurred at a hospital overseas that is not in the medical network, it makes sense to deal with an insurance company that has 24/7 claims support with the ability to give the hospital a guarantee of payment if required. This should allow you to receive medical treatment without having to pay out of pocket as the hospital can call the insurer and make sure that they will receive payment for approved medical procedures. You can also get a medical second opinion at the same time.

Question #5: Can the insurance company cover my pre-existing medical condition?

We often get this question for expats or those about to venture abroad. A previous illness or injury or ongoing pre-existing ailment has to be disclosed when you apply for international health insurance. All individual expat health plans are medically underwritten and the insurer will either decline, accept, ask for extra premium or exclude the condition. People often get angry when their condition is excluded but can ask us to advocate on their behalf and supply more information to the insurer, especially from the doctor. If the insurer still excludes the condition, we can give you a rough idea of how other insurers will view the condition. It usually makes sense to take the policy, especially if the condition will not cause to much financial harm if not covered.

Question #6: Should I add coverage for the USA and how much will it cost?

Most global health plans will give you worldwide medical treatment excluding the USA or the ability to add treatment there for an extra fee. If you are an American expat, it almost always makes sense to add this coverage option as you will probably want to return home for medical treatment where your regular doctors and family reside. Adding a US coverage option can increase your premium dramatically, but not necessarily too much for American expatriates with the Cigna plan that we offer online. If you are an expatriate living near the USA, it is often a good idea to include care in the USA as your local country may not be able to properly treat you there.

Question # 7: How much will I save if I pay annually versus monthly?

Most expat insurance partners that we work with will offer a 7 to 10% savings if you pay for your premiums on an annual basis verus monthly. For my son who recently move abroad to study, I took this option because the savings were simply too large to ignore. If you can afford it, we definitely recommend paying annually.

Question #8: When can I apply?

We often get requests from people who are thinking about moving abroad in 6 to 12 months, but most insurers will not allow you to apply for coverage until you are 30 to 45 days out from leaving your country of residence. If you are already living abroad, you can usually request an effective date the very next day – assuming you are approved. Apply today for our most popular global health plan from Cigna.

Question #9: Does the plan cover maternity expenses?

If you are planning to add to your expat family or have children for the first time, it is a good idea to check if your international health plan will cover maternity and newborn expenses. Some plans will exclude maternity fully while others will include it with a fee or as part of the insurers more deluxe coverage. All individual health plans have a 9 or 12 month waiting period before maternity expenses will be reimbursed. Some group expat health plans will cover maternity expenses without a waiting period. It is critical to have your maternity coverage if you will be having a child abroad as the costs can be quite enormous.

Question  #10: How much will the premium cost for international health insurance?

Perhaps the most obvious and important question to ask your global insurance broker and insurance provider is how much a global health policy will cost. The cost of any international health plan will depend on a variety of factors, such as your age, occupation, gender, occupation, citizenship, where you reside, deductible level, the options you choose and much more. There are so many different options to choose from, such as getting outpatient care, evacuation, maternity coverage, dental and if you want access to medical care in the USA. It makes sense to talk to our expat insurance expert advisors at Expat Financial and discuss your requirements. It is very easy to examine all the options and obtain a quote online from one of our many international health insurance providers, such as IMG, Cigna and GeoBlue. Note that premiums will increase as you age an also if you add your partner or dependent children to a policy. Please contact us today to discuss your global insurance requirements and answer your international health insurance questions today. The above article primarily relates to individual policies but is also relevant to the group expat medical plans that we offer multinational employers.

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.

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.

Why is expat health insurance so important?

Many expats traveling worldwide do not realize that the cost of medical treatment overseas can be extremely expensive. Expat health insurance is a great solution not only to protect you and your family’s well being but also to avoid an impact on your finances. In this article, we will discuss why expat health insurance is important and how to acquire proper coverage.

Global Multiple Countries Coverage

Many international health insurance plans can cover expats in multiple countries. And the plans usually have many benefits and offer customization that can influence the premium you pay. This is very important for travelers and expatriates living and working overseas. As a foreign national, you and your family members are generally not covered for medical treatment abroad. No matter where you are, or you wish to travel elsewhere for medical treatment, most global medical plans will offer medical coverage all over the world either including or excluding the USA.

Financial Security 

In most of the countries around the world, expats are required to prepay the cost before receiving medical treatment, and some of the medical procedures can be extremely costly. With an adequate expat international health insurance plan, you will be protected from any short and long-term medical expenses including emergency evacuation and repatriation. It will help you avoid the financial risk of uninsured medical costs while living and working overseas. Besides, most of the insurance providers have developed trustworthy medical network centres and medical staff worldwide. This will be able to keep pace with you and your family as your medical needs change. If you wish to be able to seek medical treatment in the United States, you should get the USA coverage option, but this will increase your premium.

Flexible Plan Design

International health insurance is usually easy to adjust to challenges with a variety of individual and family health insurance needs such as life insurance, disability, and more. If you are an employer sending your employee overseas, an international group health benefits plan and insurance solutions will help retain talented employees. Please also read our blog post “The Benefits Of An International Group Insurance Plan.” 

Aid Workers, Missionaries and NGO Organizations

Whether you are traveling overseas for a short missionary assignment, volunteer position or a long-term aid worker assignment, it is vital that you obtain a global travel insurance or expat health plan that will adequately cover your stay overseas.

How To Acquire International Health Insurance 

Expat Financial offers several international health insurance plans for expatriates across much of the world. Our insurers will help provide you with peace of mind during your stay overseas. We are also able to source international health insurance for Non-Governmental Organizations around the world sending aid workers overseas.  The insurance companies that we work with also offer excellent service before and after you purchase your international health insurance plan – our firm can also assist as your independent advocate. If you have special 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. The Cigna Global Health Options plan is our most popular international health plan for expatriates.

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.

Five Advantages of International Health Insurance for Expats

Five Advantages of International Health Insurance for Expats

Moving abroad can be an exciting and life-changing event. However, expatriates working and living abroad may face diverse healthcare needs. In order to access the desired healthcare facilities and services, it is critical to obtain an international health insurance plan. In this article, we will explore five advantages of an international health insurance policy if you are an expatriate planning to live, work or retire abroad or are already an expat.

  • You Have Freedom to Choose Your Doctor Internationally 

An international health insurance plan provides an extensive medical care network. Therefore, you have the freedom to choose healthcare professionals and facilities globally. This is very helpful when your destination healthcare facilities do not meet your medical requirements, or your family members need certain medical specialists. Note that some plans will restrict you to receiving medical coverage in a particular region or offer global coverage. Most plans will offer you the ability to add treatment in the USA.

  • Avoid Long Lineups 

In most countries around the world, many public hospitals and clinics are often overcrowded, with long lineups and extended waiting periods. However, private medical facilities are often able to provide faster medical appointments and surgeries. With an international insurance plan, expatriates can use private medical facilities through a medical network and avoid long lineups.

  • No Language Barrier

One of the most challenging issues that expats might experience while abroad is the language barrier. Sometimes expats can’t access the local healthcare system because they don’t speak the language. For example, in China, though some public hospitals have opened international medical departments to serve expats, these healthcare facilities are only available in major cities. If expats are residing in smaller commercial centres or visiting some rural area, then they may fail to access the medical assistance they need. Note that private hospitals in China are very expensive, so make sure you have adequate coverage.

With an international insurance plan, you can be connected to local private medical facilities with English speaking medical staff and doctors. They often provide a higher quality of care and better service than public facilities. Most of them have also received Western training. Additionally, an international insurance provider such as Cigna can provide language assistance and interpretation service at no cost to you. This is very helpful for expats with an international background during every step in seeking medical assistance.

  • You are Often Covered Wherever You Go

Many expatriates may already be covered by their local medical plan; however, most local plans are not designed for expats. An international health insurance plan can provide complete coverage for you and your family around the world. This is very important for expats who often travel from one country to another. Obtaining an appropriate global medical insurance plan will not only protect you and your family from health risks but will also provide you with peace of mind. Note that expat health plans are not generally portable back to your country of citizenship or to some countries where local regulations don’t allow the insurer to maintain your coverage.

  • Avoid Financial Risks

As reported in the news, research, and surveys, the cost of medical care is increasing globally, especially emergency care. An international health insurance plan will help you avoid financial risks while living and working overseas. Most plans will provide hospital coverage, routine medical checkups, prescriptions, etc. You can also add dental, vision and wellness care. Expats should make sure that the insurance plan has medical evacuation and repatriation coverage. In some severe situations, evacuation is required to receive urgent medical care.

Obtain International Health Insurance from Expat Financial  

Whether you are living or working abroad, or planning to, Expat Financial is your trustworthy companion with proven expertise in financial and insurance services area. As a division of TFG Global Insurance Solutions Ltd, we have extensive experience in working with individual and group expats to assess their global insurance needs. Expat Financial offers several different international health insurance plans for expatriates across much of the world. We also provide excellent service before and after you purchase your international health insurance plan. If you have any particular questions regarding expat health insurance, please contact us or complete the quote form.

 

 

7 Tips for School Groups Traveling Abroad

Are you preparing for School Group Travel Abroad? 

There are many exciting opportunities for students to gain international experience while working towards their degree or for high school student groups going abroad on short school trips. Many universities provide either an exchange program or field school, as well as short-term summer programs. If you wish to spend one or more terms on an external program such as volunteering overseas, international employment, school group travel, international Co-op, etc., it is critical to making preparations, such as obtaining a travel medical coverage. In this article, we will provide seven tips for students and school group leaders when preparing for a short or long-term trip overseas.

 

Tips for Students and School Leaders 

  • Vaccination is critical for school group travel overseas. Many universities require standard immunization before arriving, especially for students who come from countries identified as having more infectious diseases and outbreaks. If your school group is visiting the USA, you may be required to complete a TB screening test.
  • Research your destination country for travel advisories and healthcare facilities. No matter where your school tour intends to travel, make sure you check the Travel advisory sites before you leave. This is because a travel advisory may affect your travel health insurance. In some regions, healthcare facilities may be limited. It is critical to understand any terms and conditions in your insurance policy for medical claims made for injuries in your destination country.
  • When selecting a travel medical insurance plan, you should make sure that the plan provides continuous coverage for the duration of your stay. It is also essential to check whether the plan pays for foreign hospitalization and provides the up-front payment of bills.

  • Be sure to obtain an emergency medical plan with a 24-hour/7-day emergency contact number in your language for health care providers in your destination country. Medical evacuation coverage is critical, especially in regions where medical care is not up to first world standards. Ensure that your medical insurance provides coverage for medical evacuation to the nearest location with appropriate medical care from your destination.
  • Preparing your school members for travel is essential, so it makes sense to plan ahead and also bring a first-aid kit. Travelers with any chronic medical conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure or other problems need to carry medications with you on your trip. Moreover, it is always recommended to bring an extra prescription in case you want to extend your trip or have a delay.
  • Regardless of where you are going, you school members should always carry your prescription copies, allergy medication, antibiotic ointment (for more remote areas), sunscreen, etc. It is recommended that students consult a healthcare professional for some extras you should carry if heading to more remote regions or areas.

Bring Student Group Travel Medical Insurance with You 

And finally, with appropriate planning before a school group trip, your students enjoy their travels abroad without worrying about the costs associated with dealing with the unexpected injury or illness while on your tour. Expat Financial is a key resource for students who are going abroad to travel, attend a foreign university or volunteer for up to 1 year for emergency medical expenses. Here are two travel medical insurance plans that we can provide to students living outside the USA:

For students who are studying abroad and require a global medical insurance plan, we offer several international health insurance plans from several global medical insurance providers which are perfectly suited to studying abroad and offer excellent rates for young students, but not school members who are based in the USA.

Check out our international student health insurance plan and discuss with us your student health insurance requirements today. If your overseas education facility would like to discuss offering a plan for its students or even the expatriate staff, please contact us to discuss a group plan.