Expatriates can face higher rates of mental illness

Living abroad as an expatriate can be very rewarding and exciting for an expatriate employee and his or her family members. However, many expatriate employees often face culture shock, homesickness and social isolation. There is often a lack of support for expats, and it can be more challenging to cope with living in a new country and culture. Many expatriates and their family members can be faced with mental illness – including stress, depression and anxiety. It is vital that an expatriate employer make sure that the group expatriate insurance plan contains coverage for mental illness. Unfortunately, many international health plans will exclude mental illness and substance abuse related claims. It is vital that individual expatriates and their employers obtain a plan that will cover these claims. Having mental illness coverage might cost a bit more, but the savings from unpaid claims and a failed expat assignment can more than offset the costs of covering such illnesses.

Being away from your normal social circle is particularly difficult in cases of depression and many expats and their family members probably suffer in silence. It is critical that one seek out professional help as soon as possible. An expatriate Employee Assistance Program (EAP) can be a great addition to an expat health plan. Some expatriate insurance plans can include an EAP program that is specially designed for globally mobile employees overseas. An insurer can also provide a list of mental health providers who are recommended for expatriates, especially ones who speak the same language.

Mental health is now in the news again because of Robin William’s recent suicide. It is vital that all those who suffer from mental illness not suffer in silence and seek medical treatment and support. For more information on individual and group expat insurance coverage, contact Expat Financial today.

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.

More expat employees will be required by resurgent mining companies

Gold mining companies are doing much better in 2016 after many years of low gold prices along with depressed stock prices, exploration and production. The global mining sector has experienced a protracted correction that has seen all commodities fall from grace since 2011 and 2012. Mining companies, especially in the gold sector, have seen significant declines for a variety of economic factors, especially the slowing demand for commodities from China. Quite a few mining stocks have risen substantially in 2016.

A Surge in Mining Industry Fortunes

Mining companies operate exploration and production activities around the world and as a result, often employ expatriate employees. The recent surge in mining stocks and the price of some commodities means that many mining companies may be increasing capital plans and the requirement for employing expatriate employees that have the necessary expertise and knowledge that may be lacking in the local market. While most mining employees at overseas mining sites will be local nationals, global mining companies still need to employ many foreign employees, especially in senior management and technical positions.

How to Attract Expatriate Mining Employees

To attract and retain expatriate employees, mining companies need to offer:

  • Competitive salaries, usually in USD
  • Room for career growth and advancement
  • Moving cost assistance
  • Signing bonus & stock options
  • A comprehensive global benefit plan that includes:
    • International health insurance
    • Expat life insurance
    • Global disability coverage
    • AD&D
    • Dental cover
    • Evacuation insurance

Expat Financial is extremely experienced in sourcing global benefit programs for mining companies operating around the world. Local insurance brokers often have limited experience in sourcing international group insurance coverage that is critical if your mining operation wants to attract the right talent to run your mining faculties or development work. Placing your expat employees on local plans is fraught with risks and disadvantages. Senior expat employees in the mining industry are in strong demand and require quality global insurance coverage.

Obtaining the Right Coverage for Mining Expat Employees

Obtaining a global insurance program for your expat employees is one of the most important investments that a mining firm can make. It makes sense to implement a program that will provide global coverage as the domestic plans for the local employees will not meet the international needs of an expat mining employee or his/her family. Most expats will need a plan that will provide global medical protection, especially for the employee’s spouse and dependents who may be living overseas or need a policy that covers them back home. As you may guess, many mines are located in remote regions where housing a spouse and children may not be possible.

The continued improvement of the global mining industry will hopefully continue and so will the jobs for expat mining executives. If your mining operation employees expatriates, then it must obtain an expat benefit plan that will adequately protect your employees, dependents and reduce the risk to the mining company. Contact an expat insurance specialist firm such as TFG Global Insurance Solutions Ltd, owner of Expat Financial, to discuss your global benefit requirements and obtain quotes from the market. Our firm is especially experienced in working with mining industry employers of expatriates around the world.

Six tips for finding quality expat child care

For many expat families, moving abroad with children can be very challenging. More importantly, choosing quality child care in a destination country is another difficult decision. As parents, you want to make sure the child care has a safe, happy environment that supports both the intellectual and emotional development of your expat child.

Here are some tips for finding quality administered child care for expats:

1. Know the types of child care services

There can be many types of child care services providers all over your destination country. In the US and Canada, child care is usually referred to as nannies, babysitters, day care centers, kindergartens, and preschools. All these are administered strictly under the government’s supervision. Each of these child care services provides different service to different age groups.

2. Assess reality 

It is up to you whether or not to send your toddler to government-administered day care center or take care of him by yourself at home. As expat parents, mothers and fathers are usually on expat assignments and they usually work full-time. If one of you choose to stay at home to look after your child during the transition period, this can be unrealistic when you are employed.

3. Know the cost

Consult your destination country’s child care information online before you depart. Find the average cost of childcare per month by different age groups. So that you can use this as comparison of your new country and neighbourhood while searching for child care.

4. Choose your place of living wisely 

In some countries, the costs of childcare can also depend on locations. Price may vary from cities to cities. And can be entirely different for residents who live outside of cities or towns. In some major cities or capitals, the child care fee can be very expansive for middle-class expat families.

5. Nannies 

If you only need a specific time slot for child care, it is a good idea to have a nanny. You can usually find nannies who have worked with expat families before and it a good idea to find one through a reputable agency. Make sure that references have been checked and someone has conducted a criminal background check.

6. Ask for Employer Support

Many expat employers will provide some information and even financial assistance for expatriates who are moving abroad with their children. Expat employers are making a massive investment in your success and assisting you in sourcing expat childcare is often available.

There are lots of excellent expatriate websites and blogs that will provide information for expat families a wealth of information. For information on the right global health insurance for you and your young family, check out Expat Financial’s long list of expat medical providers, including our premier insurer Cigna International.

 

Expat Healthcare in France and the ‘mutuelle’ system

Working in France yields many benefits when it comes to health insurance. The government-run healthcare program deducts contributions directly from salaries and reimburses patients usually 70 percent of their medical costs. Although this is great news for expats, many residents and expats alike tend to rely on an extended insurance policy known as a mutuelle.

Young doctor checking an MR exposure

A mutuelle’s intended purpose is to fill the 30 percent gap left behind from the government-funded health program, but depending on the mutuelle you choose, you may be entitled to additional coverage. There is also an additional program for people who are within
a certain income bracket called the CMU complémentaire. This program covers the remaining 30 percent that reimbursements do not.

Most residents in France who have employment will pay into the social security plan will get access to the medical system. Students in most Universities in France will also get coverage there. European nationals can also apply for state healthcare once they become residents.

Keep in mind that the state does not cover costs incurred by psychologists, psychoanalysts, osteopaths, or chiropractors, nor does it cover any additional surplus fees which private practitioners may charge on top of the state fee. If you require this or other chronic care, it is in your best interest to find a mutuelle that suits you. Expat Financial can also source private international health insurance plans for expatriates in France. An expatriate may want a medical plan that will cover him or her globally. This is especially important for American expatriates in European countries such as France.

Recent terrorist attacks reminds us of the importance of terrorism coverage for expats

Unfortunately, the world has been gripped by an increase in the number of high profile terrorist attacks, including Paris, Thailand, Indonesia and the recent terrorist attack by ISIS operative in Brussels, Belgium. The recent advances of the terrorist group ISIS in Iraq, Libya, Syria and other countries have unfortunately increased the level of terrorism and civil strife in the region. Unfortunately, the terrorist ideology is spreading from countries such as Syria and Iraq throughout many parts of the world. Europe is currently in the grip of a major terrorist threat.

Normally, expatriate employers and individual expats will want to obtain a policy which doesn’t exclude terrorism, war or civil strife if they are residing or visiting high-risk countries where terrorism and other disturbances are a commonplace occurrence. However, the recent events in “safe countries” such as France and Belgium, may cause many expatriate HR managers and even individual expatriates to start thinking about obtaining a plan that will not exclude a claim that is the result of being caught up as an innocent bystander should terrorism strike. Most expat health, life, and disability plans will exclude passive war and terrorism. Passive war or terrorism means you were not being an active participant in the even and were simply caught up as an innocent bystander. However, TFG Global/Expat Financial is able to source global medical coverage, international life & disability and other coverage that will cover passive war and terrorism – usually on a group basis, but we can sometimes source individual plans as well for some travellers and expats.

If your company is sending people abroad, today’s risk environment may necessitate obtaining a plan that will cover today’s terrorist environment where such events can strike almost anywhere. Luckily, our company is highly experienced in covering employees and travellers to very high-risk countries such as Iraq, Afghanistan, and Somalia. The international group insurance plans that we can source for multinational employers, governments and NGOs often include war risk at little or no extra charge. We are also a Lloyds of London appointed agent which has direct access via our underwriters in London and can source coverage for employees in the riskiest and challenging regions. These underwriters can source individual risk coverage that can meet almost any risk matrix.

It’s the world we live in, and terrorism will likely not reduce in the near or medium term. It makes sense for expat employers to obtain coverage that will protect their employees against terrorism risk in high and low-risk regions of the world. We can only hope for the best that terrorist events will become less frequent, but plan for the worst.

Missionary Insurance Solutions

You are about to start a mission trip, what kind of insurance coverage do you need? You might have a local healthcare plan in your home country. However, local medical plans do not travel with you when you are on the road or across the ocean. Therefore, most missionary organizations or groups provide or require Group International Missionary Health Insurance for their missionary staff. If you are travel alone on a short-term or long-term mission trip, then you are required to have Individual International Missionary Health Insurance.

Coverage for Dangerous Destinations 

Missionaries should not only be looking for overseas medical insurance, but also emergency evacuation, trip cancellation, political evacuation and other benefits. Depending on where you are going, you may also want to specifically look for war, terrorism, kidnap and ransom insurance coverage.

Get Insurance From Expat Financial 

As international insurance specialists, we can help you define your missionary group’s global risk requirements. TFG Global 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, Personal Accident Coverage, War and Terrorism CoverageExpat Disability Insurance, International Health Insurance, Kidnap & Ransom Insurance, Travel Medical Insurance, Evacuation Coverage. For more information, please view our Missionary Insurance Brochure.

Contact Expat Financial today if your mission group has gone global. Such plans have options for life, AD&D and dental insurance. We are a vital resource for international missionary insurance plansContact us today to discuss your mission group’s needs and obtain quotes from the market.

Road accidents are a major cause of medical claims and evacuations for expatriates

cuba_beach_travel

It has been recently noted by the World Health Organization (WHO) that there were approximately 1.24 million deaths on the world’s roads in 2013. Traveling on the roads of the country you are living in is a critical component of an expat assignment or business trip. It is a good idea to investigate and understand the risks factors and take steps if possible to protect your safety. The WHO report also noted that 28 countries have comprehensive road safety laws. It has been further reported that some of the most dangerous road safety stats are in Malaysia, Cambodia and Colombia. Countries such as Norway, the United Kingdom and Sweden have the best traffic safety records according to the OECD.

Many evacuations are caused by road incidents, especially in third and second world countries with very lax transportation rules and poor infrastructure. Such accidents are usually the result of poor driving by the local inhabitants or the expat’s unfamiliarity with the country. A nation’s cultures and laws can be radically different from the expat employee’s home country. It might be a good idea to source a professional driver and not drive at all. Public transit, if it exists, is another great option. Any driver should be properly vetted and references checked. Vehicle maintenance is also important and may be lacking in some third world countries.

It is a good idea to make sure that your international health insurance policy will adequately cover accidents that might occur on the road. A high level of service and support, especially in the event of a road incident, will be critical if medical evacuation is required. So, look both ways before you cross that street abroad and make sure you purchase adequate medical coverage that will cover you both locally and globally.

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

Expat Financial offers a variety of international insurance plans on a group or individual basis. To maximize your expat experience and avoid unforeseen risks and costs, please contact us today to discuss your international insurance needs and requirements. Toll-free number: 1-800-232-9415 or email info@tfgglobal.com