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.