Employees Working Abroad Medical Insurance

The global workforce is now the accepted norm in the 21st century. Companies reaching farther and farther away from their headquarters is the typical corporate approach for both micro multinationals and large multinationals.

This can place your employees on foreign assignment under higher incidence of exposure to risk. This is why it is recommended that businesses ensure that their employees are adequately protected with the right global medical insurance policy to cover every eventuality.

Emergency Medevac …

Emergency medical evacuation insurance is essential when sending employees to work in remote, underdeveloped or high-risk regions of the world.

Local services may not be adequately available or to far for ground transport.  Every employer has a certain responsibility of duty of care when their employee is working for them abroad.

Below is an example of a Long-Term (6 months or longer) International Medical Insurance plan. Designed for employees, individuals and families, contractors and third country nationals.

A corporate traveler is mostly safe in places like Hong Kong or Canada, although an offshore worker in Africa, many areas of the middle east, or Indonesia could be in serious trouble if they suffer a serious illness or accident and has neither proper coverage nor access to good assistance services.

No Travel Insurance?

If you are on your own without international medical insurance and an emergency strikes; will you be able to coordinate a medevac?  Are you able to pay up front for the very costly emergency transport services?  How do you know which hospital or medical facility speaks your language?  The local doctor wants to perform surgery … who do you talk to regarding your options?

it’s essential that your employer offer comprehensive international medical coverage while on your work assignment abroad.

Heart problems, long term illnesses and complex fractures are among the most common medical ailments at the source of private repatriations, according to CEGA, with demand spanning areas as diverse as southern Asia, the Caribbean and mainland Europe.

“We are getting requests from all over the world – ranging from straight forward road journeys and scheduled flights with medical escorts, to intensive care air ambulance transfers that necessitate full medical management, complex travel arrangements and hospital admission.”

Types of Group Plans …

There are typically two types of Global Group Medical plans for employees. Short-term business trips – The company adds up all of the days of international travel and the number of employees who traveled, including multiple trips per year.  The other is the expat style plan which is considered a long-term plan for the employee on foreign assignment for longer than 6 months.  This policy can also continue for several years.

Payroll is not required to enroll employees. Independent contractors and third country nationals also qualify for International Group plan coverage.

Affordable Care Act and Global Workers:

Under the Affordable Care Act, U.S. citizens working abroad must maintain “minimal essential coverage” (MEC) health insurance or risk facing a tax penalty.  Although if the employee is working outside the U.S. for at least 330 days over a 12 month period, they are considered to have met the MEC requirement.

For short term international policies you will need to continue with the domestic health plan to satisfy the Affordable Care Act MEC. Long Term plans you will need to anticipate the amount of time the employee will be outside the U.S.

Many risks when traveling abroad that need to be addressed:
  • Who can assist, and who do you contact if you have a serious injury or illness.
  • Kidnapping and extortion of executives and employees, international students, and vacationing family members including children continues to be a growing global trend regardless of where you are.
  • Finding access to quality care, if an emergency strikes.
  • Crisis management – you need a team of experts to intervene and move in to organize your care, coordinate transportation needs and respond to critical issues during an emergency.
  • U.S. Group health insurance, Medicare or Workers Compensation do not provide any of these services to you or your family when outside the U.S.

Questions or Concerns?

John Conner

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Author: John Conner

Medicare, Dental and International Medical coverage.