ProtectionMay 15 2013

Employers need to research expatriate healthcare: Jelf

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The international healthcare director of Jelf Employee Benefits said workers and employers had underestimated the cost of treatment in many foreign countries and insufficient international private medical insurance policies were leaving many companies to pick up a hefty bill.

She said: “In some cases people return immediately as they need treatment quickly. Sometimes the return is delayed but eventually it is inevitable as the employer is paying an unsustainable cost for healthcare.”

Ms Dennis warned that employers must research the healthcare situation in countries where employees were working.

She added: “I can’t stress enough that outside of the UK there is no such thing as free healthcare. In most countries residents would contribute through taxes or have to pay to the local authorities, and if you are an expatriate you would need to obtain either a local level of healthcare cover or purchase an international healthcare policy.

“The benefit of the latter is that it is usually arranged before leaving the UK, written in compliance with UK financial standards and designed to be understood by a UK audience.”

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Kevin Gates, principal of Middlesex-based Gates Financial Services, said: “I think expatriates need to think twice before relocating abroad if they have a long-term condition as you’ll struggle to find suitable PMI policies. Companies will only be willing to pay for employees to get their health problems fixed, so to speak, so they can go back to work.”