Cost cutting firms sending staff overseas without health cover

Cost cutting firms sending staff overseas without health cover

Cost cutting firms sending staff overseas without health cover

Although all firms with offices overseas recognise the importance of including health cover in expat packages, 25 per cent admit they can’t afford to provide it.

Results of a recent independent survey have revealed that overseas packages for employees are likely not to provide comprehensive health insurance for staff and their families. Some 16 per cent of firms surveyed said they thought their expat staff would be adequately covered by travel insurance.

At a time when businesses as whole are looking to increase their presence abroad, concerns are rife that many human resources officers seem confused about adequate health care provisions for their overseas staff. Travel cover is intended for holidaymakers, and has no provision for extension after the original cut-off date, leaving staff exposed expensive medical costs.

According to the survey, boardroom executives are failing to appreciate the difference between annually-renewable overseas healthcare coverage and simple travel insurance. Companies with branches in EU countries are also negating the need for healthcare packages, wrongly assuming that the European Health card will cover hospital and repatriation expenses in an emergency.

Financial constraints are believed to be the cause of firms’ reluctance to provide adequate private medical insurance for their overseas staff. However, some 27 per cent of the companies surveyed admitted their expat employees had needed Medivac emergency transportation to the UK after local hospital treatment had proved inadequate.

The survey also showed that a quarter had needed to use a 24/7 emergency helpline. Companies consider that, should comprehensive healthcare insurance be provided, it needs to include a choice of hospitals, Medivac services and a 24/7 helpline, and some at least realise that it’s their responsibility to check the small print and make sure provisions are correct.

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