Group Health for Your International Employees: Understanding the Differences between Policies      

HR managers at multinational companies face a different set of challenges from their counterparts at domestic companies. One of those challenges is providing the best healthcare packages for their employees, who increasingly may be placed in overseas posts.  According to a recent study by PriceWaterhouseCoopers, growth in overseas assignments is expected to increase by 50%.

Health insurance is unequivocally on the top of the list of employee demands.  According to a recent report by Principal Financial Group, 90% of employees deem health insurance as the most important benefit. 

Access, Access, Access

“The most important question we are asked is what access will employees have to western style medical facilities in a country and how do employees find them,” said Scott Lockman, Director of Commercial Insurance at Clements Worldwide. “Clements has an extremely large network globally including over 6,000 institutions with direct billing.”

International Group Health Insurance Finding those institutions can be simple with online tools. Clements mobile application mPassport® gives employees immediate access to providers. In addition, the app offers translation for key medical terms and medication, which could be critical in remote areas where triage services are required before an employee can access a western style facility.

Borderless coverage is also a necessity. As employees travel or go to multiple overseas posts their insurance will follow.    

“Another crucial element is 24/7 healthcare support in English. Global employees will not have questions only during 9 to 5 EST,” said Lockman. 

Medical Evacuation – Is it Really Necessary?

“Medical evacuation is not an ordinary event, but the cost can be in the tens of thousands if it is not part of the coverage package,” explains Lockman. “Repatriation also needs to be considered.”

Emergencies in remote areas or an escalating medical condition could result in medical evacuation usually to the closest facility to handle the severity of a specific condition. A medical evacuation insurance policy not only handles the cost of the airlift, but also will typically provide the services to schedule and organize transport, which provides critical peace-of-mind to employees and their families during challenging times. In the most unfortunate cases, repatriation of bodily remains covers air or ground transportation expenses arising from the death of the insured member. 

Will Policies Cover All Employees – Even in High Risk Areas?

Group Health Insurance Policies “If you are operating in high risk areas, you should highlight that with your insurance provider,” explained Lockman. “We have customers working in high risk areas in Iraq and Afghanistan and we help them have access to adequate coverage even in the case of political violence.”

HR representatives should make sure to highlight their special needs. 

Personal Accident and Defense Base Act (DBA) Worker’s Compensation

In addition to insuring employees, businesses need to be protected as well. Defense Base Act (DBA) Worker’s compensation helps protect employers from liability for injury incurred or disease contracted by an employee arising out of the course of employment. United States federal law requires all contractors and subcontractors to secure this type of insurance for their employees working overseas when engaged in specific activities. 

Duty of Care

By having international health insurance coverage, companies may also help limit their liability in case of accident, injury, or death on the part of one of the employees or contractors.    

“Employees definitely have responsibilities when sending employees overseas to ensure they understand the risks. By providing employees with a comprehensive plan with online tools to find providers in a case of emergency, companies are conducting basic due diligence on behalf of their employees,” concluded Lockman. 

Employers demonstrate duty of care, when they make a best faith effort to ensure the health and safety of their employees. 

Learn More about International Group Health Insurance

Call us today at +1.202.872.0060 or 800.872.0067 or e-mail to discuss your insurance needs.