Are the health benefits provided by your employer enough?

Published by The Safe Meridian Team on

Company health insurance plans are not all the same, and you shouldn’t just assume they’re enough.

We all know companies are forever working to reduce costs, and if you’ve been paying attention, you’ll know that most companies long ago stopped offering the high-end, all-inclusive expat packages.

There are definitely employers out there offering employees and their dependants comprehensive cover, but far too many others offer benefits that are only cover hospitalizations, and even then, might only cover employees (no dependants) and might only cover treatment in your country of residence.

Local employee benefit schemes are often missing key benefits

Always check your entitlements carefully:

  • Does it cover your spouse and kids?
  • Does it cover treatment at high-end clinics and hospitals?
  • Will it cover your kids if they move back home?
  • Will it cover your kids if they move to another country to attend Uni?
  • Will the scheme cover treatments obtained overseas?
  • Will it cover a critical illness or injury or will it end the second you’re no longer employed?
  • Can you take it with you when you leave?

Big issue: Can you keep your health insurance when you change jobs?

Too many expats don’t think about this until it’s too late – and at times, it means they can’t take that new job or they need to move back home.

If you want the option of being able to change companies, take on the better job offered by a competitor, leave and startup your own company, or just go off and retire in Asia, you need to have an international health insurance plan that you can call your own.

It’s no good thinking you can just apply for your own policy when the day comes. Applying for international health insurance will require medical declarations and existing illness will usually be excluded from cover. Every international health insurer operates that way – it’s the way the market is.

For healthy people without medical issues, this isn’t an immediate worry. If you apply for your own policy, insurers will accept you without premium loadings or additional exclusions. But if you or a member of your family has suffered from a medical condition that might require future treatment, you have no guarantee any insurer will cover you.

This is a critical topic and too often overlooked. It has forced many expatriates to stay in the jobs they have (to keep their health insurance) or forced them to return home because they couldn’t find insurance.

Solution? Consider topping up your employee benefits

You might think the only option is to go and buy a full international health insurance policy right now. That’s one solution, sure. If you prefer to avoid completely doubling up on cover and forking out the money to do it, another option is to supplement your existing benefits.

How? Most international health insurance policies offer deductibles on an optional basis. A deductible is a benefit amount you agree to forego in return for a premium discount.

Take for instance Globalis. It offers applicants a number of deductibles – and the discounts can be quite good.

If you’re OK to pay the deductible you’ve chosen, or if your employer’s plan will cover that portion, a deductible can be great idea.

Another idea is to purchase a plan that covers major expenses only as it’ll keep the cost down. Take a hospitalization only plan. Some of the better ones, like the Globalis Bronze Plan, will also cover the cost of outpatient care for conditions like cancer and kidney dialysis. With the right options, you can even choose to be treated back home, supported by friends and family.

Keep in mind one issue..

If you purchase a hospitalization only plan as your top-up, and you purchase it with a large deductible, the premium will be great value but you would have to formally apply to upgrade benefits later (if you needed to do it).

All International health insurers handle applications the same way. You’ll need to declare any existing illnesses when applying, and they’ll most likely be excluded from cover – or significant loadings might be applied to the premium.

Buying the cover you want later in life while you’re still healthy is always the best way to go.

Check out the Globalis Policy and see the many options it offers to keep premiums to a minimum. Drop us a note or talk to your insurance advisor today.