Employees Overseas Need International Health Insurance

When we think of some of the most popular computers, electronics and automobiles, “Sold in the USA” is rapidly replacing “Made in the USA” as the new norm. While the expansion of many US corporations slowed as a result of the recent recession, business is booming for emerging markets around the globe. Multi-national corporations competing for global customers have thrown their hats in the ring by establishing subsidiary offices with local sales, manufacturing and distribution channels.

In the race for global presence, foreign corporations have flooded the US market to capture the highly prized American customer-in fact; there are over 3,000 foreign-domiciled corporations with subsidiary companies, branches or sister offices within the US, according to Uniworld Business Publications.

With a hybrid workforce comprised of US citizens, foreign nationals and key executives from overseas, foreign corporations’ human resources and benefit directors are tasked with managing a myriad of benefits over growing geographic areas and across wildly varying international regulatory bodies. Benefit directors new to the US market are simply unaware of the many insurance options when insuring foreign nationals working in the US. In an attempt to simplify the matter, we find that most employees, no matter their origin or citizenship status, are being enrolled on their US company’s group health insurance and benefits plans. But this is rarely the best method.

Seasoned international human resources managers know the difficulties of educating their foreign employees regarding policy benefits, deductibles, co-pays, PPO and HMO networks. Traditional domestic group health insurance assumes employees are familiar with understanding insurance terminology, locating participating doctors and hospitals, seeking referrals, getting prequalified and submitting claim paperwork.

Foreign employees arriving from countries with socialized or national healthcare are unfamiliar with navigating the complexities of the US healthcare system and, for good reason, become overwhelmed by the process of seeking medical care in the US.

In the next two years, six executives from a prominent Asian stock exchange will work six months in the corporation’s branch office in a major US metropolitan area. They will return to Asia for three months before coming back to the US branch office for another nine months. The company’s US health insurance policy is not designed to accommodate the executives’ frequent travel schedule. What’s more, the additional enrollment and termination forms add an encumbering, albeit necessary, task for the human resources department.

The solution for providing necessary benefits without overburdening the human resources personnel: an international health insurance policy.

Temporary Travel Medical Insurance: These policies provide short-term coverage from five days to 12 months and are specifically designed to insure foreign nationals visiting and working in the US. Most are guaranteed issue, can become effective within 24 hours and give foreign workers the freedom to choose any doctor or hospital. Ease-of-use is the most attractive feature for policyholders.

Blanket Travel Medical and Accident Policies: These policies cover all employees and executives traveling abroad without any citizenship or country restrictions. A blanket policy ensures no employee is without coverage when working and traveling overseas.

As the world shrinks and global business grows, accommodating foreign employees will prove a must for retaining valuable international workers. If your company doesn’t currently provide international healthcare policies for your international employees, now is the time to reevaluate your benefits methods for a quicker, more satisfying experience for everyone on your global roster.

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