Employees abroad need international health insurance

When we think about some of the most popular computers, electronics and cars, “Sold in the USA” is quickly replacing “Made in the USA” as the new norm. While the expansion of many US companies has slowed due to the recent recession, business is booming for emerging markets around the world. Multinational corporations competing for global customers have thrown their hats in the ring by establishing subsidiaries with local sales, manufacturing and distribution channels.

In the race for global presence, foreign companies have flooded the US market to capture the highly valued US customer. according to Uniworld Business Publications, there are more than 3,000 foreign-based companies with subsidiaries, branches, or sister offices in the US.

With a hybrid workforce made up of U.S. citizens, foreign nationals and key executives from abroad, the human resources and benefits directors of foreign companies are tasked with managing a myriad of benefits in growing geographies and with wildly varying international regulatory agencies . Benefit drivers new to the US market are simply not aware of the many insurance options when insuring foreign nationals working in the US. In an effort to simplify matters, we note that most employees, regardless of nationality or citizenship, are enrolled in their U.S. company’s group health and benefits plans. But this is rarely the best method.

Seasoned international HR managers know the difficulties of educating their foreign employees regarding policy benefits, deductibles, co-payments, PPO and HMO networks. Traditional domestic group health insurance plans assume that employees are familiar with understanding insurance terminology, locating participating physicians and hospitals, seeking referrals, obtaining prequalifications, and filing claim paperwork.

Foreign workers who come from countries with socialized or national health care are unfamiliar with navigating the complexities of the U.S. health care system and, for good reason, become overwhelmed with the process of seeking medical care in the U.S.

Over the next two years, six executives from a leading Asian stock exchange will work for six months at the company’s branch in a major metropolitan area in the US. They go back to Asia for three months before returning to the US branch for another nine months. The company’s U.S. health insurance is not designed to accommodate executives’ frequent travel schedules. Moreover, the additional registration and deregistration forms add a burdensome, albeit necessary, task to the personnel department.

The solution to provide the necessary benefits without overloading the staff: an international health insurance.

Temporary medical travel 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 have a guaranteed issue, can take effect in 24 hours, and give foreign workers the freedom to choose a doctor or hospital. Ease of use is the most attractive feature for policyholders.

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General Travel Medical and Accident Policies: These policies apply to all employees and executives traveling abroad without any nationality or country restrictions. A general policy ensures that no employee is left without cover when working and traveling abroad.

As the world shrinks and international trade grows, accommodating foreign workers will prove to be a must to retain valuable international workers. If your company is not currently offering international healthcare policies for your international employees, now is the time to reevaluate your benefits methods for a faster, more satisfying experience for everyone in your global roster.