1 in 4 employers can’t afford insurance for expat staff

afford expat medical insurance

16% of businesses think travel insurance will cover staff working overseas.

Despite recognising the importance of correct medical insurance, a quarter of UK businesses cannot afford to arrange health insurance for employees overseas, reports The Telegraph. The survey of 1,000 decision makers from UK companies, commissioned by Expacare, found a worrying 16 percent thought travel insurance would cover their staff.

Travel insurance covers some health expenses and emergencies, but is designed for short trips abroad and cannot be extended after the policy expiry date. This leaves overseas employees open to huge medical bills and the possibility of being refused treatment if they don’t have sufficient insurance.

Beverly Cook, the managing director of insurer Expacare, told the Telegraph, “Far too many think that simple travel insurance or sending their employees to the EU will mean that they will be covered, should the worst happen.”

Financial worries could explain the unwillingness to distinguish between travel and international health insurance. A quarter of businesses said they would like to provide cover but are unable to afford to do so.

The One Poll survey highlighted the aspects of an insurance policy which employers felt were the most important. Key considerations were medical evacuation, a 24-hour helpline, and a choice of medical facilities or doctors.

Over a quarter (27%) of companies said staff abroad had used emergency evacuation when medical treatment wasn’t available locally, and a similar percentage made use of a 24-hour helpline.

Aside from health insurance, nearly a third of the companies polled said a relocation allowance was important for their employees, as well as a private education for children. Despite a lack of awareness around travel versus health insurance, businesses do have a good idea of what to include in a benefits package.

“Health is clearly a concern for business leaders and with the health provision so good in the UK, it is important that employees are properly covered when overseas, said Beverly Cook.

“Businesses moving overseas need to look after their most important asset, their staff, and check the small print on policies to ensure that their workforce remains healthy and productive.”