Expat Employers May be Placing Their Workers at Risk

Many companies do not understand internation healthcare requirements

New research suggests that UK expats who are living and working overseas are being placed at risk due to their employers’ lack of understanding of international medical requirements.

The research, which was completed by Jelf Employee Benefits, an independent consultancy that advices firms on employee benefits, found that just 5% of employers in the U.K. were able to confirm that they understood the rules governing international healthcare in the countries in which they had placed overseas staff. This should be of major concern to U.K. expats who may be at risk should they find their policy is inadequate and they need to make a claim.

A further 38% of the U.K. firms that took place in the survey revealed that they did have concerns that the healthcare cover that they had provided to their employees was not adequate and 69% of them felt that it was too difficult to stay abreast of the international healthcare rules that presided over their overseas employees.

Despite the lack of understanding of the rules, 98% of those companies surveyed admitted that they knew that their employees were unaware of this risk and relied as them as employers to ensure that their health care coverage was adequate. Discussing the results, Sarah Dennis, director of international healthcare at Jelf Employee Benefits commented: “Employers are only too aware that they are also falling short in the eye of their employees: nearly a third believe their staff feel they didn’t have adequate cover for themselves and 43% believe their staff feel they have inadequate cover for their dependents.

“Employees with any concerns should raise the issue with their HR department. Whilst we strongly believe the onus shouldn’t be on the employee, having inadequate cover can be, quite simply, catastrophic for all of those involved: their employer will certainly want to iron out any issues before it’s too late and they end up paying for treatment directly for staff and potentially being fined too.”