Home » Expat Focus International Healthcare Update June 2020

Expat Focus International Healthcare Update June 2020

Money International reports this month that it has compiled some statistics on the likelihood of male expats to return home, if possible, in the event of a health crisis such as Covid. The pandemic has caused a number of expats to rethink their choice of location, given not only the sudden difficulties of travel, but also the economic impact of the pandemic on local monetary and employment systems. With health insurance being squeezed out of a number of employment packages, and possible unrest in traditional retirement locales, expats are reaching the conclusion that it might be better to seek medical care at home.According to MI, specific concerns included:

• quality of treatment (26%)
• costs of treatment (26%), including upfront fees (15%)
• standard of medical facilities (18%)
• discussing medical issues in a foreign language (12%)
• isolation from family and friends while ill (15%)

Although the Money International study only focused on men, many of these concerns will be relevant to expats of all genders.

Since the beginning of 2020, approximately 323,000 workers have already departed Saudi Arabia, due partly to changes in health insurance coverage for expats.

A large number of expats, or those considering a relocation abroad for their retirement, are now rethinking their plans. This is mainly due to healthcare: Covid hits the oldest the hardest, and access to hospitals with ventilators and properly funded infrastructure suddenly becomes an issue.

This may run counter to a recent survey of expats by the deVere Group, who found earlier in the year that 6 out of 10 Britons had determined not to move back to the UK. They say that the ‘pull’ factors of overseas life outweigh those of the UK, but the UK’s ‘push’ factors (fears surrounding Brexit, political issues, the cost of living, and more) were sufficient to keep British expats from coming back home. Covid 19 and its impact may well have changed the situation.


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The situation in some nations currently emerging from lockdown is more hopeful and positive, however. Malaysia is re-opening its borders, for example, but only to certain groups: these include medical tourists. You can enter the country for this purpose by going via the Health Ministry, registering with the Malaysia Healthcare Travel Council and undergoing a Covid-19 test; you will be taken to the hospital immediately and will not require home quarantine.

With the recent pandemic in mind, it might be advisable to check your current international health insurance and see what they have to say about coverage under the ‘new normal.’ Some providers are going further and taking active steps to help with the situation: New York Life and Cigna, for example, have created the Brave of Heart Fund, which is dedicated to assisting healthcare workers and their families. The Fund is designed to provide financial support in the form of charitable relief grants to support the families of healthcare workers who lose their lives to COVID-19. Cigna’s behavioral health will also provide support and services, via its Mindfulness for Healthcare Workers program.

Most health insurance providers will cover cover the costs of treatment for Covid-19 in the same way as for other viral infections. However, policies will vary between providers: make sure that you are aware of the contents of your policy. For instance, if you need out-patient care, you’ll need to have out-patient cover included in your policy. You will not be able to get a policy which covers the illness if you currently have Covid, and if you have had the disease, then you will need to discuss this with your insurance provider, as some policies may not cover you depending on how seriously you had the virus (for example, if you have been hospitalised with ongoing health issues caused by the virus).

The UK FCO is advising British travellers abroad to contact their health or travel insurance providers if they are getting low on medication. They suggest that you should not wait until your supplies of medication or equipment are low. In many countries medicines and equipment are not easily available and the pandemic may have affected supply chains.

The FCO says that this is particularly important if you were advised to take malaria prevention tablets (chemoprophylaxis). If you do run low, are unable to get further supplies and cannot return home, they advise that you remain especially vigilant with bite precautions. If you develop a fever or other illness, try to get to reputable medical care straight away.

Remember to keep checking government advice regarding isolation and quarantine regulations if you are travelling. As much of the world emerges from lockdown, regulations surrounding travel in different nations keep changing, sometimes on a daily basis, as governments change policies depending on new information.

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Latest Videos

In this short video, we dive into the significant health care updates and changes happening globally in 2024. From Germany's insurance cost adjustments to Cyprus's renewed COVID-19 precautions, we cover the essential news you need to know.  Germany's Health Insurance Update:  Starting in 2024, residents in Germany will see a slight increase in their health insurance costs, with a 0.1% rise to a maximum of 1.7%. This adjustment aims to expand coverage for medical care not currently included in statutory health insurance, such as select dental treatments, IVF, and early cancer screenings.  COVID-19 Measures Reintroduced in Cyprus:  With over 3000 new COVID-19 cases, Cyprus is stepping up its game by reintroducing health measures. Requirements now include proof of a negative COVID-19 test for entry into various facilities, emphasizing the importance of vaccination, especially for the elderly, to combat the evolving virus strains.  Free Health Trials in Trieste, Italy:  Trieste launches an initiative for free health screenings, including echocardiograms and blood tests, focusing on preventive care against non-communicable diseases. This move underscores the city's commitment to improving public health through early detection and prevention.  Spain's New Health Advice App:  Madrid introduces a groundbreaking app offering reliable health advice to counteract the widespread misinformation online. This app, part of the 'Madrid Te Cuida' initiative, will guide users to accurate information, from diet tips to medical queries, ensuring the advice is vetted by health professionals.  Expat Satisfaction with Healthcare in Mexico:  A study reveals that expat retirees in Mexico are largely content with the healthcare quality and costs, with many citing significant savings compared to the United States without compromising on care quality. This insight sheds light on the growing trend of healthcare tourism and relocation for medical reasons.  Stay tuned as we unpack these updates, providing you with the insights and implications of these healthcare changes. Whether it's the impact on your wallet or the quality of care you can expect, we've got you covered in this comprehensive overview of health care in 2024. Don't forget to like, share, and subscribe for more health news around the globe!

In this short video, we dive into the significant health care updates and changes happening globally in 2024. From Germany's insurance cost adjustments to Cyprus's renewed COVID-19 precautions, we cover the essential news you need to know.

Germany's Health Insurance Update:

Starting in 2024, residents in Germany will see a slight increase in their health insurance costs, with a 0.1% rise to a maximum of 1.7%. This adjustment aims to expand coverage for medical care not currently included in statutory health insurance, such as select dental treatments, IVF, and early cancer screenings.

COVID-19 Measures Reintroduced in Cyprus:

With over 3000 new COVID-19 cases, Cyprus is stepping up its game by reintroducing health measures. Requirements now include proof of a negative COVID-19 test for entry into various facilities, emphasizing the importance of vaccination, especially for the elderly, to combat the evolving virus strains.

Free Health Trials in Trieste, Italy:

Trieste launches an initiative for free health screenings, including echocardiograms and blood tests, focusing on preventive care against non-communicable diseases. This move underscores the city's commitment to improving public health through early detection and prevention.

Spain's New Health Advice App:

Madrid introduces a groundbreaking app offering reliable health advice to counteract the widespread misinformation online. This app, part of the 'Madrid Te Cuida' initiative, will guide users to accurate information, from diet tips to medical queries, ensuring the advice is vetted by health professionals.

Expat Satisfaction with Healthcare in Mexico:

A study reveals that expat retirees in Mexico are largely content with the healthcare quality and costs, with many citing significant savings compared to the United States without compromising on care quality. This insight sheds light on the growing trend of healthcare tourism and relocation for medical reasons.

Stay tuned as we unpack these updates, providing you with the insights and implications of these healthcare changes. Whether it's the impact on your wallet or the quality of care you can expect, we've got you covered in this comprehensive overview of health care in 2024. Don't forget to like, share, and subscribe for more health news around the globe!

YouTube Video UCB21b-C4O2aXm7H18_GsXMQ_nC_Fs6gU22U

Expat Focus International Healthcare Update January 2024

Expat Focus 31 January 2024 10:36 am

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