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Expat Investor : May June 2009
EXPAT HEALTH Continued from page 13 quality of medical facilities available to you. If you are living in Spain, bottom line benefits are the ability to access good quality healthcare. HONG KONG MediCare outlines the must-have bottom line benefits for a married couple with two children expatriated to Hong Kong. The couple are a male early forties, a female late thirties, two children both under the age of 12. Data produced by Medicare International recently shows just how important it is to have proper, comprehensive cover for even life’s most ordinary risks when abroad. A broken arm or Sinusitis, two apparently minor complications, but clients of Medicare International have recently had to pay out over £10,000 in medical expenses in both cases. Fortunately, these bills were refunded in full within Medicare International’s normal 10 day turnaround, so the client was not out of pocket at all. Medical bills can and do mount up quickly, particularly in high-cost treatment centres such as Hong Kong. Add in the cost of ongoing treatment and drugs or rehabilitation care and X-rays and very quickly the most ordinary accident can end up costing many thousands of pounds. These ancillary costs are likely to be particularly common in small children, where the care routine is often more complex. Most policies will cover inpatient and emergency evacuation costs, but it is certainly well worth checking how the issue of chronic care, that is the ongoing costs of drugs and associated treatments, is covered, as not all policies are equal in this respect. Medicare International does offer full cover and peace of mind in this potentially open ended area of cost. For a young married couple who may go on to have further children, comprehensive maternity Health issues in France A country profile from AXA PPP Healthcare care is a must. Hong Kong is a particularly high-cost centre for medical treatment, but the quality of local facilities is generally very good. That said, if a couple do decide to have children locally, they could be looking at hospital bills running into many thousands of pounds, if they are not insured, particularly if there are complications during the birth requiring emergency intervention. DUBAI Rosanna Turner, Marketing Manager for William Russell, outlines the must-have bottom line benefits for a single male, aged 28, expatriated to Dubai. Many young people are attracted to Dubai by the lure of high tax-free earnings. Twenty-eight-year-old Richard Adams is just one of the many expatriates who flock to the Middle East each year to improve their lifestyle. Expatriates do not have access to free state-funded medical facilities in Dubai, and anyone hoping to fund their own private health care should be warned that an expensive claim has the potential to wipe out all of their personal savings and leave them with substantial debt. Richard couldn’t afford to take the risk and, as Dubai will be enforcing compulsory PMI for expatriates anyway, he opted for a value-for-money plan.William Russell’s Global Health Elite Bronze plan offers him world-wide cover for the bottom-line medical costs like hospitalisation, surgery and medical evacuation for $77.38 a month with a nil excess. ● Hospitalisation ● In-patient and out-patient surgery ● Emergency in-patient dental ● In-patient psychiatric care ● Organ transplants ● Treatment for cancer ● Post-hospital GP visits, treatment and tests ● Post-hospital complementary medicine, physiotherapy, and outpatient psychiatric care ● Hospice care ● Home nursing ● Emergency evacuation Richard could have upgraded to the Silver plan for an extra $51.97 a month, giving him additional cover for emergency ward treatment, care for chronic conditions, preventive health screening, and full GP visits, treatment and tests. But Richard is happy to stay on a standard plan and pay for GP visits and dental care out of his own pocket. Alternatively, he could have saved 20% on the Global Health Essential Care plan. However, his cover would have been limited in certain countries outside his region, with lower benefit limits, semi-private room accommodation and no psychiatric care or home nursing. By choosing international cover, Richard’s plan goes wherever he does, offering him full cover all over the world, excluding the USA. This means that he doesn’t have to cancel his plan and lose cover for existing medical conditions if he decides to relocate elsewhere in the future. given a carte vitale, which is the green card that provides them with health treatment rights in France. The changes have caused concern, with people becoming worried about the amount they will have to pay for private medical insurance. A 50year-old with no previous medical history can expect to pay from around £800 for European health insurance cover, and this will tend to increase with age and medical inflation. People with previous medical history may find it difficult to find a medical insurance provider that will cover them for their preexisting conditions. According to the Institute for Public Policy Research, there are currently 200,000 Brits residing in France, and there has also been concern amongst groups of people who are already living there that the law will be retrospective and they will lose their rights to the CMU. At the moment , the law only applies to those thinking of and in the process of moving to France. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office states: “British nationals planning a permanent move to France, especially those who have not yet reached retirement age, should consult the UK Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) at the earliest opportunity to obtain advice on their longer-term entitlement as residents to health care provision under the French national system.” As with all new laws, there could Changes in healthcare legislation being put into place within some European countries are causing Brits who are living or thinking of moving abroad to be concerned that they are no longer eligible for state healthcare in their chosen country, and fear that they may now face large medical bills and insurance premiums. One example of governments changing the state healthcare 14 EXPAT INVESTOR ● eligibility for expats is in France. Nicolas Sarkozy, the President of France, is facing a challenge to boost the country’s economy and cut costs, and he has introduced a new law that he feels will help towards this goal. The new law means that the state will no longer pay for the healthcare services of expatriates who retire early to France and who do not work, and they will be expected to take out private medical May/June 2009 insurance to pay for any medical costs they may incur. Once they are 65 years old, these people will be eligible for health cover paid for by the government of their native country, for example Brits will be covered by the British government via an E121 form. Also, if they are in employment in France they will be able to pay into the French social security health system, the Couverture Maladie Universelle expatinvestor.com (CMU) and receive state subsidised healthcare. Before this law was introduced Brits were able to arrive in France with an E106 form, which was valid for 2 years and entitled them to use the CMU. They would then pay for their own treatment and claim around 70% of the cost back from their local CMU office. After this two- year period, they would become a citizen of France and be be more changes made, so it is important that you keep up-to-date with the legislation of the country you are moving to and ensure you have all of the relevant provisions in place to protect you and your family in place before you move. The change in health system regulations in France has already been put into place within other European countries such as Spain and Portugal and the idea is for EU citizens to have health cover and other sufficient resources in place before moving to a different EU country so that they are not a drain on the country’s economy.
March April 2009