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Expat Investor : March 2008
24 hour multi-lingual helpline Call +44 (0) 1273 208181 www.bupa-intl.com Your calls will be recorded and may be monitored "I feel special because they speak to me in my language" The above example draws from the experiences of a number of our members or staff; it is not intended to represent the details of any specific individuals or their circumstances. If you need to make a claim, would you want to speak to someone who will understand your needs? To get the feeling, there's only one number to call. approved medical insurance policy. If a company opts to purchase/provide an unapproved by ADHA health insurance coverage for its employees, these employees will not be issued with a residence visa, meaning they will be unable to open a bank account, rent a property or enrol their children in local schools. For those providers whose plans fulfil the requirements of the ADHA, this is a prime opportunity to increase sales in this country." Whereas these developments do present private medical insurance providers with a range of opportunities, Ms Zito stresses that hand-in-hand with opportunity come regulatory obligations. "Insurers must comply with legislative and regulatory requirements in all territories where they offer cover and be able to assure customers the cover is suitable for their needs. "This requirement may be addressed in a number of ways, ranging from setting up a stand- alone and fully licensed operation, to establishing a branch or, alternatively, forming a partnership whereby the insurer has a local partner, with sales offices and products to service the needs of the customer and fulfil the requirements of local legislation. For example, in many South East Asian or Middle Eastern territories InterGlobal has partnered with local insurance companies who, in conjunction with InterGlobal, have developed a locally licensed coverage for individuals and groups." These developments have also been uppermost in the minds of healthcare insurance provider Norwich Union Healthcare. Martin Banks is Head of its international division and he points out that making the decision to move abroad is a calculated risk. "Many are happy to leave familiar surroundings for the sake of their career or lifestyle but how many include their health when making that calculated decision?" Mr Banks reminds us that British expatriates have no absolute right to NHS treatment in the UK once they are resident abroad for over HEALTH INSURANCE expatinvestor.com 16 EXPAT INVESTOR March 2008 Fast Facts 33008 three months: the European Health Card only provides access to emergency treatment in countries where the card-holder is not ordinarily resident, and expatriate rights of access to publicly-funded health services vary from country to country as do the quality of health facilities. "It is vitally important that expatriates understand what access they have to health systems in their new countries of residence," says Mr Banks. "The French government announcement that unemployed expatriates below French retirement age will be required to purchase private health insurance caused concern for many early retirees in France. Subsequent clarification that the rule will not apply to those resident for an uninterrupted five year period has provided relief to only a few. "Other countries will be observing the situation with interest. Ageing populations place increasing strain on social security systems through pension and health costs. Limiting rights of access for those who are regarded as not having made adequate financial contributions to the system in order to reduce overall costs should probably not have come as such a surprise. We may see similar initiatives elsewhere." Mr Banks notes that some jurisdictions, notably Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi, have made health insurance a pre-requisite for an employment visa. "Dubai has begun a consultation process on making PMI compulsory for expatriates; it is not yet clear whether the Dubai authorities will partner with a commercial player as Abu Dhabi has done. Insurers have voiced concern that minimum cover requirements may differ from one emirate to another. Consistency has much to recommend it to the authorities, providers, intermediaries and ultimately customers who will benefit from greater competition between insurers." William Russell has recently set its sights on the Far East for new opportunities. Nigel Harris, The times they are a-changing and, as AXA PPP Healthcare points out, a notable change for expats based in France has bitten some rather hard. President Sarkozy has introduced a new law stating that all non-working/retired expatriates under the age of 65 will no longer be eligible for the Couverture Maladie Universelle (CMU). This means that there is now a requirement for expatriates living in France to purchase private medical insurance (PMI). "Many PMI providers have previously shied away from countries such as France, as the high standards of their state healthcare system (that all expatriates previously qualified for) presented little opportunities," explains International Marketing Controller, Kate Lovell. And, it isn't just France ringing the changes on healthcare provision for non-nationals. "In attempts to ease growing stress and pressure on the local state health systems in the Middle East, the governments in Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain are developing legislation that will subsequently require all expatriates to purchase PMI," warns Ms Lovell. Barbara Zito, Group Sales and Marketing Director, InterGlobal, expands on the theme. "Increased global mobility of families looking for a better quality of life abroad or businesses sending employees overseas means more expatriates accessing publicly funded resources, such as healthcare. Some governments have reacted by introducing legislation meant to protect local resources specifically affecting expatriates. "For example, in Abu Dhabi, UAE, where expatriates outnumber local nationals, all expatriate workers are now legally required to show evidence of an Abu Dhabi Health Authority (ADHA) Times they are a-changing Expats are urged to be aware of changing healthcare provision in many key locations and assess what impact this will have on their own insurance needs.
January February 2008