A quarter of employers wanting to provide international health insurance to staff abroad cannot afford it, according to an insurer report.
Expacare's Anatomy of an International Business research examined employer attitudes which showed only one third of employers considered it a personal choice for employees, while 28% viewed international health insurance as essential.
Beverly Cook, managing director of Expacare, said: "The research shows a lack of understanding amongst employers of how best to care for their staff working internationally. Due to costs, some employers are simply not offering international health insurance to employees working abroad."
Healthcare inflation is currently at an all-time high, meaning businesses are ever more wary of costly insurance.
A fifth thought having cancer cover was one of the most important parts of a policy and two-fifths said medical evacuation was crucial, while a quarter valued a 24-hour medical helpline.
A third wanted staff to have a choice of medical facilities and doctors yet palliative cancer cover was an overlooked element on policies for nine out of ten.
Only a fifth said cover for acute episodes of a chronic condition should be covered but could prove "very costly".
And 16% thought travel insurance covered their staff's health needs overseas with a further one in ten saying that when operating in the EU there is no need for health insurance.
Cook said: "Some risk omitting some crucial elements from the cover. Businesses need to fine tune the right policies to decide where cost savings can be made."
"We were shocked to see that so many believed travel insurance would cover all healthcare needs. I cannot stress enough how valuable it is for employers to research the country they are sending their employees to and understand the risks.
"Often businesses will take a ‘one size fits all' approach to their policy, but this can mean cover is often lacking just where it is most needed."
Guy Jones, managing director of Berwick Devoil Healthcare, said the firm had seen both lack of education about need for IPMI and concern about cost.
He said: "There is a lack of understanding about when to have an IPMI scheme and when to have travel insurance policy. For example, for some who remain in the UK and commute abroad every week they may not necessarily need IPMI cover.
"But if a business is sending staff abroad then IPMI has to be a compulsory part of remuneration packages. Cost is a consideration but I would not say it was a barrier."
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The official supplement of this year's COVER Excellence Awards is available to read now as an eBook.
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