Just under a quarter of employers would like to provide international health insurance to staff abroad but simply cannot afford to, according to a report.
Expacare's Anatomy of an international business analysed employers' attitudes to providing international health cover for employees and revealed that one third of employers consider it a personal choice for employees. However, over a quarter (28%) of employers view international health insurance as essential for any staff working abroad.
The insurer identified a lack of knowledge around what is needed when positioning staff abroad in terms of health cover, with just 16% of respondents revealing that they think travel insurance covers their staff's health needs overseas.
In addition, one in ten employers believed that there is no need for health insurance while operating within the EU. The healthcare insurance provider said that employers must be familiar with the requirements of where they are posting their staff as well as any policies purchased.
Expacare managing director Beverly Cook said: "The research shows a lack of understanding among 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. Meanwhile others risk omitting some crucial elements from the cover.
"In addition, while many have good intentions, we were shocked to see that so many believe 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," she added.
The survey showed that employers were aware of the elements that they considered most important on an international healthcare plan. A fifth viewed cancer cover as one of the most vital parts of a policy, while nearly two-fifths believed medical evacuation was crucial.
Furthermore a quarter valued a 24-hour medical helpline (26%) and just over a quarter wanted their staff to have a choice of medical facilities and doctors (27%).
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