Employers need to fully research the healthcare system in destinations where employees are being relocated, as increasing numbers of expats return home after failing to budget adequately, Jelf Employee Benefits has warned.
The firm stated: "While figures about repatriation due to healthcare costs are not readily available, the company is increasingly hearing anecdotal evidence about the number of British people living abroad who are not able to afford the healthcare they require and therefore returning home."
It added also on the rise, were the number of cases where companies picked up "hefty" costs for employee treatments because inappropriate international PMI policies did not offer adequate cover.
Sarah Dennis, international healthcare director at Jelf, said: "There are a rising number of cases where people are forced to return to Britain to receive treatment. In some cases people return immediately as they need treatment quickly or in other cases the return is delayed but eventually inevitable, as the employer is paying an unsustainable cost for healthcare."
Jelf identified serveal factors among employer clients; not keeping up with rule changes where Governments implement a new system for expat healthcare; little or no knowledge of the cost of specific treatments for either long term health issues or emergency treatment; and poor financial planning where costs of financing employees living abroad may not be as economical as expected.
Dennis said: "I can't stress enough that outside of the UK there is no such thing as free healthcare. In most countries residents would contribute via taxes or have to pay to the local authorities, and if you are an expatriate you would need to obtain either a local level of healthcare cover or purchase an international healthcare policy.
"The benefit of the latter is that it is usually arranged prior to leaving the UK, written in compliance with UK financial standards and designed to be understood by a UK audience. By not adequately investigating local healthcare systems and properly understanding employees healthcare needs, organisations are jeopardizing their ability to successfully operate abroad."
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