Expatriate workers looking to have children should be aware of the high cost of private maternity care and childbirth overseas, an insurer has urged.
Medicare International research, conducted by Mintel, found 50% of expatriates have no international private medical insurance (IPMI), yet 55% may be accompanied abroad by their spouses and family.
The insurer said planning ahead is crucial, particularly as expatriate medical insurance is only likely to come into force once a potential mother has been enrolled in an international health insurance plan for a continuous period of 12 months prior to birth.
In practice, this means cover needs to be put in place well before falling pregnant.
All costs and treatment incurred which relate to a pregnancy before the end of this 12 month period are excluded from cover and if individuals are pregnant before moving overseas, they will not be able to IPMI to cover the costs of pregnancy.
Assuming a normal pregnancy which runs to term, the cost of giving birth in a private hospital varies considerably, Medicare International said.
The insurer added that a problem-free childbirth in the Middle East would normally be expected to cost around $4000, whereas in the USA, costs are more likely to start at $15,000.
With complications, such as the requirement for a caesarean section and costs can easily rise by $14,000 in many hospitals around the world.
Debbie Purser, managing director at MediCare International said: "While for the vast majority, childbirth is a problem free event, for those planning their first child, the research shows that there is a heighted risk, albeit a small one.
"For this reason, it is particularly important to have appropriate private international medical cover in place early, something we recommend all families do preferably before they leave the UK."