The world is an increasingly smaller place – or so it is said. With almost any country on Earth accessible by a mere day's flight, it seems more people are taking the opportunity to work abroad.
We see this on a global scale, with millions of people heading abroad to offer their skills to different regions and reinforce some of the most important industries worldwide.
But what happens to the health insurance policies of these travellers? Can a general insurer offer the same level of cover as a local one – a health insurance provider that knows the risks and can help mitigate against some common circumstances? It is certainly a concern for migrant workers – particularly ones in high-risk professions.
To help offer better health insurance coverage for expatriates, a new partnership between the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association and Bupa has opened a new door for international health care. The partnership, GeoBlue, is designed to offer people living and working in foreign lands wider and better access to local medical care.
In a recent media release to the insurance broker network, Bupa outlined the scale of the new health insurance initiative, which it says will create the largest health care network in the world.
"Customers will now have access to the largest global health care provider network, including 11,500 hospitals and 750,000 medical professionals in 190 countries," Bupa explained.
The new cooperative partnership will allow insurance customers access to a wide network of 65,000 pharmacies where prescribed medications can be purchased at a discounted price, Bupa also announced.
International health insurance
Australian businesses sending their employees abroad may find the new partnership beneficial to their corporate health insurance, with policies offering flexibility and transferable insurance coverage.
Both individuals and organisations with foreign presence can find a greater level of coverage for Australians working abroad with this initiative. However, this doesn't mean a strong health insurance plan will not be needed, as finding the right level of cover is the only way to achieve total health insurance protection.
Having the correct standard of health care is also mandatory for 457 visa holders entering Australia; though, this type of care may not be enough to satisfy visa requirements. Inpatriates as well as expats should discuss their requirements with a local insurance broker to ensure health insurance levels are met.
For businesses, overseas employees, or individuals travelling abroad, HICA is in a position to provide advice. For help creating a health insurance plan that works for you and your business, contact us online or call 1300 44 22 01, or +61 3 9439 9888 for overseas callers.