The Crucial Role of Health Insurance for Foreign Workers

 Jun 28, 2024 | 4 Min Read

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Caring for your globally mobile workforce should start with securing their health. Access to global health insurance is crucial for successful expat assignments. It not only reduces the likelihood of failed assignments, which can cost up to $2.5 million each according to Mercer’s Worldwide Survey of International Assignments, but also helps in retaining top talent, boosting productivity, and enhancing the overall employee experience abroad. We explore the crucial role international health insurance plays for foreign workers. 
Employers need to be aware of the additional health risks and challenges expats can face when seeking care abroad. Depending on the location, the level of care your employees are accustomed to at home might not be available or easily accessible in their host country. They may also face challenges with language barriers and navigating unfamiliar healthcare systems. These barriers not only complicate accessing preventative care but also emergency care as an expat. 
For expats on assignments in high-risk destinations, such as remote or underdeveloped parts of the world, face increased health dangers. This can include limited access to medication or medical facilities, lower sanitary conditions, and dangerous infectious diseases. In some parts of the world, even severe environmental risks are higher, impacting an expat's health and experience. Employers must recognise these risks involved. Ensuring expat employees have the right international health insurance in place to manage and limit these risks.
More and more expat visas require assignees to have international health insurance as part of their work visa and entry requirements. Even if your assignee's host country offers free or publicly funded health care, they might not be entitled to the care they need. The push for mandatory medical insurance for foreign workers has increased since the global pandemic. With local legislation in place for international assignments this helps to reduce any added pressure on public health systems worldwide.

In some serious situations, your expat employee might not have access to the care they need, which is where medical evacuation and repatriation coverage is required. This is even more crucial for expats working in remote parts of the world with limited access to medical care. Repatriation cover will help them return home for treatment without facing the high travel and care costs. 


In case of death while working abroad, repatriation also covers the cost of returning remains to your expat's home country. Repatriation cover can provide expats with peace of mind, knowing that financial costs will be covered if they ever experience a serious or life-threatening illness while working abroad. As the employer, you need to consider all the challenges your employees might face when relocating.

Studies have shown that expats have a higher risk of struggling with their mental health. This can be anything from mild to severe depression, and anxiety. Adjusting to a new location and role can leave expats feeling stressed and overwhelmed. A recent survey of globally mobile employees across 12 markets found that 86% of expats reported high stress levels. This was influenced by a combination of financial challenges, home sickness and difficulties in accessing health care. 


International health insurance is made for expats so that these unique risk factors and needs are met. Providing medical insurance for foreign workers will allow them to reach out and get the support they need when struggling with their mental health. 


At Allianz Partners, our international health care plans for employers include our Expat Assistance Programme. Offering professional multilingual support available 24 hours a day for mental, financial, physical, and emotional well-being. Help your expat employees navigate their new life and access the care they need. Contact us today to discuss our international health insurance plans for employers.