International Group Insurance Products with Full Description:

Who helps you today to navigate international risk management and global benefits for expatriates, TCNs, foreign nationals and global travelers?

The 3 most important reasons to team with us for international group insurance needs are outlined below:

There is no cost to have McKinley International on "retainer" and we share advice with clients every day with no consulting fees.

If you employ expatriates and other international assignees, you never know what may cross your desk and you need a partner that can navigate ANY issue that may come your way.

Your current broker or consultant may lack international experience (99% do), and there is no conflict because we do NO U.S. domestic benefits.

For an in depth review of these international group insurance topics, please review each of the 4 white papers below:


As we demonstrate in the discussion here, Australia expatriate insurance is just one example why one size does not fit all when it comes to expatriate health insurance plans. Today, 1 global plan may not be appropriate for all international assignees.




Company ABC has expatriates going from Australia to over 15 countries. If these Australian expatriates are placed under a U.S. expat plan, will they have problems when they return to Australia after the assignment? They could. This is why expert advice is necessary.

Expatriate Insurance Australia; A study of why a "one size" expatriate health insurance plan does not fit all in 2011.

Australia has over 350,000 inpats! Of all the people working in Australia as expatriates who need healthcare, the following countries have reciprocal arrangements with Australia

Finland, Ireland, Italy, Malta, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, U.K. all have reciprocal agreement for healthcare with the Australian Medicare system. The Australian health care delivery system centers on a publicly funded national health insurance system providing high quality healthcare to all Australian citizens. Private insurance is available to Australians to pay for what Medicare does not.

The Australian health system, which works well for Australians, causes thorny tax and regulatory problems for expatriates. For example, the Medicare levy and Medicare levy surcharge, which is a total of 2.5% of income. If an inpat comes from one of the reciprocal countries, he or she is liable for the 1.5% Medicare levy but may avoid the Medicare levy surcharge by obtaining private insurance from an admitted carrier.

Standard inpats should apply for exemption from the Medicare levy and the Medicare levy surcharge at the time they apply for their work visa. They are not eligible for benefits under Medicare and must have private coverage. Membership with a local health insurer qualifies the standard inpat for direct settlement of claims and access to negotiated discounts, thus leading to lower out of pocked costs. In addition, these inpats gain access to the local insurers service resources, with its detailed knowledge of local conditions.

Inpats from reciprocal countries listed above, have access to limited coverage under Medicare. However, treatment must be "immediately necessary" or what could be defined as an emergency.

Here is one example regarding Australian expatriate insurance issues that we share with clients which demonstrates why working with a specialist in this industry makes a difference. We have the following goals for all international benefit plans designed for expatriates and local nationals:

1. Implement international benefit plans that keep employees (and dependents) satisfied. (attraction and retention tool so expatriates stay in the assignment for the full duration).

2. Keep legal liabilities and exposures to the employer to an absolute minimum (anyone that says they can extinguish ALL risk is not being truthful).

3. Transfer the risks that need to be transferred to the insurance mechanism, but make the employer aware of the exposures that may not be covered by insurance. Understanding the international risk retention element is the part most forget about and the part that hits hard only after problems arise.

4. Implement international benefit plans that are relevant to the existing situation and avoid "one size fits all" cookie cutter solutions.

Simply "placing" an insurance program with a carrier is not "comprehensive international risk management," essential to our approach. Looking at an example of an employer that has the following international population can demonstrate the differences.

U.S. citizens working in Japan as expatriates for over 1 year 12
U.S. citizens working overseas on short term assignments of 6 months 4 - 6 at a time
British nationals working in the U.S. 6
Australian Nationals working in Japan as expatriates 15

 

Case Study, Australian Expatriates Departing Australia

If part of a global expatriate group is composed of Australian expatriates (Australian nationals working outside of Australia), this group needs to be segmented from the rest of the expatriate population, and a thorough needs analysis should take place before a solution can be offered.

Before we begin it's important to note that medical insurance works differently in Australia than it does in the United States and Canada. Decisions on private insurance are left to the individual and "group medical" coverage sponsored "in the name of" the employer" is not common. An Australian chooses a private health insurer as an individual. All Australians have access to government provided healthcare as well through Medicare. The proper international medical solution needs to take all of the following into account BEFORE the quotation process:

Before a solution can be presented for expatriates from Australia, we need to ask…

1. Have the Australian expats been enrolled in a Registered Health Benefit Organization (private insurance) in addition to Medicare, or were they relying on Medicare only while in Australia?

2. Have individuals suspended coverage with their RHBO in anticipation of their expat assignment, or are some still enrolled and paying monthly premium "as active" participants?

3. Are Australian expatriates still eligible for the Australian Medicare system by filing annual taxes in Australia as the home country, and annually paying the 1.5% Medicare levy on income required of all Australians to support the Medicare system of national health insurance.

4. Does the Australian expat population include members coming from a combination of the situations described above with no consistency among them?

5. Who is the current global expatriate provider (for claims outside of Australia, in a case where expats are already on assignment away from Australia)?

Only after 1 through 5 are examined above, can an international insurer put together the proper solution that meets the needs of the employer.

In most situations, it would be common to find that most Australian expatriates do maintain some form of private insurance over and above Medicare while in Australia and before the expat assignment. There are two reasons for this: 1) a Medicare levy surcharge of 1% is applied to any Australian making over $50,000 ($100,000 family) that does not choose to enroll in private medical insurance, and most expats make over the maximum and cannot avoid the tax. 2) Most middle and higher income employees will choose private health insurance to have access to the best quality of care, and to have more expenses eligible for reimbursement.

Assuming most Australian expats do have a form of private coverage (with their choice of RHBO), we find most will have suspended their coverage for the duration of the assignment. This means a global health insurer needs to be able to pay eligible medical claims outside of Australia as well as inside Australia when the expat returns for short periods of time (vacation, family visits, etc).

Unless a solution is put in place that takes all of the above into consideration, it leaves an employer with a far bigger problem than employee satisfaction problems. Employers could face much larger legal and tax problems that are not easily rectified.

We could go through this same exercise on the other international populations as well (like the Brits in the U.S. in this example)

This exercise with the Australians is centered on Medical insurance only. The same analysis needs to be done for each relevant line of insurance which can include all of the following: International medical, dental, vision, property, liability, vacant homeowners, property in storage, workers compensation, medical evacuation and assistance, kidnap & ransom, life, disability, pension, PTD, etc.

In this case, proposing a "one size fits all" solution to this group of Australian expatriates without first considering all of the above, could put the employer and employee in legal jeopardy, and create coverage gaps.

Australians are encouraged to buy healthcare when they are young and maintain this coverage for life. It penalizes them if they do not do this. Currently, many Australian expats will maintain a "suspended" membership with an Australian insurer so that their private coverage is continuous, and they will not be penalized. It would make more sense for them to participate in the alliance approach, where they would have active coverage globally.

Expatriate Insurance Australia Needs Chart (1 to 10 with 10 being a critical need) Looks at the need for expatriate insurance vs. what can be obtained in the local market or what many not even be needed for an expatriate assignment in Australia.

Expatriate Medical Insurance in Australia 7
International Medical Evacuation in Australia (with assistance) 2
Expatriate Life Insurance in Australia 8
Expatriate Disability Insurance in Australia 8
Cross Cultural Training for Australia (for U.S. expatriates) 2
International EAP in Australia (for U.S. expats) 4
International Workers Compensation Insurance Australia depends on the expat medical plan
Expatriate Property Insurance in Australia 7
Expatriate Liability Insurance in Australia 7
Kidnap and Ransom Insurance Australia 1
Emergency Security Planning / Evacuation Plan 1
Local Admitted Coverage Needed for Expatriates in Australia 10
Place Australian Local Nationals under an offshore or U.S. expat plan Not Advised
Australian healthcare system works in the United States No
Repatriation of Remains Australia for Expatriates (insurance to return remains) 7
Auto Insurance Compulsory Limits for Bodily Injury and Property Damage BI Unlimted, No standards on PD
Operators of Vehicles insured: Insured covered and any licensed person driving with insueds permission including an insured driving a temp vehicle like U.S. standard

In Australia, something called the Medicare Levy, paid by Australian citizens, is 1.5% as of 2012. This tax is then supplemented by something called the the Medicare Levy Surcharge, which is applicable to those who do NOT carry private hospital insurance coverage. Currently, the MLS is 1%; however, effective from 1 July 2012, the charge will increase to 1.25% or to 1.5% for those in another tier.

A publication of the Australian government says that the surcharge “aims to encourage individuals to take out private hospital cover…”

The Medicare Levy and Medicare Levy Surcharge can apply to expatriates working in Australia. For more information please contact McKinley International Risk Management, experts in expatriate health care in Australia.