Expat private healthcare costs to soar in 2017

Published:  28 Feb at 6 PM
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Expats on overseas assignments consider heathcare one of the most valuable add-ons to relocation packages, but policies and costs can change year by year.

In the increasingly unsteady world of 2017, being covered via your employer by a comprehensive private health insurance package is an absolute must. From exotic infections through accidents and even terrorist activities, the reassurance of full coverage for expats and their families is even more crucial than in previous years.

Expats across the world need coverage relevant to their locations, with one very real risk about to be covered by at least one company. Cover related to terror attacks hasn’t previously been available, but is likely to become very popular with expatriates working in or near affected areas. Premiums are being calculated using the likelihood of attacks in particular locations and the projected costs of medical assistance.

Dubai’s expat community is complaining about the low levels of cover offered for dependents, especially for those located in Sharjah and the northern emirates. Disappointment is being felt about the basic, compulsory expat package offered by a number of companies as it doesn’t include these regions. According to Dubai’s government, discussions are underway with private heath insurance providers to remedy the situation.

In Kuwait, swinging increases in heathcare service charges are causing concern in the expat community. The huge increases are aimed at visitors as well as expatriate workers, with the aim of reducing the numbers of foreigners in the emirate as well as restricting expat access to public hospitals, thus giving more room for Kuwaiti patients. Kuwaitization is also playing a part in these changes.

Expats in China are soon to be affected by massive hikes in their private health insurance. In 2016, premiums rocketed by 68 per cent, with further rises expected later this year. In the USA, private heathcare premiums are expected to undergo a 6.5 per cent hike, similar to that imposed last year, with employers uneasy about the increased costs. However, the initial tone of the Trump presidency makes predictions about US heathcare in general somewhat risky.

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