International healthcare premiums

Top tips for easing the pain

International health insurance needn’t cost an arm and a leg – there are a number of ways to make cover for your staff more affordable without compromising risk or simply increasing the excess. Are you, for example paying for global medical cover you don’t really need?

Willis Towers Watson Health & Benefits sales director Steve Langan offers top tips for businesses to keep a lid on premiums.

  1. Azerbaijan or Spain? Think twice before committing to out-patient cover. Comparing out-patient fees at the employees’ destination country with the corresponding insurance benefit cost may give you food for thought. Outpatient cover can account for up to 50 per cent of a scheme premium, yet in some countries, outpatient consultations are relatively inexpensive. A consultation in Kazakhstan or Azerbaijan, for example, will cost an average of £20. If your business is investing in a comprehensive high value scheme, you may have the option to exclude out-patient cover.

  2. Maternity cover: a pregnant pause for thought. Most comprehensive plans will include maternity cover but why pay for a benefit that you know oversees assignees, single males for instance, will not claim for? With maternity cover typically accounting for around 15 per cent of a premium, you should seek professional advice on whether or not this is being included as standard.

  3. Beware of hidden extras. Insurance Premium Tax (IPT) is levied on annual private medical policies but the rate at which this is charged to businesses varies from insurer to insurer. Some will charge it based upon where the company is located; others will charge it out based upon whether the risk is placed – the difference can be considerable. IPT in the UK is charged at a flat rate of 6 per cent, for instance, while in Italy the rate is 2.5 per cent but in Greece it stands at 11 per cent.

  4. Routine treatment: a painless extraction? Regular check-ups and minor treatment can be relatively inexpensive but excluding routine dental and optical can mean slashing your premiums by more than 20 per cent. Hospital or emergency dental or optical treatment abroad, by contrast, can be exorbitantly expensive but you’ll invariably always be covered for this under standard international health insurance policies.

For more information, call Willis Towers Watson on 01606 353260, request a callback or complete the contact form.