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Travel Health Insurance: Are Your Employees Traveling Overseas?

As companies expand, travel health insurance may become vitally important. Employees traveling overseas may not have access to their domestic health insurance, but can still become ill or injured on the job. This can expose the company to liability risks. According to a study completed by the Global Business Travel Association, companies will spend more than $310 billion on business travel expenses by the end of 2017. Protecting those employees is more important than ever.

Employees Traveling Internationally Remain at Risk

Employees become exposed to risk when traveling. Depending on location, they may face natural disasters, disease, terrorism and injury from unsafe work conditions. In most cases, local workers’ compensation policies in place don’t apply to international incidents. More so, many international health care providers won’t provide international visitors with care unless — and sometimes until — health costs are paid upfront. Travel health insurance may offer small- to medium-sized businesses financial protection while ensuring employees have accessible health care while on the job.

What Solutions Exist for Protecting Your Employees?

Organizations can effectively minimize risk with the aid of a travel management program. Such a program addresses the complexities of an ever-changing international landscape. A key component of this should be travel health insurance. Corporate international insurance plans can provide a wide range of coverage, including:

  • Medical coverage – Ensures employees can obtain medical evaluation and care overseas. This coverage also provides financial payments for hospital visits and any extensive medical care necessary abroad.
  • Evacuation coverage – In some situations, an employee will need to leave their international location for medical care. Medical evacuation services, including air ambulances, are available but tend to be costly. Coverage exists to help transport employees from their location to a capable hospital nearby and may extend to cover evacuation back home, as deemed necessary.
  • Life and body insurance – This type of care provides for the worst case scenario when an employee dies while working overseas. It covers the cost of transportation of a body home. Some plans also include coverage for loss of functioning limbs while on such a trip.

Employers may also need to extend liability insurance to ensure compensation is available to minimize losses related to loss of life or workability due to an injury that occurs on the job overseas.

Check Your Existing Coverage

Some health insurance policies offer accompanying international coverage. It’s worth calling your existing insurer to find out if some international use is covered. This is particularly likely if your employees travel overseas infrequently. Some insurers build this into existing plans while others limit it for cost reasons. Most will limit overseas coverage to emergency care only, though. This may not include emergency evacuation.

Travel health insurance is readily available from numerous insurers. Even if companies have just one employee — the business owner — who travels internationally, such a plan can pay for itself numerous times over if an employee becomes ill or hurt while traveling. A plan with international protection also gives employees confidence in knowing the care they need is available to them, even in these unique scenarios.

Sandy Baker is a full-time freelance writer specializing in health, personal finance and Internet marketing. Her long-term history online has included publications with companies including Marriott Hotels, The New York Times and dozens of other small- and medium-sized businesses. She is also published in print with award-winning books such as The Complete Guide to Estate Planning, Complete Guide to Early Retirement, The Complete Bankruptcy Guide for Consumers and Small Businesses and The Complete Guide to Organic Lawn Care.