For anyone employed by a multinational company and considering working in another country as an expatriate employee, congrats! Despite the usual challenges, being an expatriate, or expat, as it’s more commonly known, is an opportunity for self-discovery and a chance to experience the type of cultural immersion that could expand your world-view.
The thrill of a global experience, however, can only be enjoyed if you know that you are covered by a comprehensive expatriate benefits package. Although benefits aren’t the most exciting thing to think about before taking on your assignment, it’s most likely one of the most important aspects of your trip.
So what can you expect in a benefits package when taking a global assignment?*
The critical parts of an expatriate benefits package are the health, wellness, and emergency services that keep us safe and healthy no matter where we are in the world. A comprehensive benefits package will include services that empower you to work, live, and play in your new environment, free from worry when it comes to protecting your health, and give you the support you may need in the event of an emergency.
Typically, a health and wellness plan includes medical, dental, vision, pharmaceutical coverage, wellness tools and resources. Life products could include basic life insurance, accidental death and dismemberment, and disability insurance. You may also have access to services for additional protection such as an emergency evacuation plan, international employee assistance, and a remote secondary medical opinion.
Knowing what’s in your plan is an important first step to insuring you are protected while on assignment. You also want to be sure you know how to make the best use of the benefits you are receiving so asking your human resources manager lots of questions is important.
- Are access to benefits and solutions mobile-friendly?
- How large is the healthcare provider network in the country I’m travelling to?
- How quickly are claims reimbursed and does the deposit go straight to my account?
These are just some examples of how you should be thinking about your benefits. The more you understand your plan the more fine-tuned your questions will become.
Familiarize yourself with resources before leaving on assignment.
In addition to any changes in coverage, the process of receiving medical, dental and vision care in a host country will be a different experience from your home country. Take time to research the nuances of the local healthcare system, particularly if you are travelling with a family. It will save you from anxiety in the long-run.
Find local doctors before the need for a medical visit. With time on your side, you can check reviews, secure recommendations, and vet physicians in advance—everything you need to do so you will be comfortable during your first appointment.
What other help can my insurance provider give me?
Lean on your insurer to help you identify how you can find local doctors and services, access wellness tools, and easily submit claims. You should also rely on them to provide guidance and expertise when prepping for relocation. Know the point of contact for help with benefits while you are overseas. Whether it’s a website, an app, a customer call center, or a local walk-in office, customer assistance, once you’re on the ground, should be comprehensive and on standby. The information that insurers can provide will empower you to manage your care by giving you the confidence to use your benefits with ease.
Finally, it’s a good idea to make sure that anyone travelling with you, and who is covered under your benefits package, is aware of the benefit offerings to the same extent you are. Don’t take it for granted that they will know how to access benefits in case you aren’t around. If you’re travelling solo, make sure your emergency contact has all of this information and fully understands it. They’re the ones that will have to make important calls for you in the event of an emergency.
Equipped with these benefits basics you can rest easy and focus on bringing your best to the new job as well as the more exciting elements of your journey.
MetLife Worldwide Benefits (MWB), part of MetLife Global Employee Benefits, provides personalized benefits solutions for a globally mobile workforce, and has been helping globally-mobile employees for more than 60 years. MWB has been named “Service Provider of the Year" in 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, and 2013 by the Forum for Expatriate Management.
* Subject to applicable legal, contractual and regulatory restrictions