COVID-19 Expat Updates

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COVID-19 MetLife Worldwide

Critical Health Alert; Last Updated: April 10, 2020 8:35 A.M. EST

We are here for you.

For over 152 years, MetLife has been committed to protecting the health and well-being of our customers, their families, and our communities. 

MetLife Worldwide Benefits coverages include Medical, Dental, Vision, Life, Accidental Death & Dismemberment (AD&D), Long Term Disability (LTD) and short-term traveler products. For expatriate employees, employers and brokers who have benefits with MetLife Worldwide Benefits, below are plan details and frequently asked questions to support you during this uncertain time. 

We want to assure you that MetLife is prepared, and has taken action to ensure our customers get the service they expect, the coverages they need are maintained, questions are answered, and claims are processed in a timely manner.

Below you will find important updates on available resources, benefit coverage and answers to common questions.

Supporting Expatriate Employees Through a COVID-19 Diagnosis

If an insured expatriate employee or their eligible family members who are covered by  a MetLife Worldwide Benefits policy is diagnosed with COVID-19, or experiencing symptoms, we recommend they consult with their treating physician.

Please note, MetLife Worldwide Benefits plans are unique for each company. Please refer to the certificate of insurance for information on an employer’s plan. For information as to what is covered under the plan, expatriate employees may also refer to their Schedule of Benefits, which can be found on eBenefits. Read about  the impact of the coronavirus on the various coverages below.

Coverage Support for COVID-19

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Medical Insurance

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Care related to the coronavirus is covered under an expatriate medical plan . MetLife Worldwide Benefits will waive expatriate employees’ out-of-pocket expense (such as coinsurance, deductibles, or copayments) related to testing and treatments for COVID-19 when medically necessary, through June 30th, 2020. Benefits will be payable at in network rates or at Medicare rates, as applicable when applicable in-network rates are not available. We will also waive pre-authorizations for any treatment ordered by a licensed provider, both in and outside the U.S. until June 30, 2020. There are no policy limitations that would apply to a pandemic event. MetLife is required to evaluate each claim in accordance with the terms of the policy and to use the same claim processes as it does for any other sickness or injury claim. Each claim will be reviewed consistent with policy terms and applicable insurance law.

International Business Travel Medical (IBTM) plan

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IBTM plans provide coverage for urgent and emergent medical care, so medically necessary tests, office visits, and treatment for COVID-19 are covered. If an insured employee or dependent is admitted to the hospital because of a COVID-19 diagnosis, they will be covered for care related to the diagnosis, provided they meet the plan requirements. MetLife Worldwide Benefits is waiving patient responsibility (including deductibles, coinsurance, and copays) related to the testing and treatment for COVID-19, when medically necessary, through June 30th, 2020. Benefits will be payable at in network rates or at Medicare rates, as applicable when applicable in-network rates are not available. We will also waive pre-authorizations for any treatment ordered by a licensed provider, both in and outside the U.S. until June 30, 2020. There are no policy limitations that would apply to a pandemic event. MetLife is required to evaluate each claim in accordance with the terms of the policy and to use the same claim processes as it does for any other sickness or injury claim. Each claim will be reviewed consistent with policy terms and applicable insurance law. For more information as to what is covered under the plan, eligible employees should contact their employer.

Life Insurance

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COVID-19 has no impact on life insurance plans.  Claims for life insurance benefits may be filed regardless of the insured’s cause of death and will be processed as usual in accordance with the terms of the plan. 

Long Term Disability

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There are no policy limitations that would apply to disabilities caused by COVID-19. MetLife will evaluate each claim in accordance with the terms of the policy and use claim processes already in place for disability claims.

Resources

Below are other resources and benefits that are available for insured expatriate employees or their eligible family members with medical insurance through MetLife Worldwide Benefits:

Resources for COVID-19

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Customer Service

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Expatriate employees should contact Customer Service using the information on their ID cards if they have any questions or concerns. Our staff are trained and well prepared to handle inquiries and guide employees to nearest medical facility for care. 

Travel tools

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Expatriate employees can review the critical alerts and health warnings available on the “Travel Tools” section of our website, eBenefits, available any time.

Telemedicine1

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Telemedicine allows covered employees and their families to seek care without traveling to a healthcare facility and potentially risking their health or the health of others. MetLife Worldwide Benefits is offering access to our  network of virtual medical providers to all employees of all customers without cost, through June 30, 2020. Services provided through the telemed network are covered at 100% for all conditions.

Nurse Line

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MetLife Worldwide Benefits offers a nurse line that is available 24/7 for medical advice to help expatriate employees avoid unnecessary trips to the doctor or emergency room. Insured employees with access to care in the U.S. are eligible to use this service. We are enhancing our nurse line options to introduce a nurse line that is available for expatriate employees outside the U.S. as well. It can be used for the same reasons – advice on disease symptoms, concerns, and medical advice. This line is available at no cost until June 30, 2020.

International Employee Assistance Program2 (IEAP)

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If an expatriate employee’s medical plan includes IEAP through MetLife Worldwide Benefits, critical incident support can be accessed 24/7. To get more information, employees can access the IEAP tab on eBenefits for information on how to get started.

Emergency Medical Evacuation3

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If an expatriate employee’s medical plan includes emergency medical evacuation through MetLife Worldwide Benefits, they may be eligible for emergency medical evacuation if they suffer an emergency sickness, including COVID-19. MetLife will use any and all available resources to ensure a safe and timely evacuation, should one be needed. Expatriate employees should ask their employer if emergency medical evacuation is included in their medical plan or review their Schedule of Benefits on eBenefits.

Policy accommodations

We understand that the COVID-19 pandemic may require employers to unexpectedly furlough, temporarily lay-off or reduce hours/salary for employees.  We also understand that employees working overseas who have temporarily returned to their primary country of residence may not be able to go back to their worksite countries for the duration of the pandemic.  As a response to these unique events, and provided premium continues to be remitted to MetLife Worldwide Benefits:

  • MetLife Worldwide Benefits is waiving patient responsibility (including deductibles, coinsurance, and copays) related to the testing and treatment for COVID-19, when medically necessary, through June 30th, 2020. Benefits will be payable at in network rates or at Medicare rates, as applicable when applicable in-network rates are not available. We will also waive pre-authorizations for any treatment ordered by a licensed provider, both in and outside the U.S. until June 30, 2020. There are no policy limitations that would apply to a pandemic event. MetLife is required to evaluate each claim in accordance with the terms of the policy and to use the same claim processes as it does for any other sickness or injury claim. Each claim will be reviewed consistent with policy terms and applicable insurance law.
  • For prescriptions filled in the U.S., our pharmacy benefit manager, CVS Caremark, is extending many clinical prior authorization records set to expire between March 23rd and June 30th.  CVS Caremark is also waiving early refill limits on 30-day prescription maintenance medications.
  • For group medical, dental, and vision coverage as well as life coverage MetLife is willing to allow employees who are furloughed, temporarily laid-off or have reduced hours/salary to continue their coverage for 12 months from the date of the furlough, temporary lay-off or reduced hours/salary (collectively, “temporary salary reductions”).
  • For employees who temporarily return to their primary country of residence, and are unable to return to their worksite country because of national or international restrictions on travel applicable to the employee, we are extending coverage beyond the contractual 90-day period for up to 6 months from the date applicable travel restrictions have been lifted.
  • For purposes of group life, the coverage amounts will not be reduced as a result of temporary salary reductions and will remain in effect just as they were prior to the furlough, temporary lay-off or reduced hours/salary. Accordingly, premium needs to be remitted based on the volume for the regular (non-reduced) coverage amounts.
  • For group disability, MetLife will  allow employees who experience a furlough, temporary lay-off or have reduced hours/salary between March 1, 2020 and May 31, 2020, to continue their coverage for 60 days from the date of the furlough, temporary lay-off, or reduced hours/salary. Coverage amounts will not be reduced as a result of temporary salary reductions and will remain in effect just as they were prior to the furlough, temporary lay-off or reduced hours/salary. Accordingly, premium needs to be remitted based on the volume for the regular (non-reduced) coverage amounts.
  • In all instances, if your group policy allows for longer periods of continued coverage under any of the circumstances outlined above, we will honor the longer period of time.
  • MetLife is not imposing any travel restrictions. If expatriate employees are actively working while quarantined or working virtually from their work site country, we will continue to cover them under the plan.

Keeping You Informed

Product FAQs

For expatriate employees, employers and brokers who have benefits with MetLife Worldwide Benefits, below are some frequently asked questions and answers as they may relate to a plan with us.

For specific questions or questions not answered here, clients and brokers should contact their MetLife Worldwide Benefits Account Manager; expatriate employees should contact Customer Service using the information on their ID card

Expat Medical FAQs

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Do we cover testing and treatment for COVID-19?

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There are no policy limitations that would apply to a pandemic event. MetLife is required to evaluate each claim in accordance with the terms of the policy and to use the same claim processes as it does for any other sickness or injury claim. Each claim will be reviewed consistent with policy terms and applicable insurance law.

MetLife Worldwide Benefits is waiving patient responsibility (including deductibles, coinsurance, and copays) related to the testing and treatment for COVID-19, when medically necessary, through June 30th, 2020. Benefits will be payable at in network rates or at Medicare rates, as applicable when applicable in-network rates are not available. We will also waive pre-authorizations for any treatment ordered by a licensed provider, both in and outside the U.S. until June 30, 2020.

Do we cover evacuation for insured expatriate employees and their insured dependents who have been diagnosed with COVID-19?

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An insured expatriate employee and  their insured family members may be eligible for emergency medical evacuation due to COVID-19 if they suffer an emergency sickness that warrants emergency medical evacuation while outside their country of primary residence.

MetLife will use any and all available resources to ensure a safe and timely evacuation, however, we will not be liable for failure to render services or for delays in service due to circumstances beyond our control.

Brokers, clients, and expatriate employees should reference their certificate for plan-specific definitions.

Do we cover evacuation for insured expatriate employees or their eligible family members  who have not been diagnosed with COVID-19, but are in an area where there are quarantines? 

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No. An insured expatriate employee or their family members must meet the definition of emergency sickness to qualify for an emergency medical evacuation.

Brokers, clients, and expatriate employees should reference their certificate for plan-specific definitions.

We are happy to make referrals for providers that are appropriately staffed and capable of testing for and treating COVID-19. As a result of the fluid situation, we advise expatriate employees to contact Customer Service when assistance is needed locating a provider.

For health and travel advisory members should be directed to: World Health Organization and US Department of State.

Are there any limitations or exclusions to coverage if an insured expatriate employee or their insured dependents needs testing or treatment?

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There are no policy limitations that would apply to a pandemic event. Each claim will be reviewed consistent with policy terms and applicable insurance law.

What should  an expatriate employee or their  family members do if they are diagnosed with COVID-19?

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Expatriate employees or their family members should consult with and follow the advice of their treating physician in circumstances where they have been diagnosed with COVID-19.

What additional services does MetLife Worldwide Benefits offer to help insured expatriate employees and their insured dependents during the COVID-19 outbreak?

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Please see list above in “Resources” section.

Brokers, clients, and expatriate employees should reference their Schedule of Benefits for benefit definitions and to determine access to benefits.

Will  insured expatriate employees and their insured dependents  still be covered under the plan if they work remotely during the COVID-19 outbreak?

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Please refer to the “Policy updates” section above for information on actively-at-work.

What is MetLife Worldwide Benefits doing to prepare for a pandemic?

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In order to address pandemic concerns, we have incorporated a loss of personnel scenario into our Global Resiliency program. This scenario provides a combination of solutions for employee and work area recovery. Testing is performed throughout the year. All plans and scenarios in our Global Resiliency program are reviewed annually.

What up-to-date educational resources are available to learn more about novel coronavirus, how it spreads, regions impacted, travel alerts, and how to avoid exposure and stay healthy?

For health and travel advisory: World Health Organization and US Department of State.

Can MetLife Worldwide Benefits include benefit language for COVID-19 on a Certificate of Coverage (COC)?

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No. MetLife is not able to add plan-specific benefit language on a Certificate of Coverage. This document is used to provide verification of insurance and contains the group name, participant name, certificate number, and covered dependents. It also validates coverage for each product (i.e., medical, dental, prescription, emergency evacuation, etc.).

Do we cover telemedicine services?

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Please see telemedicine bullet above in the “Resources” section.

Voyageur Global Benefits members do not have access to our preferred telemedicine network through AXA Assistance; however, Voyageur Global Benefits members plan  still have coverage for medically necessary telemedicine services through a licensed provider of their choice. Since COVID-19 is a communicable disease, expatriate employees may choose to seek medical advice through these virtual services instead of in-person health care. Patient responsibility (including deductibles, coinsurance, and copays) will be waived when medically necessary telemedicine services are utilized for a coronavirus-related consultation.

Would MetLife’s ability to perform a medical evacuation be impacted by a country’s travel restrictions?

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The terms and conditions of the policy and certificate will apply. If a medical evacuation is warranted in accordance with the terms of the policy, the evacuation will be performed, subject to any restrictions imposed by the country in question. We are required to comply with all applicable laws, rules, and regulations in every jurisdiction in which we do business.

Would the travel restrictions being imposed by many countries impact coverage?

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The travel restrictions placed by countries have no effect on insurance coverage. The terms and conditions of the policies are applicable.

Expat Life FAQs

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Are there plan or policy limitations that would prevent a life claim from being paid due to a disease, including coronavirus?

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For group life insurance, there are no policy limitations that would limit a claim payment resulting from coronavirus, provided the individual met all other certificate requirements. Each claim will be reviewed consistent with policy terms and applicable insurance law.

An insured expatriate employee was exposed to coronavirus while on a plane and is now under quarantine. Is the employee considered Totally Disabled and eligible for Waiver of Premiums?

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The expatriate employee must meet the other certificate requirements which include: The Waiting Period, the definition of total disability, and that the disability must continue through the end of the Waiting Period. Being exposed to the virus, in and of itself, is not necessarily considered a Total Disability.

If an insured expatriate employee dies after contracting coronavirus, would an AD&D claim be payable?

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AD&D policies do not cover diseases. Therefore, death due to coronavirus is excluded, as are all other diseases.

What special handling, if any, will MetLife put in place to facilitate claim review?

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We do not anticipate special handling will be necessary. However, if such a situation should arise, MetLife will assess and make appropriate adjustments to ensure claimants are assisted in a caring and timely manner.

Expat LTD FAQs

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Are there plan or policy limitations that would be imposed if there were a significant number of claims submitted as a result of a pandemic event?

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There are no policy limitations that would apply to a pandemic event. Each claim will be reviewed consistent with policy terms and applicable insurance law.

What special handling, if any, will MetLife Worldwide Benefits put in place to facilitate claim review/payment?

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We do not anticipate that special handling will be necessary, if such a situation should arise, MetLife will make appropriate adjustments. Claims submitted with a diagnosis of coronavirus will be administered the same as any other disability claim. MetLife’s current claim processing standards and procedures apply.

For insured expatriate employees who are quarantined because of exposure to coronavirus but are not themselves afflicted with the disease, will these employees  be considered disabled?

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No. Claimants are unlikely to satisfy the definition of disability in the applicable plan solely due to being quarantined. If the expatriate  develops coronavirus or even some other qualifying sickness while quarantined, the claim would be reviewed for payment.

Expat General FAQs

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Will MetLife Worldwide Benefits be making any changes or having leniency for payments?

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We understand that these are challenging times for many businesses. As an accommodation to our DelAm clients, in the event premiums cannot be paid during the contract period, we are complying with Delaware’s mandate not to cancel policies for non-payment of premium without a court order, but to work with delinquent policyholders to come up with a payment plan for the duration of the state of emergency in Delaware.

Can't find what you are looking for?

Let us help . For brokers and employers please reach out to your Account Managers and expatriate employees please reach out to customer service using the information on their ID cards if they have any questions or concerns.

Short-term travelers with an International Business Travel Medical (IBTM) plan should need to obtain additional support and guidance while on a business trip, they should contact Customer Service 24/7 at +1 302-594-8400 – our staff are trained and well-prepared to handle:

  • inquiries on plan benefits
  • hospital and clinic referrals
  • emergency medical evacuations

U.S. Employees

Looking for information about how Coronovirus (COVID-19) might impact your current policy? Go to our FAQs page for U.S. Policyholders.

U.S. Customers

Looking for FAQs and legislative updates to help Brokers and Employers navigate COVID-19?

MetLife is committed to navigating life together with you

We're in This Together

1 Telemedicine services are provided through vendor not affiliated with MetLife.

2 IEAP provided by a vendor not affiliated with MetLife.

3 Emergency medical and travel assistance services provided through vendor not affiliated with MetLife.

Like most group insurance policies, insurance policies offered by MetLife contain certain exclusions, exceptions, waiting periods, reductions, limitations, and terms for keeping them in force. Ask your MetLife representative for costs and complete details. MetLife’s worldwide benefits products are underwritten by Delaware American Life Insurance Company, a MetLife affiliate domiciled at 600 North King Street, Wilmington, DE 19801, and other affiliates.