Planning a move abroad to work in 2015? Don’t forget your healthcare, advises APRIL International

It’s that time of the year when planning for the New Year may well include planning a move abroad for those who are lucky enough to be able to build a career outside of the UK. According to MigrationWatch, in the year to June 2014, nearly 140,000 Britons chose to emigrate. Add in other nationalities which previously had settled or worked in the UK and the total rises to 323,000. Research amongst this group consistently shows around half move abroad without having first taken out international private medical insurance – an oversight some will come to regret, especially if that decision was based on a less than clear understanding of the risks and potential costs involved. Debbie Purser, managing director of APRIL International UK, the UK based provider which has been offering international private insurance cover to the business community for over 30 years said, “Very often, when we speak to people who are planning a move abroad, they are surprised by the cost of an annual premium, which can be in the low thousands of pounds. However, once we start to discuss this with them and they realise the cost of treating a minor accident such as a broken limb can easily run into the thousands too, that is usually enough to persuade a budding expat that planning and buying ahead pays off when it comes to expat health insurance. For the younger expat who is confident about their general health, voluntary excesses can be used to reduce premiums by up to 50%, which makes the peace of mind of cover readily affordable for most.” Bad luck can and does strike anywhere, as APRIL International UK points out with two recent examples of clients they have looked after. In the first case, an expatriate was booked in during January 2013 for an apparently routine umbilical hernia repair. However, shortly after the operation, she started suffering with pain, and various symptoms including oozing and discharge from the wound site. Around a week later, she was diagnosed with a post operation infection which was initially treated with a range of drugs and regular appointments, to ensure the wound was keep clean, with dressings changed regularly. By March, the infection was still present, so the she was readmitted for further surgery, which this time was successful. Total costs associated with all surgery and treatment is estimated at £11,800 In the second example given by APRIL International UK, even something as apparently everyday as back pain was shown to have significant financial implications. The client first contacted APRIL International UK in November 2013 complaining of persistent back pain. He was admitted for an MRI scan, with the specialists considering the possibility of a facet joint injection. These joints are a key part of the spine, which provide stability and help guide motion. The facet joints can become painful due to arthritis of the spine, a back injury or stress to the back. Eventually, the condition was successfully diagnosed less than a month later and a nerve root injection carried out. Total costs were nearly £32,000. Debbie Purser adds, “We know from our own research that it is often the case that only one in two expatriates has a suitable long term international private healthcare policy in place. Yet these cases illustrate clearly the fact that serious illness can strike anyone at any time and hospital medical costs can be considerable. At APRIL International UK, we will meet the cost of treating such illnesses and any subsequent rehabilitation, both today and into the future, giving clients immense peace of mind.”