How to ensure French nationals working abroad have adequate health benefits

Aetna International’s recently announced partnership with French health insurer Humanis has some noteworthy repercussions for French organisations sending French nationals on overseas assignments. Laurent de Veyrac, Senior Director, Strategic Business Development, Aetna International explains.

How to ensure French nationals working abroad have adequate health benefits

What French expatriates can expect from the state

French expatriates can maintain links with the French social health insurance system through a special governmental programme called CFE. As long as contributions are kept up to date treatment abroad, and in France, will be covered up to French social insurance limits.

The benefits available to expatriates through the CFE are the same as those guaranteed by the French State Social Security System: reimbursement of medical, surgical, hospital, pharmaceutical, dental, optical and laboratory expenses as well as pension, disability and unemployment

Medical and paramedical expenses will be reimbursed within the limits of the applicable regulations in France. In the main, 65 per cent of medicine costs are covered, up to the limit defined by the social insurance. And 80 per cent or 100 per cent of hospital fees are covered, depending on the type of surgery or inpatient service.

This points to French nationals working abroad being well protected from a healthcare and health insurance perspective. However, the level of benefits can be limited when compared to the $1 million-plus overall limit and range of cover offered by a typical international health insurance plan. The cost of medical care can also vary significantly from country to country, potentially creating large out of pocket expenses even with the heavy state subsidy.

What’s not covered

Evacuation is not covered by the CFE, and there is no number to call if the local healthcare system is a mystery, and a high-quality medical facility difficult to find. There are no trained counsellors available to offer support when the move abroad gets too much, and no safeguarding in place if the expatriate is caught up in a natural disaster or political unrest.

In short, it can be argued that an employer cannot reasonably fulfil their duty of care obligations towards an employee by simply relying on the CFE cover.

This is where the Aetna International partnership with Humanis comes into play.

Ensuring employees have adequate cover

Humanis is one of the largest health insurers in France, with 700,000 corporate clients and 10 million insured members. Aetna International is one of the largest international private medical insurance providers with more than 900,000 members world-wide.

Together the two companies have created a proposition for French expatriates living and working outside of France.

The new solution will integrate and build upon the established CFE benefits and link seamlessly with Aetna’s worldwide medical network and compliant global product. Humanis members will have access to a wider network of medical facilities in the US, and a compliant solution in the UAE.

Corporate clients will have a wide range of CFE aligned and non-aligned solutions available for employees, including a compliant UAE product and a US solution that provides more control over costs. Employees will be healthier, driving up productivity and engagement.

Cover for members will be convenient, personalised and affordable. Members will be able to access Aetna International’s extensive global network of medical facilities. Direct billing is also available throughout the majority of our network facilities, meaning lower out of pocket expenses.

Fulfilling the duty of care

Organisations employing French nationals on overseas assignments have a moral duty of care to keep those members of staff healthy and safe. Although French expatriates can enjoy the exceptional and unusual benefits offered up by the CFE, there are still gaps. To fill those gaps, employers need to look at one of the international health insurance market’s emerging schemes that aims to dovetail with CFE and offer exceptional levels of global coverage at the same time.

This sponsored article was provided by Aetna International.

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