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Warning on escalating expat maternity costs

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The subject of expatriate maternity packages is a complicated one and can leave both employers and individuals with many questions.

Jelf International is warning that the cost of having a child varying greatly around the globe, as well as the standard of healthcare and the coverage from International PMI, this issue of pregnant employees (or pregnant partners of employees) can leave employers reeling. According to the International Federation of Health Plans, the most expensive countries in which to give birth are:

Jelf provides the following advice to employers: Maternity benefits can increase an IPMI insurance premium by approximately twenty per cent, so it is vital to ensure that a company is only paying for this benefit when it’s actually needed. Many insurers apply waiting periods to their maternity benefit so when setting up cover please be aware that these waiting periods (often 10 months) apply to a maternity benefit. Maternity cover is usually split by costs towards a normal birth – which includes hospital costs; medicine; specialist costs and anaesthetists charges; cover for complications in birth; and post-natal baby-care costs. It is imperative to check that all of these areas are included.

Victoria Barrowman, international account manager for Jelf International, said: “Maternity benefits cover is one of the conditions that costs insurers the most, so costs have been steadily rising over recent years. As an employer sending staff overseas, it simply comes with the territory that they have to provide adequate maternity benefits. However that doesn’t mean picking the first quote they receive, as costs and levels of care can vary hugely. Average costs in Singapore for a delivery, hospital stay, specialist costs and medication could be the equivalent of five thousand pounds and a delivery in the United States could be over six thousand pounds for the delivery alone! “All being well, employers of expectant expats have adequate time to plan and put sufficient cover in place – this doesn’t need to be a knee-jerk expense and with costs and cover varying significantly, undertaking detailed research or using a reputable specialist makes sound financial sense”.

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