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It can be an uncomfortable and frightening experience to fall ill overseas, during an assignment or business trip, where you are unfamiliar or uncomfortable accessing local healthcare.

Issues associated with healthcare may even cause an overseas assignment to fail. It is a frustrating fact that many illnesses experienced overseas could have been foreseen or prevented if health screening had occurred before travel. Despite the benefits it offers both staff and employers, health screening before sending staff overseas is currently under-utilised.

Here are seven benefits for employees and employers of using health screening before sending staff overseas:

Benefits

  • Identifies new and pre-existing illness as well as illnesses that the individual may be at higher risk of developing. Once identified, steps can be taken to prevent or manage these appropriately.
  • Reduces the need to access overseas healthcare, particularly important for those travelling to more remote locations or less developed countries.
  • Ensures treatment for pre-existing conditions is maintained and managed with minimal disruption. A regularly prescribed medication in the UK may not be readily available or legal in the new host country. Health screening enables employers to investigate suitable healthcare before travel. Any medication can be evaluated to ensure medicines are available at the destination.
  • Where a higher risk has been identified screening gives individuals the opportunity to take preventative measures such as immunisation and vaccines or lifestyle changes.
  • Enables the company to identify any trends across the organisation and manage them proactively.
  • Screening allows an employer to insure based on actual data about its own employees rather than have premiums set based on averages.
  • It can reduce costs and support decision making when travel insurance options are being considered.

Health screening is an important consideration for companies of all sizes. Employers should make far greater use of it before sending staff overseas as it protects both the individual and the company, reduces the risk of assignments failing and can help to manage costs.

Sarah Dennis, Head of International, The Health Insurance Group

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