expat network

Expats Prioritise Access To Quality Healthcare Over Lifestyle And Career Prospects


A survey by Aetna International has found that more expats value access to quality family healthcare than prioritise the financial package or their career prospects.  Here we give you the conclusions from the survey.





An Aetna International survey of expats living abroad has revealed that 87% of expats surveyed believed family health care related employment benefits to be important when considering a job opportunity abroad. A consideration that was found to be more of a priority than the financial package on offer with 85% of expats highlighting this as important rather than not, and the career prospect of the role with 83% of expats surveyed claiming this as an important factor.

Damian Lenihan, Executive Director of Europe at Aetna International, suggests, “The pandemic has likely encouraged people to think more about the quality of health care they can access. With the value placed on quality health care by expats, international employers may need to consider if their health care policies meet expectation levels and stay competitive to attract the best talent.”

44% of the expats surveyed highlighted that when taking a job abroad they expect their employer health care cover to include their partner and, if applicable, their immediate family relocating with them. A further 39% expect their employer to provide full health care cover just for them. Only 8% said that health care benefits are not something they have thought about and expected to fully rely on the local health care system.

The research across multiple countries also found that access to quality health care to be the biggest challenge. Almost one in three (30%) respondents made this claim, ranking the challenge of accessing quality health care above finding a suitable home (23%), language barriers (22%), high living costs (21%), and access to quality schooling (20%), when asked about their top three biggest challenges of living as an expat.

“Of course, relocating to another country comes with many benefits and challenges, but interestingly we are potentially seeing health care as one of the top considerations with expats taking opportunities abroad. Over and above, if not on par with, lifestyle and career prospects,” adds Lenihan.

The research found that 70% of expats surveyed had concerns about accessing quality health care during the pandemic. Couple that with a recent InterNations Expat Survey* finding one in five potential expats feel uncertain about moving abroad due to COVID-19, would suggest that employers may need to do more to reassure those relocating from overseas.