Aetna International recently announced an exciting partnership with French health insurer, that will benefit organisations in France sending their French employees on overseas assignments. Laurent de Veyrac, Senior Director, Strategic Business Development at Aetna International played a key role in setting up the partnership. In this article he explains the cover French nationals are entitled to when abroad and where the Aetna/Humanis deal offers value.
CFE a special program run by the French government, allows French expatriates to maintain many of their social health insurance system benefits whilst abroad. By keeping contributions 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 equate to those guaranteed by the French State System: reimbursement of medical, surgical, hospital, pharmaceutical, dental, optical and laboratory expenses. A number of pension, disability, and unemployment benefits are also available.
Overall, around 65% of medicine costs are covered, up to the social insurance limit. 80% or 100% of hospital fees are covered, depending on the type of treatment.
For French nationals the CFE offers some important healthcare benefits. That said, the benefit ceilings can be limited when compared to a typical international health insurance plan offering a US$1m+ overall limit and a wide range of covers. The cost of medical care can also vary significantly from country to country, potentially creating large out of pocket expenses for French nationals, even with the heavy state subsidy.
The CFE doesn’t cover evacuation, and there is no helpline available if the local healthcare system is a mystery and a high quality medical facility difficult to find. There are no trained counsellors to offer support when the move abroad becomes too stressful, and no safeguarding if a natural disaster or political unrest causes a personal injury risk.
For these reasons, I would argue that an employer cannot reasonably fulfil their employee duty of care obligations by relying on the CFE cover. And this is where the Aetna International partnership with Humanis comes into play.
One of the largest health insurers in France, Humanis has over 700,000 corporate clients and 10 million insured members. Aetna International is one of the largest international private medical insurance providers with over 900,000 members.
The two companies have together created a proposition for French expatriates living and working outside of France.
The Humanis/Aetna International solution will integrate and build upon the CFE’s benefits by linking seamlessly with Aetna’s worldwide medical network and compliant global product. As a result, Humanis members will have access to a wider network of medical facilities in the US and a UAE compliant solution.
For corporates, there will be a range of both CFE aligned, and non-CFE-aligned, solutions for their employees. Cover will be convenient, personalised and affordable. Members will be able to access Aetna International’s global medical provider network where direct billing is widely available, meaning lower out of pocket expenses.
A duty of care exists for organisations sending French nationals on overseas assignments to keep those employees healthy and safe. French expatriates can enjoy the exceptional and unusual benefits offered up by the CFE, but there are gaps. To close the gaps, employers need to look at one of the international health insurance market’s emerging schemes that dovetail with CFE and offer exceptional levels of global coverage at the same time.
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