At any one time, global business services firm PricewaterhouseCoopers has about 3,500 expat employees working in countries all over the world. Most are based in the UK, the US, Australia and Canada, but growing numbers are venturing into the emerging markets of Central and Eastern Europe, the Middle East and China.
The firm has a host-based approach to healthcare benefits, with expats using local healthcare services that can be topped up with company-provided benefits, such as private medical insurance, if needed.
UK global mobility team leader Paul Hicks says: “It is early days, but we are starting to put people into countries such as Khazakhstan, the United Arab Emirates and China. Our global mobility experts assess the local policies on healthcare provision to ensure that standards and facilities are equivalent to what the expat had previously. If not, we will provide an international scheme of medical insurance, life insurance and critical illness cover for them, their spouses and dependants.
“This is not simply a cost-based strategy. We believe that where standards of medical care and facilities are of a standard equivalent to home, integration is the right thing to do.”