According to official statistics, 500 leave the UK every day to live or work abroad. Many countries do not offer free healthcare and American Express discusses what happened to one expat who was fortunate to be covered with their International Healthcare Plan.
2007 did not start well for 54-year-old Gordon Robertson an expatriate who has lived and worked in Greece for the last 15 years, as he was devastated to be diagnosed with a form of throat cancer.
Doctors advised that extensive surgery - followed by courses of chemotherapy and radiotherapy - was needed immediately. The cost of medical treatment abroad can be prohibitive. However, when he moved to Greece, Gordon had taken out an American Express International Healthcare Plan. The plan is available to expatriates and offers medical insurance in the event of accident or illness.
Gordon explains: “ I had only made one prior claim for a scan but when I received the diagnosis I contacted American Express immediately. I was in complete turmoil at this point and it was wonderful to be reassured that the required treatment costs would be covered by the plan. Additionally, I was very surprised at how genuinely caring they were. I felt anything but a claim number on a database. From that first contact and throughout all my treatment I have been more than impressed at the attention and consideration I have been given. Initially, I was given the choice of whether I wanted to remain in Athens for treatment or go to the UK. I opted to remain in Greece as the hospitals here are state of the art and I had every confidence in my consultant.”
Gordon underwent surgery at the end of January and spent a week recuperating in hospital; this was followed by six cycles of chemotherapy and radiotherapy.
He continues: “ When you are facing cancer time is everything. Thanks to their efficiency, at no stage has any element of my treatment been delayed. Indeed on one occasion my consultant told me late one afternoon that I needed a scan .By 10am the next day I had had it. All of my arrangements had been taken care of by American Express. Additionally American Express settled all the medical and treatment bills directly so I have not been faced with piles of admin relating to my claim to plough through or having to pay bills and then claim them back myself. I have been blown away by the service and the personal support .It is not what you expect from a huge global company. I have built a real rapport with the people who have managed my case as they have frequently called or emailed me to check how I have been doing. In fact when I come over to the UK shortly I will be taking one particular staff member out to lunch to say thank you. “
Gordon is now on the road to recovery and despite losing half his body weight he has responded well to treatment and has returned to work. Gordon’s annual premium for the Lifestyle policy from the American Express International Healthcare Plan is £2,123.53. The total cost of his claim has been £17,811.45.
There are three different levels of cover available with the American Express International Healthcare Plan and it is available to expatriates.
Expats Health insurance : News update: 20 September 2007