59% think physical healthcare should be prioritised

New data has highlighted that more than half of expatriate employees believe their workplace healthcare packages should prioritise physical health over mental wellbeing.

The research from insurance business Aetna International, which included responses from expatriates in multiple markets around the world, revealed that 65% of those with dependent children were the ones who largely believed that their employers’ healthcare packages should focus on physical wellbeing. In comparison,  55% of those without dependents thought the same.

Almost nine in 10 (87%) said that when considering a job opportunity abroad, family healthcare related employment benefits are important, and 44% expect their employer to provide full healthcare cover for expatriates and their families for a role abroad.

Just under a third (30%) highlighted access to quality healthcare as one of the top three biggest challenges of living as an expatriate. Meanwhile, 41% felt mental wellbeing should be prioritised in healthcare provisions, a big increase from 6% who were concerned with issues relating to mental health in Aetna International’s 2016 Pioneering change survey.

Dr Hemal Desai, global medical director at Aetna International, explained that the mid- to long-term implications of the Covid-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic on people’s physical and mental health have yet to be understood, along with raised anxiety levels globally.

He believes that in the wake of the pandemic, there has been a change in attitudes and increased conversation around employee wellbeing, given the “challenges” many have and are yet to face, with staff looking to their employers for support.

“We need to keep evolving the conversation and help employers and employees alike consider the relationship between physical and mental wellbeing. As one can affect the other, and we consider both to be equally important. Given the different needs of expatriates, it is vital that we provide clear navigation to the right healthcare benefits,” he said.