Employers Face Challenges as Number of Foreign Workers Rise

October 28, 2005 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - A study conducted by Aetna Global Benefits (AGB) found that 41% of benefits managers say the number of US-bound expatriates, or skilled foreign workers will rise in the next three years.

According to an AGB news release, benefits managers cite high costs and the responsibility for ensuring adequate coverage for expatriate employees and their families as the main issues they confront with the US health care system. Benefit managers also said that foreign employers find the US health care system complex and confusing, so they are challenged with helping expatriate employees understand the system.

“The formalities of the US system take some getting used to for US-bound expatriates, as do the wide variety of provider choices and sources of health care needs,” noted one survey respondent, AGB said in the release.

The Global Relocation Trends 2003/2004 Survey Report, sponsored by GMAC Global Relocation Services, the National Foreign Trade Council, and SHRM Global Forum, found that the US was listed as one of the most challenging foreign assignment locations. Martha Temple, head of AGB, believes this is due to the US having a very different health care system than other countries. She believes the focus should be on improving the access to care and the ease of use of the system for expatriate employees and their families and employers.

According to the study, professionals are generally sent to the US for an average of two years. They are most likely employed in the Technology/IT sector, and come from India and China more than any other countries.

The study was conducted online with 200 benefit managers selected randomly form a panel of 100,000 who have agreed to participate in market research studies. More information can be obtained by contacting Roni Grossman at 860-273-3190.