Global Hiring

Global Healthcare: Providing comprehensive health plans for a global workforce

April 25, 2023

Global healthcare options can be advantageous for companies to offer to employees, especially for ones that are remote-first. With a wide range of talent found worldwide, companies should be up to date with what health benefits they can provide for their employees. If you have a remote team, you’ll need to know the basics of global healthcare and the variables to consider so you can set your team up for success.

Here we discuss with experts: Niel Libenberg (Head of Health Operations, The Unisure Group), Mike Kelly (Senior Partner, Baldwin Risk Partners), Amy Bohn (VP Client Exec - Int’l Benefits, Baldwin Risk Partners), and David Hughson (Chief Revenue Officer, Remofirst) the essentials of global healthcare. If you would like to watch the webinar version, please find it here.

What is Global Healthcare?

The term global healthcare refers the provision of healthcare services, policies, and systems that aim to improve the health outcomes of individuals and populations worldwide. It involves addressing health issues on a global scale, such as preventing and treating infectious diseases, improving maternal and child health, managing chronic diseases, and addressing mental health concerns.

Supplemental health insurance, or “top up” health insurance is a type of healthcare plan that is offered in addition to socialized healthcare plans employees receive in their home countries. This type of plan can help boost equity and accessibility for healthcare that is most desired. In some cases, supplemental care may not be needed.

Global Healthcare Around the World

Global healthcare historically has meant offering “a-one-size-fits-all” approach for global healthcare. However, this doesn’t accurately reflect the needs of everyone as equity is not the same given cultural differences, state of local benefits, and other changes. We’ve listed a few country examples to highlight the different circumstances of what global healthcare can look like.

Example #1: United Kingdom

The National Health System (NHS) is available to all local citizens and is an example of a strong socialized medical system. However, individuals who have moderate to severe health issues are faced with long wait times often waiting months to years in order to receive the care that they need. Many companies often in this case would offer supplemental insurance in addition to what’s already in place.

Example #2: Australia

Australia has a publicly funded national healthcare system, known as Medicare, which provides access to essential healthcare services to all Australian citizens and eligible residents. Under the Medicare system, Australian citizens and eligible residents have access to free or subsidized healthcare services. The national medical system is strong overall, but the wait times for care are long. There is also a 47% Fringe Benefit Tax that companies would have to face if they decided to apply additional supplementary care.

Example #3: Singapore

Under the Singapore healthcare system, residents have access to both public and private healthcare providers, and can choose to be treated by either sector. Overall, Singapore has one of the strongest public health offerings in the world as health plans are affordable for employees. For expats, however, the same high quality level of care that local nationals already receive would would cost substantially more.

Example #4: Germany

Germany’s healthcare system has a high level of accessibility, with patients being able to choose their own healthcare providers and make decisions about their own care. This health system is strong on its own that supplemental insurance is not necessary to provide within a global health plan, but some disadvantages include: rising healthcare costs, lack of life and disability insurances and pensions.

Example #5: South Africa

The healthcare system in South Africa is divided into public and private sectors, with the public sector serving the majority of the population.The public healthcare system is funded by the government and is available to all citizens. However, the quality of care can vary widely, and many facilities are understaffed and under-resourced. The private healthcare system is available to those who can afford it and is characterized by higher levels of funding and better access to resources and technologies. If an employee is a local national, they would be able to obtain private healthcare within the country.

Challenges of Global Healthcare

1. Geographical Limitations

Many people in remote or rural areas have limited access to healthcare services as a result of diminished healthcare infrastructure, transportation, and availability of healthcare professionals.  In areas with limited internet access or poor cellular reception, it can be difficult to communicate with healthcare providers or access telehealth services. Mountainous terrain, islands, and other geographic features can make it challenging to provide healthcare services in particular areas, particularly during natural disasters or other emergencies.

2. Accessibility

Not every country has access to basic healthcare services due to a lack of healthcare infrastructure, choice of healthcare professionals, and financial barriers. Differences in culture, language, and beliefs can create barriers to healthcare access and utilization, particularly for immigrant or minority populations who may face disparities or a lack of understanding from healthcare providers.

3. Equity

Healthcare services can be expensive, particularly for low-income individuals who may not have the financial resources to pay for healthcare. This can lead to delays in seeking care, or individuals forgoing care altogether. In addition, health inequalities persist both within and between countries, with marginalized populations often experiencing poorer health outcomes due to social and economic factors.

Factors to Consider

Having a global healthcare plan is not an easy task and so you want to make sure you take these key points into consideration before choosing the right global health plan for your team:

  • As a company, it’s important to address the individual needs of the people who are participating and the total compensation of your employees so that those who are participating are satisfied with the plan they are receiving. Make sure there’s a plan that resonates with them rather than checking off a box for a list of requirements.
  • The financial costs of global health plans vary from country to country so you’ll want to figure out how much you’re willing to pay for your employees. Some employers require employees to take health coverage plans despite if they want it or not. However, companies can waste premium finances this way. Be sure determine a way to assess balance vs. retention of talent without breaking the bank.
  • Cash stipends are offered in some countries for locals and you may have employees who already are satisfied with their current plan. You don’t want them to feel will lose that quality so you can still continue that type of benefit with the use of cash stipend. Be sure to take into account tax implications and know the cost of the benefit will be taxed depending on the country.
  • Establish a timeframe sooner rather than later when implementing a global healthcare strategy. A company should start thinking about global healthcare plans when they have employees who travel frequently or relocate to different countries for work. This will allow sufficient planning so that employees are covered no matter where they are located while working abroad.

Benefits of Global Healthcare

1. Comprehensive Coverage

Global healthcare plans can offer comprehensive coverage for medical emergencies, illnesses, and injuries that occur while employees are traveling or working abroad. This can include access to doctors, hospitals, and other healthcare providers in different countries.

2. Cost Savings

Global healthcare plans can be more cost-effective than purchasing separate insurance policies for each country where employees are located. This can help companies to save money while still providing adequate healthcare coverage for employees.

3. Increased Health Accessibility

Employees can feel more secure and confident when they know that they have access to quality healthcare, no matter where they are in the world. This can reduce anxiety and stress associated with international travel and work.

4. Improved Productivity

When employees have access to quality healthcare, they are more likely to stay healthy and productive while working abroad. This can result in improved productivity and performance, which can benefit both employees and the company.


At Remofirst, we believe in Freedom of Work where any employer can hire employees in any market around the world to build an amazing remote team. Health benefits are a key part of attracting top talent and ensuring employees have a great experience with their coverage.

Remofirst partners with The Unisure Group to offer comprehensive global health plans in over 150 countries to provide a employers a simplified and flexible process for comprehensive health plans. Remohealth has a variety of different levels of coverage including: medical, dental, vision, wellness, and other plans that can suit your employees’ needs.

Learn more about Remohealth here: