COVID-19 Expat Updates

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COVID-19 MetLife Worldwide

Critical Health Alert; Last Updated: March 31, 2021

We are here for you.

For over 152 years, MetLife has been committed to protecting the health and well-being of our customers, their families, and our communities. 

MetLife Worldwide Benefits coverages include Medical, Dental, Vision, Life, Accidental Death & Dismemberment (AD&D), Long Term Disability (LTD) and short-term traveler products. For expatriate employees, employers and brokers who have benefits with MetLife Worldwide Benefits, below are plan details and frequently asked questions to support you during this uncertain time. 

We want to assure you that MetLife is prepared, and has taken action to ensure our customers get the service they expect, the coverages they need are maintained, questions are answered, and claims are processed in a timely manner.

Below you will find important updates on available resources, benefit coverage and answers to common questions.

Supporting Expatriate Employees Through a COVID-19 Diagnosis

If an insured expatriate employee or their eligible family members who are covered by  a MetLife Worldwide Benefits policy is diagnosed with COVID-19, or experiencing symptoms, we recommend they consult with their treating physician.

Please note, MetLife Worldwide Benefits plans are unique for each company. Please refer to the certificate of insurance for information on an employer’s plan. For information as to what is covered under the plan, expatriate employees may also refer to their Schedule of Benefits, which can be found on eBenefits. Read about  the impact of the coronavirus on the various coverages below.

Coverage Support for COVID-19

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Care related to the coronavirus is covered under your expatriate medical plan. MetLife Worldwide Benefits will waive expatriate employees’ out-of-pocket expenses such as coinsurance, deductibles, or copayments related to diagnostic visits and testing for COVID-19 when medically necessary, through June 30th, 2021. Benefits will be payable at in-network rates or at Medicare rates, as applicable, when applicable in-network rates are not available. 

MetLife Worldwide Benefits covers medical care for COVID-19 treatment at plan benefits. 

In addition, MetLife will cover the cost of approved vaccinations at 100% with no cost sharing. 

There are no policy limitations that would apply to a pandemic event. MetLife is required to evaluate each claim in accordance with the terms of the policy and to use the same claim processes as it does for any other sickness or injury claim. Each claim will be reviewed consistent with policy terms and applicable insurance law.

IBTM plans provide coverage for urgent and emergent medical care, so medically necessary tests, office visits, and treatment for COVID-19 are covered. If an insured employee or dependent is admitted to the hospital because of a COVID-19 diagnosis, they will be covered for care related to the diagnosis, provided they meet the plan requirements. MetLife Worldwide Benefits is waiving patient responsibility (including deductibles, coinsurance, and copays) related to the testing for COVID-19, when medically necessary, through June 30th, 2021. Coverage for COVID-19 treatment is covered at a member's plan benefit level. 

COVID-19 has no impact on life insurance plans.  Claims for life insurance benefits may be filed regardless of the insured’s cause of death and will be processed as usual in accordance with the terms of the plan. 

There are no policy limitations that would apply to disabilities caused by COVID-19. MetLife will evaluate each claim in accordance with the terms of the policy and use claim processes already in place for disability claims.

Resources

Below are other resources and benefits that are available for insured expatriate employees or their eligible family members with medical insurance through MetLife Worldwide Benefits:

Resources for COVID-19

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Expatriate employees should contact Customer Service using the information on their ID cards if they have any questions or concerns. Our staff are trained and well prepared to handle inquiries and guide employees to nearest medical facility for care.

Expatriate employees can review the critical alerts and health warnings available on the “Travel Tools” section of our website, eBenefits, available any time.

Telemedicine allows covered employees and their families to seek care without traveling to a healthcare facility and potentially risking their health or the health of others. MetLife Worldwide Benefits offers a network of virtual medical providers to all employees of all customers. Services provided through the telemed network are covered at 100% for all conditions.

If an expatriate employee’s medical plan includes IEAP through MetLife Worldwide Benefits, critical incident support can be accessed 24/7. To get more information, employees can access the IEAP tab on eBenefits for information on how to get started.

If an expatriate employee’s medical plan includes emergency medical evacuation through MetLife Worldwide Benefits, they may be eligible for emergency medical evacuation if they suffer an emergency sickness, including COVID-19. MetLife will use any and all available resources to ensure a safe and timely evacuation, should one be needed. Expatriate employees should ask their employer if emergency medical evacuation is included in their medical plan or review their Schedule of Benefits on eBenefits.

Policy accommodations

We understand that the COVID-19 pandemic may require employers to unexpectedly furlough, temporarily lay-off or reduce hours/salary for employees.  We also understand that employees working overseas who have temporarily returned to their primary country of residence may not be able to go back to their worksite countries for the duration of the pandemic.  As a response to these unique events, and provided premium continues to be remitted to MetLife Worldwide Benefits:

  • MetLife Worldwide Benefits is waiving patient responsibility (including deductibles, coinsurance, and copays) related to the diagnostic visits and testing for COVID-19, when medically necessary, through June 30th, 2021. Benefits will be payable at in network rates or at Medicare rates, as applicable when applicable in-network rates are not available. There are no policy limitations that would apply to a pandemic event. MetLife is required to evaluate each claim in accordance with the terms of the policy and to use the same claim processes as it does for any other sickness or injury claim. Each claim will be reviewed consistent with policy terms and applicable insurance law.
  • For group medical, dental, vision coverage as well as life coverage, MetLife is willing to allow; (1)  employees who were furloughed, temporarily laid-off or had reduced hours/salary in 2020 to continue their coverage from the date of the furlough, temporary lay-off or reduced hours/salary for up to 12 months during the COVID-19 pandemic and State of Emergency; and (2) employees who were furloughed, temporarily laid-off or had reduced hours/salary in 2021 to continue their coverage through 12/31/21 or the date the COVID-19 pandemic and State of Emergency ends, whichever occurs sooner.  Premiums need to be remitted for coverage to remain active.
  • For employees who temporarily return to their primary country of residence, and are unable to return to their worksite country because of national or international restrictions on travel applicable to the employee, we are extending coverage beyond the contractual 90-day period for up to 6 months from the date applicable travel restrictions have been lifted.
  • For purposes of group life coverage, the coverage amounts will not be reduced as a result of temporary salary reductions and will remain in effect just as they were prior to the furlough, temporary lay-off or reduced hours/salary. Accordingly, premium needs to be remitted based on the volume for the regular (non-reduced) coverage amounts.
  • For group disability, the furlough exception period has expired. MetLife will follow the terms of the certificate.
  • In all instances, if your group policy allows for longer periods of continued coverage under any of the circumstances outlined above, we will honor the longer period of time.
  • MetLife is not imposing any travel restrictions. If expatriate employees are actively working while quarantined or working virtually from their work site country, we will continue to cover them under the plan.

Keeping You Informed

Product FAQs

For expatriate employees, employers and brokers who have benefits with MetLife Worldwide Benefits, below are some frequently asked questions and answers as they may relate to a plan with us.

For specific questions or questions not answered here, clients and brokers should contact their MetLife Worldwide Benefits Account Manager; expatriate employees should contact Customer Service using the information on their ID card

Expat Medical FAQs

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There are no policy limitations that would apply to a pandemic event. MetLife is required to evaluate each claim in accordance with the terms of the policy and to use the same claim processes as it does for any other sickness or injury claim. Each claim will be reviewed consistent with policy terms and applicable insurance law.

MetLife Worldwide Benefits is waiving patient responsibility (including deductibles, coinsurance, and copays) related to the testing for COVID-19, when medically necessary, through June 30th, 2021. Benefits will be payable at in network rates or at Medicare rates, as applicable when applicable in-network rates are not available.

Coverage for COVID-19 treatment is covered at a member's plan benefit level. 

These tests are covered according to plan benefits when medically necessary.

An insured expatriate employee and  their insured family members may be eligible for emergency medical evacuation due to COVID-19 if they suffer an emergency sickness that warrants emergency medical evacuation while outside their country of primary residence.

MetLife will use any and all available resources to ensure a safe and timely evacuation, however, we will not be liable for failure to render services or for delays in service due to circumstances beyond our control.

Brokers, clients, and expatriate employees should reference their certificate for plan-specific definitions.

No. An insured expatriate employee or their family members must meet the definition of emergency sickness to qualify for an emergency medical evacuation.

Brokers, clients, and expatriate employees should reference their certificate for plan-specific definitions.

We are happy to make referrals for providers that are appropriately staffed and capable of testing for and treating COVID-19. As a result of the fluid situation, we advise expatriate employees to contact Customer Service when assistance is needed locating a provider.

For health and travel advisory members should be directed to: World Health Organization and US Department of State.

There are no policy limitations that would apply to a pandemic event. Each claim will be reviewed consistent with policy terms and applicable insurance law.

Expatriate employees or their family members should consult with and follow the advice of their treating physician in circumstances where they have been diagnosed with COVID-19.

Please see list above in “Resources” section.

Brokers, clients, and expatriate employees should reference their Schedule of Benefits for benefit definitions and to determine access to benefits.

Please refer to the “Policy updates” section above for information on actively-at-work.

In order to address pandemic concerns, we have incorporated a loss of personnel scenario into our Global Resiliency program. This scenario provides a combination of solutions for employee and work area recovery. Testing is performed throughout the year. All plans and scenarios in our Global Resiliency program are reviewed annually.

What up-to-date educational resources are available to learn more about novel coronavirus, how it spreads, regions impacted, travel alerts, and how to avoid exposure and stay healthy?

For health and travel advisory: World Health Organization and US Department of State.

No. MetLife is not able to add plan-specific benefit language on a Certificate of Coverage. This document is used to provide verification of insurance and contains the group name, participant name, certificate number, and covered dependents. It also validates coverage for each product (i.e., medical, dental, prescription, emergency evacuation, etc.).

Please see telemedicine bullet above in the “Resources” section.

The terms and conditions of the policy and certificate will apply. If a medical evacuation is warranted in accordance with the terms of the policy, the evacuation will be performed, subject to any restrictions imposed by the country in question. We are required to comply with all applicable laws, rules, and regulations in every jurisdiction in which we do business.

The travel restrictions placed by countries have no effect on insurance coverage. The terms and conditions of the policies are applicable.

FDA approved COVID-19 immunizations will be covered at 100% when medically necessary. Vaccine availability and distribution is a public health response driven by local health authorities. MetLife recommends consulting with local health authorities for vaccine availability and distribution. 

Expat Life FAQs

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For group life insurance, there are no policy limitations that would limit a claim payment resulting from coronavirus, provided the individual met all other certificate requirements. Each claim will be reviewed consistent with policy terms and applicable insurance law.

The expatriate employee must meet the other certificate requirements which include: The Waiting Period, the definition of total disability, and that the disability must continue through the end of the Waiting Period. Being exposed to the virus, in and of itself, is not necessarily considered a Total Disability.

AD&D policies do not cover diseases. Therefore, death due to coronavirus is excluded, as are all other diseases.

We do not anticipate special handling will be necessary. However, if such a situation should arise, MetLife will assess and make appropriate adjustments to ensure claimants are assisted in a caring and timely manner.

Expat LTD FAQs

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There are no policy limitations that would apply to a pandemic event. Each claim will be reviewed consistent with policy terms and applicable insurance law.

We do not anticipate that special handling will be necessary, if such a situation should arise, MetLife will make appropriate adjustments. Claims submitted with a diagnosis of coronavirus will be administered the same as any other disability claim. MetLife’s current claim processing standards and procedures apply.

No. Claimants are unlikely to satisfy the definition of disability in the applicable plan solely due to being quarantined. If the expatriate  develops coronavirus or even some other qualifying sickness while quarantined, the claim would be reviewed for payment.

Expat General FAQs

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We understand that these are challenging times for many businesses. As an accommodation to our DelAm clients, in the event premiums cannot be paid during the contract period, we are complying with Delaware’s mandate not to cancel policies for non-payment of premium without a court order, but to work with delinquent policyholders to come up with a payment plan for the duration of the state of emergency in Delaware.

Vaccine and Travel

MetLife’s evacuation vendor, AXA Partners, continues to closely monitor the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and its ongoing impact on travel. We strive to provide periodic updates regarding travel safety however, travelers should consult the World Health Organization (WHO) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) websites for the most up-to-date information on the COVID-19 pandemic. Below are some Frequently Asked Questions related to the vaccine and travel that AXA has encountered.

Vaccine and Travel FAQ

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The CDC recommends to avoid all non-essential travel as the U.S. and the world is still in a crisis stage. While the current COVID-19 vaccines appear to be extremely effective at preventing illness in the people who receive them, vaccinated people might still be able to transmit the coronavirus to others as asymptomatic carriers. Currently being vaccinated does not exempt you from quarantine and testing requirements.

Vaccinated people will need to follow mask-wearing and safe social-distancing recommendations in public.

Your body needs the time to build protection after any vaccination, usually 2 weeks after getting last vaccine dose for the full vaccine immunity.

Even if you are vaccinated, you stand the risk of contracting COVID-19 however the severity of the illness is minimized.

You can delay up until 42 days between doses although we advise trying to stick to the advised dates as close as possible.

Most countries run their own vaccination program for residents of that country, with an order of priority by age groups, medical conditions, and occupations. As a tourist of a foreign country, it is unlikely that you would be eligible for COVID-19 vaccines distributed by local health authorities, while supplies are limited.

You can delay up until 42 days between doses, although we advise trying to stick to the advised dates as close as possible.

There is also a possibility that the country that you are visiting may not be administering the same vaccine that you have taken.

COVID-19 vaccines will not cause you to test positive on COVID-19 viral tests.

If your body develops an immune response, which is the goal of vaccination, there is a possibility you may test positive on some antibody tests. Antibody tests indicate you had a previous infection and that you may have some level of protection against the virus. However, antibody tests are not the ones used to screen you for travel.

Currently this is not a requirement for medical transports. Also, with most COVID-19 vaccines requiring two shots and various countries using different vaccines, there is little way to ensure you will get the same vaccine for the second shot back home.

However, a negative COVID-19 test is still a requirement for most medical transports.

Although there is no preference for the various COVID-19 vaccines, experts agree that the COVID-19 vaccines are not interchangeable between the first and second doses. The safety and effectiveness of mixed vaccines has not been studied and more research is needed. It is strongly recommended that the 2nd shot be the same one as the first.

The current COVID-19 vaccines appear to be effective at preventing illness in the persons that are vaccinated, however vaccinated people might still be able to transmit the coronavirus to others as asymptomatic carriers.

Therefore, the risk is that your children are vulnerable to contracting COVID-19.

  • Confirm the type of COVID-19 test required. Some countries are very specific about the type of tests they will accept.
  • Confirm how recently the test must be taken.
  • Research how to secure a test in the country you’ll visit or you may contact AXA for assistance in locating the nearest testing facility.
  • Make an appointment with sufficient time to receive the results before boarding your flight.
  • Bring your identification, money and in some cases cash to the testing facility.
  • Obtain instructions and a contact at the testing facility in the event you do not receive the results on time.
  • If the results are sent by email, download your email or take a screen shot of the result as you may not have access to internet at the airport to show your results to the airline. If results are on paper, take a picture of your test result so you have a copy saved on your phone. Keep the print out in a secure location.

Now, there is no requirement however, there is growing discussion amongst countries as a way for visitors to avoid restrictions such as quarantine. Several African countries already require vaccinations for yellow fever, for instance, so there is precedent. This situation is developing and we will continue to monitor.

Because data are lacking on the safety and efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines administered simultaneously with other vaccines, the vaccine series should routinely be administered alone, with a minimum interval of 14 days before or after administration of any other vaccine.

Not at the moment. Most countries run their own vaccination program for residents of that country, with an order of priority for different age groups, medical conditions, and occupations. As a tourist of a foreign country, it is unlikely that you would be eligible for Covid-19 vaccines distributed by local health authorities, while supplies are limited.

Even if you are vaccinated, you may be able to transmit the coronavirus to others who have not been vaccinated. Also, you are just as vulnerable to other infectious disease that may mimic COVID-19. So take full precautions to avoid other travel illnesses.

Until everyone across the globe has access to vaccines, think about your destination, the country’s vaccination progress and their medical systems.

The CDC is still recommending that all non-essential travel be curtailed.

We are still learning how long COVID-19 vaccines protect people that have been vaccinated.

For these reasons, people who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 should keep taking precautions in public places, until we know more, like wearing a mask, staying 6 feet apart from others, avoiding crowds and poorly ventilated spaces, and washing your hands often.

While the current COVID-19 vaccines appear to be extremely effective at preventing illness in the people who receive them, vaccinated people might still be able to transmit the coronavirus to others as asymptomatic carriers. Vaccinated people will need to follow mask-wearing and safe social-distancing recommendations in public.

Can't find what you are looking for?

Let us help . For brokers and employers please reach out to your Account Managers and expatriate employees please reach out to customer service using the information on their ID cards if they have any questions or concerns.

Short-term travelers with an International Business Travel Medical (IBTM) plan should need to obtain additional support and guidance while on a business trip, they should contact Customer Service 24/7 at +1 302-594-8400 – our staff are trained and well-prepared to handle:

  • inquiries on plan benefits
  • hospital and clinic referrals
  • emergency medical evacuations

U.S. Employees

Looking for information about how Coronovirus (COVID-19) might impact your current policy? Go to our FAQs page for U.S. Policyholders.

U.S. Customers

Looking for FAQs and legislative updates to help Brokers and Employers navigate COVID-19?

MetLife is committed to navigating life together with you

We're in This Together

1 Telemedicine services are provided through vendor not affiliated with MetLife.

2 IEAP provided by a vendor not affiliated with MetLife.

3 Emergency medical and travel assistance services provided through vendor not affiliated with MetLife.

Like most group insurance policies, insurance policies offered by MetLife contain certain exclusions, exceptions, waiting periods, reductions, limitations, and terms for keeping them in force. Ask your MetLife representative for costs and complete details. MetLife’s worldwide benefits products are underwritten by Delaware American Life Insurance Company, a MetLife affiliate domiciled at 600 North King Street, Wilmington, DE 19801, and other affiliates.