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iPMI Magazine Has Moved

iPMI Magazine successfully rebranded to iPMI Global in 2023 and has moved to a new home on the internet. To visit the brand new international private medical insurance business intelligence platform, please go to www.ipmiglobal.com

New Online Claims Tool For Expats And Business Travelers

SOS International has launched a new online self-service tool for expats and business travelers on www.sos.eu. This new tool makes it possible for all expatriates and business travelers to file a claim anywhere, anytime at their convenience.

The tool makes sure that all relevant information and documentation is enclosed to the application which entails a more smooth and quick claims handling process to the benefit of both the insurance company and the policy holder.

The development of this tool is part of SOS International’s digital development approach and a response to the demand from the market. Today, policy holders want to be able to service themselves when it suits them and not abide to office opening hours and heavy case handling processes entailing paper work and sending documentation by regular mail.

To access the online solution, follow this link.

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MSH INTERNATIONAL Launches FIRST EXPAT+

MSH INTERNATIONAL has announced the launch of a complete international health insurance solution online for individual expatriates: FIRST EXPAT+

This comprehensive and affordable product offers worldwide coverage for all expatriates - including US citizens - under the age of 71.

“After months of internal consultation, brainstorming and competitive analysis, FIRST EXPAT+ has arrived and it is one of the best in its class,” says Philippe de Dreuzy, President and CEO at MSH INTERNATIONAL (Canada).

“The new MSH portal offers flexible and affordable coverage through a simple and user-friendly process,” comments Fabrice Tuffigo, Marketing & iPMI Sales Director. “Brokers can display FIRST EXPAT+ on their website: clients will be automatically redirected to a customized quotation page with the broker’s reference attached. This way we can track quotes and enrollments generated by each partnered broker.”

The core plan includes Hospital Care covered at 100%, Routine Healthcare (doctors’ visits, prescription drugs, etc.), Legal Assistance and Third-Party Liability. Optional benefits can then be elected in order to enhance the core plan, and a choice of deductibles are available to reduce the insurance premium.

Here are some of FIRST EXPAT+ key features:

  • Comprehensive Coverage – Medical, Dental/Vision, Maternity, Medical Evacuation, Life, Disability and Personal Third-Party Liability;
  • Flexibility – 4 different levels of benefits: Quartz, Pearl, Sapphire, Diamond and 5 geographical coverage zones;
  • Affordability – 5 year age bands up to 65, in and out-of-network reimbursements, 4 different deductibles;
  • Portability – Coverage of emergency care available outside of the subscribed geographical zone up to 60 consecutive days;
  • Modern Technology – Simple language, user-friendly website allowing instant quotation and immediate enrollment online.

 

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Pablo Moreno Appointed Group Executive VP Travel Global Business Line Europ Assistance

Pablo Moreno has been appointed as Group Executive VP Travel Global Business Line since December 1st.

He is member of Sales Board, Travel Steer Co & ExCom and reports directly to Pierre Brigadeau.
 
Pablo joined Europ Assistance Spain in 2005 as the Head of Commercial and Marketing. He previously had an experience in Corporate Banking at Banco de Sabadell Spain before becoming the Head of Client Management at American Express Spain.
 
Pablo Moreno has a Bachelor in Economics (Complutense University).
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Punter Southall Health & Protection Launches Expatriate Benefit Solutions

Punter Southall Health & Protection, one of the largest health and protection advisers in the UK, has launched Expatriate Benefit Solutions, a unique service to support employers with expatriate staff.

The new service is especially relevant for employers with small numbers of expatriates looking to expand and diversify their business overseas and is provided in association with Healix International, Morneau Shepell, and Bupa Global.

Commenting on the launch, Teresa Wighton, Head of International Healthcare Consulting, Punter Southall Health & Protection, says: “A successful international assignment needs careful consideration, planning and substantial resources. The average cost of an assignment can be significant and failure can therefore not only be costly, but also result in reputational damage for the company and the loss of valuable employees. Our new service helps reduce these risks and provides employers with the valuable support services that can help employees and their families settle into a new environment.”

The service comprises three inter-related components - pre-assignment screening, a cultural training and expatriate employee assistance programme, and international medical insurance.

Pre-assignment screening is provided by Healix International, using a simple online health questionnaire which is completed for all family members and assessed by a medical team. This is then used to determine if employees or their dependants have any underlying health issues or conditions to enable the right support to be put in place before an assignment starts.

Jon Atkins, Director of Business Development, Healix International, says “Many of the illnesses and health related problems suffered by business travellers and expatriates while overseas are both predictable and preventable. With the experience we have gained through the 12 million medical screenings we carry out each year, we are able to provide a comprehensive and cost effective online solution for assessing the health risks facing employees and their dependants.”

The cultural training and expatriate employee assistance programme is provided by Morneau Shepell and is aimed at helping employees settle into a new work environment and help their families adapt to their new lives. It comprises:

  • A three-hour cultural training programme where employees learn skills and knowledge to live and work effectively within a different culture, and families learn how to communicate around feelings regarding the international assignment.
  • A unique employee assistance programme (EAP) tailored specifically to support the needs and challenges facing expatriates. The service is 24/7 and provides access to 250 expatriate counsellors in over 70 countries, who all have personal expatriate experience.

Richard Albert, Vice President, Global Business Development at Morneau Shepell, says: “We are a leading and experienced expatriate EAP provider that has the unique understanding of the psychosocial impact of international relocation on diagnosis and treatment of problems. This clinical understanding enables us to effectively address expatriate problems and the spill over of these into the workplace. We also take a dual mandate, not only to provide short-term solution-focused counselling support, but also to sustain expatriates while on assignment.”

Bupa Global is providing the international medical insurance for this new service.  Ian Abbott, Head of Intermediary Distribution UK, Bupa Global, says: “Punter Southall Health & Protection partnered with Bupa Global to develop international medical insurance plans that fit the needs of expatriates wherever they are in the world. The products are available exclusively to clients of Punter Southall Health & Protection and are designed to give the ultimate assurance and peace of mind when sending employees and their families overseas. They provide cost effective, benefit rich cover, supported by a range of on-line services and 24/7 helpline advice and support.”

 

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Punter Southall Health & Protection Launches Post Hospital Service

Following the launch of its Med24 GP app in October 2015, Punter Southall Health & Protection, one of the largest health and protection advisers in the UK, has continued its innovative approach to healthcare and protection benefits with the launch of a unique Post Hospital Discharge product.

Available to all employers wishing to extend their health and wellness benefits at a minimal cost per member, it bridges the gap between discharge from hospital and full recovery.

The Post Hospital Service has been designed to look after employees when they come out of hospital after a stay of 48 hours or longer. The stay can be for any reason (except pregnancy), whether planned or emergency, and includes NHS or private care and so is relevant to the whole work force, not just those in a corporate health scheme.

To create the service Punter Southall Health & Protection has teamed up with Red Arc Personal Nurse Advisers and Collinson Group to offer seamless, medical, emotional and practical support for employees when they come out of hospital.

As well as unlimited nurse adviser support, the service provides help at home by high quality, Care Quality Commission (CQC) accredited, domiciliary care providers. This practical help is tailored to each person’s needs and can include a variety of services such as personal care, domestic duties, collecting prescriptions and arranging transport to appointments.

Commenting on the new service Jan Lawson, Executive Director of Punter Southall Health & Protection said, “Being medically well enough to leave hospital is not the same as being better. Extra support after returning home is often necessary, but rarely provided. Everyone is different and this product combines practical help, emotional support and a personalised “Get well, Stay Well plan” for an unlimited period.”

Adds Lawrence Watts, Business Development Director, Insurance & Assistance, Collinson Group, ‘We are delighted to be working with Punter Southall Health & Protection as it continues to broaden the offer of innovative Health and Protection products and services to its employers and their members.  We look forward to working alongside Punter Southall Health and Protection by providing first class assistance in the form of practical help through our accredited domiciliary care network at a time when it is needed most.’

By helping to support full recovery, the service will benefit employees and their families as well as the sponsoring employer, who will be seen as a caring employer, while assisting members to return to work more quickly and having less chance of relapse or future illness.

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Top 10 International Private Medical Insurance Magazine Mergers And Acquisitions News Stories 2015

Merger and acquisition mania swept across the international private medical insurance industry in 2015 driven by various market factors at home and abroad.

Congratulations to Healix International on the acquisition of Capita Global Assistance. The story was the most popular published under the Mergers and Acquisitions News section. Other mentions include Aetna, Humana, Willis, PMI Health Group, AIG, ING Employee Benefits, ABRY, International Medical Group, Simplyhealth, AXA PPP Healthcare, Anthem, Cigna, ACE, Chubb, Chase Templeton and Atlas Consulting.

At International Private Medical Insurance (iPMI) Magazine we followed the insurers' appetite for scale with the following 10 news stories proving most popular to our global audience:

Healix Acquires Capita Global Assistance

Aetna To Acquire Humana For $37 Billion

Willis Drives Human Capital And Benefits Presence In UK Through Acquisition Of PMI Health Group

AIG Acquires Controlling Stake in ING Employee Benefits Global Network; Renames To AIG Global Benefits Network

ABRY Completes Acquisition of International Medical Group, Inc.

CMA Clears Simplyhealth’s Sale Of Private Medical Insurance Business To AXA PPP Healthcare

Anthem Announces Definitive Agreement To Acquire Cigna Corporation

Willis Group Completes Transaction With Miller To Form A Leading London Wholesale Specialist Insurance Broking Firm

ACE To Acquire Chubb For $28.3 Billion

Chase Templeton Acquires Employee Benefits Specialists Atlas Consulting

 

 

 

 

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Turkey Travel Warning: Reports Of An Explosion At Sabiha Gokcen Airport

Reports of an explosion at Sabiha Gokcen airport in Istanbul at around 2am on 23 December 2015; the circumstances of the incident are currently under investigation; the airport remains open.

Over 2,500,000 British nationals visit Turkey every year. 

Visas

British nationals need a visa to travel to Turkey, except for cruise ship passengers with ‘British Citizen’ passports who arrive at sea ports for tourist visits to the port city or nearby cities, provided that the visit doesn’t exceed 72 hours.

If you’re visiting Turkey as a tourist or on business, get an e-Visa online before you travel. Only use the official Republic of Turkey e-Visa website. Avoid unauthorised websites as they may charge an additional fee. Some unauthorised websites have issued fake e-Visas.

If you don’t have an e-Visa you can still get a visa on arrival for £20 in cash, although the visa on arrival service is due to be phased out. Getting an e-Visa from the official website before you travel will avoid possible problems or delays at the Turkish border, or when boarding your flight in the UK.

International Private Medical Insurance For Turkey

Take out comprehensive international private medical insurance before you travel to Turkey, to cover the cost of any medical treatment abroad or emergency repatriation and evacuation. Be sure to read the small print of all iPMI policies before you purchase. 

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Insurance Companies And Products As We Know Them Today Will Have To Evolve

That's according to Griselle Chernys, CEO, at Wellaway, who took an executive seat on a recent iPMI Magazine round table business forum.

Although global risks have changed dramatically, medical inflation and the cost of employee benefits continues to cause concern. In the most recent iPMI Magazine Round Table Business Forum we spoke with leading C-Level executives from the world of International Private Medical Insurance about the rising cost of healthcare and medical inflation.

An AON report report shows that in 2015, medical costs are expected to increase by 10.15 percent before plan design changes and vendor negotiations—6 percentage points higher than the average inflation rate. In 2014, the global average medical trend was 10.34 percent. While the global average medical trend is expected to decline, three regions--Asia Pacific, Europe and Latin America--are projected to see an uptick in rates for 2015.

Talking to the IPMI round table group about the Aon Hewitt report Griselle Chernys, CEO, at Wellaway told us, “I think that the data is pertinent and probably correct. Healthcare is a commodity that providers will control and deliver as they want, especially in the private sector with IPMI coverage. Hospitals and physicians have the upper hand in the delivery and pricing, thus the need for integrated services. As I heard a physician administrator in a hospital say once, during some insurance pricing negotiation, “this is our price and if you do not like it, I would like to see you admit and deliver the medical care the member needs." As long as the relationship of providers and insurance is antagonistic, a solution will not be able to achieved. More and more hospitals and physicians will develop and deliver health plans via their medical facilities and I predict that the multi-hospital system will develop internationally as it has happened in the USA or as we see with Hospiten and the like.

Insurance companies and products as we know them today will have to evolve.”

ANDREW APPS, HEAD OF GLOBAL HEALTHCARE, BELLWOOD PRESTBURY added, “Competition between iPMI insurers is intensifying and will continue to do so as new entrants dip their toe into the market and dream of taking a slice of the ever expanding market. Price cutting particularly amongst the employer-sponsored plans is inevitable as the larger players jockey for position and greater market share, all of which is good for the employer in the short term at least. As the saying goes, there is always someone out there who will take the risk. But there has to come a point where underwriters have to make a return on their investment. At this point premiums have to rise and with the relationship between insurers and medical service providers becoming all the more strained as medical treatment fees increase, that day is not too far away. This makes the job of the adviser /broker all the more important."

ROMAN BEILHACK, CEO, GLOBALITY HEALTH said,Employers are operating in an environment where they need to provide high levels of healthcare for their employees, sometimes due to statutory requirements and other times due to the natural tendency of employers to look after the well being of their workforce. Employers are typically under pressure to keep their operating costs low and when they review their budgets during their annual business planning cycles they will aim to minimise the cost of employee benefits. Due to these cost pressures, there may be situations where employers will downgrade the insurance coverage so that they can afford a plan rather than removing the plan altogether. Globality seeks to find solutions for their clients in these situations.

The global average inflation rate is interesting for comparing one year to the next. However, when it comes to employer-sponsored plans then the specific features of those plans should be considered. This means considering the locations of the insured members, the benefit levels, the treatment providers and network access. Referring to a single global average can be misleading for many employers.”

One of the most common questions we hear within the IPMI industry is: how will the cost of international private medical insurance rise in the next 5 years?

ROMAN BEILHACK, CEO, GLOBALITY HEALTH told us, “Costs are expected to continue to rise at levels above general price inflation. There are continual advances in medical science with new treatments and medicines being developed all the time. It is normal that insured members will demand the best treatments and services available, particularly for expatriates. In order for insurers to offer these new treatments then there will inevitably be premium increases.

However, insurers should not use this as an excuse to increase premiums beyond what is necessary. As can be seen recently, Globality is holding 2016 rates at 2015 levels for many categories of its business."

ARJAN TOOR, MANAGING DIRECTOR, CIGNA GLOBAL IPMI added, “Medical inflation is driven by unit cost, i.e. the price of each service; and utilization, that is how many and what type of services are used. As the world’s health care standards continue to rise and the range of treatment facilities and breadth of treatment options available continues to increase, it is without doubt that both unit cost and utilisation will also continue to increase.

It’s our job as the insurer to understand these risks and continually evolve our proposition to protect our customers from the impacts of medical inflation as far as possible. We’re continually working on initiatives to help minimize the impact of inflationary volatilities including investments in expanding our medical network and claims teams globally, meaning we can counteract medical inflation spikes to a certain extent as we build long-term relationships with hospital groups. It’s a lot about experience as well - it’s imperative that our claims advisors know the expected cost of a hip operation in Singapore, for example, and can ask the right questions to ensure the costs are appropriate.

Ultimately, it’s impossible to say exactly how premium costs will rise over a 5 year period, but our focus will continue to be on driving forward our mission of helping the people we serve improve their health, well-being and sense of security.”

ANDREW APPS, HEAD OF GLOBAL HEALTHCARE, BELLWOOD PRESTBURY commented, “If I had a crystal ball, it would be easy to answer this; however, the reality is that no one really knows to what extent iPMI premiums are going to rise over the next few years. What is certain is that premiums will continue to increase due to the rising cost of medical treatment along with the ever popular demand for private medical treatment.

That said, increased competition amongst the iPMI providers has, to some degree, helped to keep premiums palatable for most policyholders (putting to one side the notion that nobody likes to see their premiums increase), with average year on year increases running between 5-10% depending upon where a person is living and working. How long this will continue is anyone’s guess, but the market is hotting up with yet more new provider entrants trying their hand.”

GRISELLE CHERNYS, CEO, WELLAWAY added, “The cost of international private medical insurance will rise dramatically and this will be driven by the development and demand for new treatments, pharmaceuticals and technology. Longevity is also playing a role in the inflation and utilization of medical services which creates more demand and demand will drive costs.”

TO READ THE COMPLETE ROUND TABLE, THE RISING COST OF GLOBAL HEALTHCARE, CLICK HERE.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Brazil Travel Warning: Cases Of Zika Virus Reported

Cases of Zika virus have been reported in a number of states; you should take steps to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes.

Take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance before you travel to Brazil. Foreign nationals are entitled to emergency medical treatment in Brazilian public hospitals. Public hospitals in Brazil, especially in major cities, tend to be crowded. Private hospitals will not accept you unless you can present evidence of sufficient funds or insurance. Make sure you have adequate travel health insurance and accessible funds to cover the cost of any medical treatment abroad and repatriation.

If you need emergency medical assistance during your trip, dial 192 and ask for an ambulance. You should contact your insurance/medical assistance company promptly if you are referred to a medical facility for treatment.

Malaria is present in parts of the country.

Dengue fever is particularly common during the rainy season (from November to March) and cases of Zika virus have been reported in a number of states.You should take steps to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes.

217,003 British nationals visited Brazil in 2014. Most visits are trouble free.

If you’re a single parent or guardian travelling with a child, you may need additional documentation.

 

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“Bupa World” Hosts Over 50,000 visitors

“Bupa World”, the innovative inaugurated store by Bupa Arabia for Cooperative Insurance, has been witnessing extraordinary visits in Riyadh for its unique healthcare services.

“Bupa World” is the first of its kind in the Middle East, allows a visitor to pass through a holistic healthcare journey and conduct basic health tests for free.

Since its opening in April, 2015, “Bupa World” has managed to host over 50,000 visitors from different segments of the community who have benefited from Bupa Arabia healthcare and awareness services.

“Bupa World” is designed to facilitate visitors’ experience by going through a series of health services at individual stations. Each of the six stations provide a different health service including; basic tests (blood pressure and temperature reading), glucose test, eye check, dental check, BMI test, bone density, fitness corner and receive basic consultation from Bupa Arabia doctors.

Mr. Nidal Saab, Central Region Director at Bupa Arabia, confirmed the vital role of “Bupa World” in spreading awareness among the community and be closer to all members, covering their every needs and working on providing the exceptional services.

Saab stated that, “Bupa World presented an opportunity for Bupa Arabia to communicate and engage with the community in an innovative approach, supporting them in leading healthier and happier lives. The exceptional success that is being witnessed at “Bupa World” counts towards a great achievement within Bupa Arabia, pushing forward in attaining additional healthcare achievements to our members and community.”

He added, “As soon as visitors enter “Bupa World”, we direct their experience and journey depending on the needs of the whole family. Large modern screens and dashboards have been installed to introduce the history of Bupa Global and Bupa Arabia, along with the worldwide network and coverage that includes more than 800,500 healthcare providers serving more than 29 million members across 190 countries in the world. A command centre screen board that displays specific dashboard where the customer can experience the healthcare services on real-time basis the visitor/s would become a Bupa Arabia member and observe live on the dashboards how we are in control of the member’s journey in the hospitals and while receiving services,” concluded Saab.

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