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Globality Health Latest News

Globality Health Strengthens Network Management With Appointment Of Ronald Pritchard

Globality Health is proud to welcome the appointment of experienced senior operations manager, Ronald Pritchard, as Head of Network Management. His mission is to optimize working relationships with partners and the medical provider network, with special emphasis on operational and financial efficiency. He joined Globality...

18-05-2016 iPMI Magazine Executive Appointments Movements News

Globality Health Names Michael Kløcker As New Chief Commercial Officer

As of 1 May, Michael Kløcker is the Chief Commercial Officer of the international health insurer with a special focus on expatriates, Globality Health. His appointment completes Globality’s Board of Management, allowing interim CCO Gregor Schulte to focus on his core role as Chief Financial Officer. "I...

05-05-2016 iPMI Magazine Executive Appointments Movements News

Globality Health Continues UK Market Expansion With Appointment Of New UK Regional Sales Director

Globality Health, the international medical insurer with a special focus on expatriates is excited to announce the appointment of Mr. Gavin Royston, as UK regional sales director. With a wealth of iPMI industry experience spanning over 13 years, including 8 years at Bupa and 4 years posted...

22-06-2015 iPMI Magazine Executive Appointments Movements News

Globality Health Introduces New CEO

Munich Health, the health segment of Munich Re, has appointed Roman Beilhack as new CEO for Globality Health. The appointment is the next step in a comprehensive development program for Globality Health, the international health insurer with a special focus on expatriates within Munich Re. Beilhack...

07-11-2014 iPMI Magazine Executive Appointments Movements News

Globality Health Partners With UAE’s Leading Health Insurer Daman

By partnering with the National Health Insurance Company - Daman, Globality Health is extending its full international health insurance offering, including 24/7 emergency medical assistance and medical evacuation and repatriation services, to the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The partnership with Daman allows Globality Health`s clients...

04-11-2014 iPMI Product News

Globality Health Take Lead Sponsorship Position On Maritime Labour Convention 2006 Round Table Business Forum

iPMI Magazine is proud to announce Globality Health has taken the lead sponsorship position on the upcoming Maritime Labour Convention 2006 Round Table Business Forum. Mr. Philip Wright, Chief Commercial Officer at Globality Health will take the head of the round table. The Maritime Labour Convention...

13-03-2014 RT Delegate Sponsor News

EuroAlarm Joins The Globality Health Global Network

Globality Health is strengthening its global network by partnering with leading international assistance provider, EuroAlarm, to provide full international care, including 24/7 emergency medical assistance, medical evacuation and repatriation services, to all group and individual clients. A full support service that clients can depend upon...

03-12-2013 iPMI Magazine Breaking News

iPMI Conferences 2014

Team iPMIM are currently very busy researching a health and medical insurance conference for 2014. We are now at a stage where we need your input. iPMI Conferences (http://ipmiconference.com) facilitate dialog and debate between the various sectors of the international healthcare business. Insurance companies, assistance networks...

08-11-2013 iPMI Magazine Breaking News

New Cover For The Untapped Seafarers Market From Globality Health

Globality Health responded to the need for appropriate insurance for seafarers by partnering with Crewsure (crewsure.com) to offer clients innovative insurance products. From August 20th 2013 all vessels over a certain size have to comply with a new labour convention known as the Maritime Labour...

19-08-2013 iPMI Product News

Globality Health Introduces A New International Health Insurance Plan For Individuals - Yougenio® World

Globality Health has launched its new international health insurance plan for individuals, YouGenio® World. It is replacing YouGenio® with a large number of improvements to the current plan levels Classic, Plus and Top, such as full cancer care. In twelve-months the product development team has...

16-04-2013 iPMI Product News

International Private Medical Insurance (IPMI) Magazine

International Private Medical Insurance (IPMI) Magazine

International Private Medical Insurance Magazine (iPMIM) is the ultimate Health and Medical Insurance Digital Media serving expatriate, corporate, health and travel insurance markets. Due to the nomadic nature of the international healthcare industry iPMI Magazine is an internet based news service, for worldwide healthcare professionals, who need to understand the impacts of healthcare and insurance policy, regulatory, and legislative developments. Combined with in depth health insurance industry analysis, best-in-class health insurance industry data, and exclusive, C-Suite Executive health insurance interviews and round tables, iPMI Magazine bridges an information gap between healthcare payor, provider and patient. Written by the health and medical insurance industry, for the health and medical insurance industry, iPMIM is supported and designed by leading international medical insurance companies and service providers.

Website URL: http://ipmimagazine.com

iPMI Upgrade For SMEs

AXA – Global Healthcare has launched a new optional upgrade for companies providing IPMI cover for their employees based overseas.

Kevin Melton, Director of Sales and Marketing, commented, “In today’s connected world, it’s becoming increasingly common for smaller businesses to have employees based overseas. Some will even offer the opportunity to travel as a way of attracting and retaining talent, but it’s important to ensure that staff have the means to take care of their health, and the health of their families, while working abroad.

“Providing benefits such as international healthcare can be a source of significant pressure for SMEs, where, arguably, budgets can be tighter than in larger companies but flexibility is still particularly important. This new optional upgrade allows us to cater for a wider range of requirements because companies can choose to add different options for different employees, depending on what’s important.”

Those choosing to either purchase or renew the Comprehensive level of AXA’s International Health Plan now have an ‘extended out-patient optional upgrade’, which covers a full refund up to the overall policy limit of £1,500,000, on:

  • Medical practitioner consultations
  • Diagnostic tests
  • Out-patient drugs and dressings prescribed by a medical practitioner

And increased cover for:

  • Consultations for treatment of psychiatric illness
  • Physiotherapy treatment.

Recent market research commissioned by AXA – Global Healthcare highlighted that as SMEs – particularly smaller firms – have stricter budgets, there is a desire for benefits that will actively support employees on a day-to-day basis, ensuring they will gain the most value from their plan.

SMEs covering up to 49 employees now have four options to choose from if they wish to add an upgrade to the International Health Plan Comprehensive cover level; extended out-patient, travel insurance, routine pregnancy cover or dental care.

This new extended out-patient option means that SMEs can ensure their employees are fully covered for out-patient treatment, but at a cost that is manageable for those that aren’t yet ready to invest in more extensive cover.

 

Aetna International Opens Its First Health Clinic In Thailand

Global health care benefits provider Aetna International opened its first health clinic in Bangkok, Thailand earlier this month.

The Aetna Family Clinic, located in the Nichada district, marks a big step forward in Aetna International’s ambitions to bring integrated health care services to local communities.

In tandem with Aetna International’s health care benefits retail presence across Thailand, the new clinic brings international standards of primary care to the local residents of the Nichada Thani estate and the surrounding area. The clinic is open to everyone, including Aetna members, patients covered by other insurers and patients who will self-pay. Aetna members can also enjoy a seamless, coordinated journey between their Aetna health insurance cover and primary care needs.

The clinic employs highly-qualified, English-speaking primary care doctors experienced in a wide variety of medical conditions. Where specialist opinions are required, the clinic doctors can connect patients with the most suitable medical facilities for their situation, as well as specialists who are experts in their respective fields of study. The clinic will also offer consultations with visiting specialists in the areas of paediatrics, obstetrics, gynaecology and physical therapy.

“Nichada Thani is home to approximately 2,000 residents, with several thousand additional residents located in the surrounding Nonthaburi district. Due to limited primary care options locally, many simple medical cases used to require patients travelling to an outpatient facility in a local private hospital,” said Nick Potter, Managing Director, Thailand for Aetna International.

“We believe that most of these cases can be resolved in a local primary care setting, which makes the Aetna Family Clinic an effective solution that saves the patients’ time, money, and spares them from unnecessary anxiety.”

The opening of the Aetna Family Clinic follows Aetna International’s acquisition of Bupa Thailand in July 2017, as the company looks to go ‘broader and deeper’ into the local health care markets. Beyond providing quality health insurance, Aetna International aims to create an ecosystem of connected health services - to help their members get the best possible care from increasingly complex health care environments.

“By building our capabilities to provide an integrated service that takes care of our members’ health, we’ll be able to provide a differentiated experience that we believe will lead to improved patient outcomes,” said Derek Goldberg, Managing Director, Asia Pacific for Aetna International. “This is a unique proposition that we are confident will serve our members’ health well and accelerate our growth not just in Thailand, but also elsewhere in the region.”

iPMI Magazine Speaks With Reg Allatt, CEO, Global Excel Management Inc.

Please introduce yourself and background in the international medical insurance market:

My name is Reg Allatt and I’m the CEO of Global Excel. I’ve been in this business now for over 30 years. My family started in the travel health insurance product side in Canada in 1984 and our organization has since evolved into the largest international healthcare risk manager specializing in the U.S. market. I’ve been with the company since its inception.

Global Excel has been managing health care cases, claims and costs for more than 20 years. How has the business changed in that time?

In one sense it’s evolved but in another sense it’s stayed very much the same.

There is no question that healthcare costs remain a very significant concern for our clients. There was a time when the USA was constantly flagged for having the most expensive healthcare costs in the world. It’s still the most costly healthcare system in general, but relative price increases have actually slowed to their lowest point in years. Unfortunately the issue is that even a modest inflation rate in the USA translates into pretty significant hard dollar increases just because the prices are so high to begin with.

Internationally we’re seeing much higher relative increases in costs in other locations around the world. Today we’re noticing the same double-digit increases in certain areas which we saw in the USA in the early 2000s. To a certain extent this may be caused by certain providers looking to the U.S. as their benchmark for pricing but there’s no question that there is no ‘downward’ trend out there.

Certainly we’ve seen an evolution in the primary cost drivers. In the USA pharmaceutical costs, provider pricing practices, over-utilization, healthcare technology, M&A activity, etc. are all fuelling rising costs. It’s also a well-known fact that the USA is primarily a ‘fee-for-service’ system when the more a provider does, the more they get. However in the USA we can say that domestic patients (and their insurers) face the exact same issues as international patients (and their insurers) and it’s expensive for everyone. The system is uniformly bad in this regard. The big difference in the USA is the strategies international insurers use to manage their costs versus those used by domestic payers.

Outside of the USA some of these same cost drivers apply, but perhaps to a lesser extent. Certainly we’ve seen providers in Canada and Mexico (as well as other parts of the world) look at the U.S. price structure and ask “why can’t I charge that much as well?” So we are seeing specific international healthcare providers charge USA-level prices but then not offer the accompanying discount methodologies. And of course you have tourist areas in the rest of the world where a provider will have multiple price lists depending on the patient’s status. So internationally pricing discrimination is much more overt.

Unfortunately when we look at the ‘solution’ side of the equation there’s been very little change. Many of the tools traditionally used to manage that risk have stayed the same as they were 20 years ago. So while the need for a more comprehensive healthcare risk management approach has actually increased, the industry hasn’t responded as quickly. Global Excel is changing that.

Can you walk us through the suite of cost containment solutions on offer from Global Excel?

I think it’s important to step back and look at the actual definition of ‘cost containment’. For most people, they continue to use the old, traditional definition: obtaining a discount from a medical provider’s billed charges. That’s fine, it’s been the definition used since the mid-nineties when the whole managed care concept evolved in the USA and we started to see hyperinflation on hospital prices.

But we need to change our way of thinking. Discounting or repricing bills AFTER the services have been rendered is a pure ‘reactive’ approach. The damage has already been done and you’re simply trying to make the best of a bad situation. Healthcare cost inflation has always outpaced general inflation rates by a factor of 2 or 3 – sometimes more. If all you’re doing is repricing bills after the fact I guarantee you’re playing a losing game.

New solutions and new approaches to managing healthcare risk are needed and it is essential to start looking at the whole customer experience much more than we do now. We have to transform our way of thinking.

Global Excel is revolutionizing that traditional ‘cost containment’ paradigm. We are convinced the only way to truly manage healthcare risk is to intervene much earlier in the process. We need to engage the customer from the very start. We want to improve that member’s journey by helping to find the appropriate level of care and the right price and in the right location and throughout the process, avoiding unnecessary costs. We want the assistance to be provided in the most convenient setting with the highest quality. After the event has occurred we can address any ‘containment’ of the subsequent ‘lesser’ costs.

Cost avoidance is perhaps even more complicated than cost containment. Starting with properly designed and effectively worded insurance policies and then, when it comes to using that policy, using a number of different tools to provide the right care at the right time in the right location at the right cost. What this means is a very pro-active medical assistance and case management infrastructure where the customer’s experience is a priority.

This is all part of our corporate vision: to transform and simplify access to quality healthcare worldwide for people, payers and providers. It’s a big goal, but that’s what we’re working toward diligently.

We offer the most comprehensive range of healthcare risk management services available in the market today. There are the nuts and bolts – from pro-active assistance and case management tools including health risk assessment tools, telemedicine and visiting physician networks (which we refer to as StandbyMD), traditional brick and mortar outpatient, urgent care and specialized clinics, along with emergency room and inpatient treatment centres. Naturally we offer a complete range of backend repricing tools including a U.S. network with over 150 national, regional and local PPO and HMO networks,  more than 12K of our own direct provider contracts, and a complete team of hospital and physician negotiators.

What other services does Global Excel offer?

There are a range of other services that can be fully integrated: access to PBMs, dental and vision networks, as well as transplant, cardiac and cancer networks. We also have special contracts with pediatric hospitals. Our FairChex tool is unique and is designed to give insurers and assistance companies a provider selection tool which combines two critical factors: the cost of care (by DRG) at that facility combined with the quality of care (by matched DRG) at that facility. Currently FairChex is being sold as a stand-alone product in the US-domestic market and serves as a key underlying component in our StandbyMD suite of solutions.

In addition we offer consulting services in product design and wording as well as best practices in assistance and case management (if the client is already doing it in-house). We also work extensively with our clients on the reporting aspect. If you can’t produce useable information and convert that to actionable results, you’ll never be able to close the loop back to product design. And of course we have a strong reputation for being experts on the U.S. healthcare system and we’re often asked by clients to train their staff on how it works and what they need to watch for. I believe in total we offer well over 60 specialized services for our travel, expat, destination and domestic clients.

Our ‘secret sauce’ is not so much in ‘having’ that extensive range of services, but rather it’s being able to integrate them in a seamless solution that offers tangible value-added results. In a market that is becoming very transactional and homogenized, we take a lot of pride in being able to customize our solutions for each individual client’s very specific needs. The mass-market, high-volume approach focusing on low-value-add, low-cost, low-touch points is not who we are at all.

Geographically speaking, which regions represent your core markets?

Currently over 90 percent of the 350K+ claims we managed in 2017 occurred in the USA but that is changing rapidly. Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean have always been strong areas for us and those volumes increased significantly when we purchased Olympus Managed Healthcare and ChoiceNet International in 2015. With our acquisition of ChargeCare International in 2017 we’ve experienced a rapid increase in the number of European claims we managed. Naturally we purchased Prima Sarana Jasa in Indonesia for a reason, and without revealing our exact plans I think you’ll see some strong movement in the near future!

The reality is this – it’s our clients who are driving the demand for more international services. They want the ‘Global Excel’ experience in locations other than where we’ve traditionally served. That demand is reflected in our vision of transforming and simplifying the way the healthcare system works around the world.

Global Excel manages approximately 350,000 inpatient, outpatient and non-medical cases and files per year and processes in excess of $1.7B USD in claims annually. Can you walk us through the challenges of operating as a cost containment firm in 2018?

There are a few – externally and internally!

Externally we try to view and interpret things through the eyes of our clients. What challenges are they facing now? What challenges will they be facing in 5 years? Or in 10? There is no question the markets in which we operate are changing rapidly. The healthcare sector is booming around the world. I think one of the biggest challenges we face externally is the fact that healthcare costs are rising quickly and the traditional methods used to ‘contain’ those costs are no longer the most effective choice. It’s not good enough anymore to rely on a traditional cost container to ‘discount’ a bill on the back end of the process. So I think a major challenge we face is working together with our clients to intervene in the claims process much earlier. Speaking about cost avoidance rather than cost containment and how improving the customer experience can actually have a positive effective on financial performance… these are ‘challenging’ conversations! You’re asking an industry to shift its way of thinking completely.

Internally it’s all about putting the pieces of the puzzle together so they work seamlessly. There are a number of new tools and processes that need to be integrated: policy design wording consultation services, pre-treatment risk assessment tools and algorithms, telemedicine, visiting physicians, outpatient clinics and urgent care centers, in addition to emergency room and inpatient care. Then there’s the whole issue of traditional cost containment – the repricing or discounting of bills once they are received and the various methodologies used in that process.

And of course integrating all these internal components and providing them externally to our clients can ONLY be done with very sophisticated technology platform. And it goes without saying that that platform and all the data exchanges need to be compliant and run at the highest security levels.

All this to say, yes, there are a number of challenges. But Global Excel has a great team and we continue to deliver the most cutting edge healthcare risk management solutions in the market!

How is technology and mobile application development impacting the cost containment industry?

For years now Global Excel has been at the forefront of using technology in all aspects of organization. Technology has enabled us to do things to revolutionize the services we provide and the way we provide services to our clients.

Technology – and by that I mean systems and software – has taken on such a significant role at Global Excel. I’ve actually combined our healthcare risk management, information systems and technology into a single responsibility in our organization. Those functions need to work together seamlessly and are critical for a successful healthcare risk management strategy. Pro-active medical assistance, risk assessment, steerage, telemedicine, visiting doctors, case management, provider payments all have a basis in technology today. Additionally these are all the precise functions that can benefit from an innovative use of technology.

A challenge for many of our clients is putting a comprehensive and secure solution in the hands of their members. Many of these functions exist as separate components right now and there’s no link between them, no synergy. Global Excel is changing that. We’re working on providing this functionality to our clients – either as an integrated whole or as individual units they can plug into their own systems. The idea is not to take the human element out of the equation but rather to use technology to enhance the member journey and then apply a human element when it is most effective.

As we continue to expand our global footprint and as focus on our client’s evolving needs, technology will the foundation upon which we build our service delivery platforms.

Until 2011, Global Excel operated as a fully owned subsidiary of etfs (Expert Travel Financial Security Inc.). etfs was one of Canada’s leading providers of specialized health and travel insurance products and services. What does this mean for the business today in 2018?

It means we’re very familiar with both sides of the equation – taking risk and managing risk. In 2011 etfs was one of the largest travel insurance MGUs in Canada. We dominated the ‘snowbird’ segment – elderly Canadian citizens who travelled south to Florida, Arizona and California to escape our cold winter months.

Travel insurance in Canada is a very competitive market. At that time there were a few very large, very well financed product suppliers and then a number of smaller mid-market competitors. On the product side we needed to be nimble and very innovative in order to compete. At the same time we also did our own assistance, medical case management and cost containment. Again, in order to keep our insurance products competitively priced and to keep our clients coming back we needed to be just as innovative and cutting edge on the service side. In many ways I think our history in the insurance product space has given us experience on both sides of the equation – taking risk and managing risk – and it’s been a real differentiator for us in the market.  

In many ways that dynamic environment we had in our early days still saturates our organization – the need to be that much better, the need to push the envelope and the need to provide innovative solutions. Being a privately held organization we can’t rely on guaranteed ‘internal’ business. We need to go out and bring external business in through the front door. We need to provide competitive solutions that no one else can.

Although risks have changed, the price of healthcare remains a top concern for employers and employees. What forecasts do you have for healthcare pricing around the world over the next 10 years?

None of our internal data or the studies we’re looking at show a downward trend. In fact, as concerned as we are about the high costs we’re seeing in the USA, it’s other countries around the world that are showing larger relative price increases…particularly developing nations.

This is reflected in what we’re hearing back from the market. It used to be the USA was their primary concern from a financial perspective. Then they started seeing spikes in costs at a few individual international healthcare providers. Then it was local ‘areas’ of concern – often in tourist zones. Now it’s evolving again to include larger expat, student and iPMI destinations, and even countries.

Our feeling is that as long as the USA continues to be the beacon for comparison, many providers around the world will use those U.S. prices as a benchmark. That’s why the assistance, case management and cost containment industries need to evolve with new strategies to combat these ever increasing costs.

What can we expect from Global Excel in the near future?

We will continue to evolve and to grow. We will remain laser focused on the changing needs of our clients – not just what they’ll need tomorrow but what they’ll need 5 and 10 years from now.

We work in a very dynamic and exciting industry and if you’re not evolving to meet these new challenges you’ll very rapidly become irrelevant.

 

Cigna Launches Unlimited Preventative Dental Care – Offering A Solution To The £105m Annual Cost Of Oral Health Problems In The UK

Cigna UK HealthCare Benefits (Cigna) has announced core enhancements to its comprehensive dental plans to provide market-leading access to dental care, including unlimited preventative treatments, which will aid in addressing the economic loss of £105m every year in sick days1 that are attributable to oral health problems in the UK alone.

Cigna's dental enhancements are designed to support the overall health and wellbeing of its customers, and help improve dental care access and prevent future sickness absence caused by oral health related problems. These three core enhancements supplement Cigna's existing robust dental offering and inlcude:

  • Unlimited access to preventative treatments, including dental examinations, scale and polishes, x-rays and periodontal (gum disease) treatments for Cigna members on DentaCare and OralHealth plans.
  • Removal of the annual maximum benefit limit for preventative, minor and major treatments from all DentaCare plan levels, enabling DentaCare customers to enjoy access to a wide-range of dental treatments without the worry of exceeding an overall annual cap.
  • Removal of the pre-authorisation requirement for major treatment hospital stays and treatment required following an accident, providing Cigna dental plan customers with enhanced access to dental care. 

"The importance of improving access to dental care is supported by our own research2, which shows that almost four in 10 members of the working population rarely visit the dentist, and one in three tell us that they are unable to afford dental care," said Michelle Rae, Head of Propositions at Cigna UK HealthCare Benefits. "Cigna remains committed to delivering customer benefits that add real value to employee health and wellbeing, and dental plans that offer unrestricted preventative treatments, along with easy access to care, benefit all."

[1] http://www.dentistry.co.uk/2017/05/15/oral-health-problems-cost-uk-economy-105m-every-year-sick-days/

[2] Source: Cigna Health Attitudes Research. YouGov 2018

Cooley Expands Transatlantic Insurance Group

Cooley is strengthening its global insurance capabilities by adding East Coast-based counsels Heidi Lawson and Greg Hoffnagle. Formerly members of Mintz Levin’s insurance, reinsurance, investigations & risk management practice, Lawson will join Cooley’s insurance & reinsurance practice as of counsel and Hoffnagle will join as special counsel. 

“Heidi and Greg add another arm and greater depth to our cross-border insurance practice, including in insurtech,” said Cooley London-based partner and head of the firm’s insurance & reinsurance group, Mark Everiss. “It is rare to find such well-developed litigation, regulatory and advisory practices sitting side by side. It’s even rarer to find insurance lawyers who are so focused on Cooley’s client base of young and emerging companies. Heidi and Greg are a perfect fit for the firm, and we’re thrilled to have them on our team.”

A globally recognized and highly regarded insurance lawyer, Lawson has built a strong practice spanning litigation, regulatory and advisory work. She leads global insurers, capital providers, insurtech innovators, brokers, municipalities, and large and small businesses through insurance product innovation, coverage dispute resolution, strategic policy creation and investigation management. Lawson is based in Boston.

Hoffnagle’s practice focuses on complex insurance and reinsurance disputes as well as international commercial arbitration and litigation. Additionally, he counsels on regulatory and transactional matters, and works with insurtech startups, VC firms and insurance carriers to create innovative products and bring them to market. Hoffnagle is based in New York.

“Greg and I believe it’s critical to be part of a culture and platform that is best suited to serve our unique client set,” said Lawson. “We’re eager to leverage Cooley’s deep relationships with emerging companies, and we look forward to helping broaden the firm’s overall insurance offering.”

Aetna International Signs Strategic Partnership Deal With Humanis

Leading global health insurance provider Aetna International has signed a strategic partnership deal with Humanis, a French insurance group currently insuring 10 million people with 700,000 corporate clients.

The partnership will increase access to global healthcare solutions for large corporations and French expats around the world, while also expanding Aetna International’s already-growing global reach. The partnership will offer Humanis’ existing members Aetna International’s broad medical network and wide range of solutions. This includes better control of healthcare costs in the US for Humanis’ members, as well as a healthcare solution that meets regulatory requirements in the UAE. The partnership will enable an easier customer journey through a single sign-up process, a single point of contact, and overall consistency in the services offered.

Likewise, the partnership will increase Aetna International’s footprint in continental Europe with an expansion into the French market, guided by Humanis’ local expertise and understanding of the French government. Together, Aetna International and Humanis will offer affordable healthcare to their joint global members, building a healthier world that focuses on prevention first.

"This strategic partnership agreement with Humanis comes at the right time. Aetna's expertise and global presence, combined with the exceptional quality and local service that Humanis provides to its customers, will allow us to expand and improve the services we offer to our members. This partnership is part of our strategy to provide local services to our members worldwide, while adapting to national and regional disparities. We look forward to working together with Humanis on improving quality and access to healthcare for our members around the world", says Richard di Benedetto, CEO of Aetna International.

Aetna International is committed to tackling wastage and inefficiency across all parts of the healthcare economy. In the US alone it is estimated that $800 billion per year is wasted on un-integrated healthcare systems. Moreover, healthcare is often focused on treatment, not prevention which means that the system is constantly under strain and firefighting.

Combined with the world’s growing ageing population with the growth in the prevalence of chronic disease, there is a need for urgent industry-wide solutions. Aligning with government payers and collaboration with providers such as Humanis can ensure that healthcare is based on overall health and outcomes, not just volume of treatment.

"The agreement with Aetna International is part of Humanis's open-architecture approach to partnerships and reinforces our ambitions in the development of our international mobility business. Our goal is to capitalise on the synergies between our two groups to optimise our global healthcare service, while retaining our USP as a one-stop-shop for health and protection insurance in France", says Sylvaine Emery, Director of International Activities, Humanis Group. 

Pacific Prime Receives Bupa Global's Best Performance - Intermediary Award

Pacific Prime has announced that they have been honored with the 'Best Performance Award - Intermediary' from Bupa Global at their annual APAC conference.

Held annually, this conference recognizes outstanding achievements among Bupa Global's key partners around the APAC region. This year, Pacific Prime was recognized for their strong performance in 2017, a recognition that highlights the expertise held by the company.

Upon winning the award, Neil Raymond, Pacific Prime's CEO commented, "Being named as a top performer is a huge honor for Pacific Prime; one we feel exemplifies the achievements of our company in 2017." He continued, "As a long-term partner of Bupa Global, we believe this award exemplifies the commitment our two companies have to bringing robust insurance solutions to our clients in the APAC region and beyond."

Commenting on the award, Sheldon Kenton, Managing Director at Bupa Global said, "As one of our trusted insurance intermediaries, we are delighted to present Pacific Prime with the Best Performance award which is demonstrative of the energy, enthusiasm and commitment of our partnership. Together, we are able to leverage market insight, understand industry developments and ensure customers receive the very best standard of service.”

This award will go on the shelf beside numerous other awards from Bupa Global that Pacific Prime has earned, including two awards naming the broker as Bupa's Top Distributor two years in a row, and another award for being a top producer of individual sales. Together, these awards highlight Pacific Prime's dedication to delivering high quality insurance solutions and services.

Air Freight Up 6.8% In February But Protectionist Risks Remain

Growth results for global air freight markets for February 2018 showing a 6.8% increase in demand measured in freight tonne kilometers (FTKs) compared to the same period last year. Adjusting for the potential Lunar New Year distortions by combining growth in January 2018 and February 2018, demand increased by 7.7%. This was the strongest start to a year since 2015. 

Freight capacity, measured in available freight tonne kilometers (AFTKs), grew by 5.6% year-on-year in February 2018. Demand growth outstripped capacity growth for the 19th month in a row which is positive for airline yields and the industry's financial performance. 

The continued growth in air cargo demand is consistent with ongoing robust global trade flows. There are, however, signs that the best of the upturn for air freight has passed. Demand drivers for air cargo are moving away from the highly supportive levels seen last year. In recent months the Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) for manufacturing and export orders has softened in a number of key exporting nations including Germany, China and the US. And the seasonally adjusted demand for air cargo which rose at a double-digit annualized rate for much of 2017 is now trending at 3%. 

"Demand for air cargo continues to be strong with 6.8% growth in February. The positive outlook for the rest of 2018, however, faces some potentially strong headwinds, including escalation of protectionist measures into a full-blown trade war. Prosperity grows when borders are open to people and to trade, and we are all held back when they are not," said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA's Director General and CEO.   

Regional Performance

All regions reported an increase in demand in February 2018.   

Asia-Pacific airlines saw demand in freight volumes grow 6.5% in February 2018 and capacity increase by 7.2%, compared to the same period in 2017. The upward-trend in seasonally-adjusted volumes has returned, with volumes currently trending upwards at an annualized pace of between 6.0% and 7.0%. As the largest freight-flying region, carrying close to 37% of global air freight, the risks from protectionist measures impacting the region are disproportionately high. 

North American airlines' freight volumes expanded 7.3% in February 2018 compared to the same period a year earlier, and capacity increased by 4.1%. Seasonally-adjusted volumes are broadly trending sideways. The weakening of the US dollar over the past year has helped boost demand for air exports. Data from the US Census Bureau shows a 10.2% year-on-year increase in air export volumes from the US in January 2018, compared to a slower rise in imports of 6.7%. 

European airlines posted a 5.7% increase in freight volumes in February 2018. This was almost half the rate of the previous month and the slowest of all regions. Capacity increased 3.8%. Seasonally-adjusted volumes have been volatile in 2018 with the jump in demand in January largely reversed in month-on-month terms in February. The strength of the Euro and the risks from protectionist measures may impact the European freight market which has benefitted from strong export orders, particularly in Germany, in recent years.  

Middle Eastern carriers' year-on-year freight volumes increased 7.4% in February 2018 and capacity increased 7.6%. Seasonally adjusted freight volumes continue to trend upwards however they have slowed to an annualized rate of 4% since late 2017. This largely reflects the weak conditions on the routes to and from Europe which have seen demand trend downwards at a double-digit rate over the past five months.   

Latin American airlines experienced growth in demand of 8.7% in February 2018 and a capacity increase of 6.9%. The pick-up in demand over the last 18 months comes alongside signs of economic recovery in the region's largest economy, Brazil. Seasonally-adjusted international freight volumes are now back to the levels seen at the end of 2014.

African carriers' saw freight demand increase by 15.9% in February 2018 compared to the same month last year – the largest increase of any region. Capacity increased by 3.9%. The increase was helped by very strong growth on the trade lanes to and from Asia driven by ongoing foreign investment flows into Africa. While the surge in demand on the route looks to have stabilized, volumes still increased by nearly 24% in year-on-year terms in January. 

Strong Passenger Demand Resumes; Record Load Factor in February

Global passenger traffic results for February showing a rebound in traffic growth following the slower demand experienced in January, which was owing to temporary factors including the later timing of the Lunar New Year in 2018.

Total revenue passenger kilometers (RPKs) for the month rose 7.6%, compared to February 2017, up from 4.6% year-over-year growth in January. Monthly capacity (available seat kilometers or ASKs) increased by 6.3%, and load factor rose 0.9 percentage point to 80.4%, surpassing the previous record for the month of 79.5%, which was set in February 2017.

"As expected, we saw a return to stronger demand growth in February, after the temporary slowdown in January. This is being supported by the robust economic backdrop and solid business confidence. However, increases in fuel prices--and labor costs in some countries--likely will temper the amount of traffic stimulation from lower airfares this year," said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA's Director General and CEO.

International Passenger Markets

FEBRUARY 2018 (% YEAR-ON-YEAR)WORLD SHARE (1)RPKASKPLF- %-PT (​2)PLF- LEVEL(​3)
Total Market 100.0% 7.2% 6.3% 0.9​% 80.4%
Africa 2.2% 2.1% 0.2% 1.3% 68.8%
Asia Pacific 33.7% 10.1% 9.3% 0.6% ​82.1%
Europe 26.5​% 7.0% 4.9% 1.6% 81.6%
Latin America 5.2% 7.2% 6.1% 0.9% ​81.4%
Middle East ​​9.5% 3.7% 3.9% -0.2% 74.0%
North America 23.0% 6.5% 5.0​% 1.1% 80.6​%

(1) % of industry RPKs in 2016 (2) Year-on-year change in load factor (3) Load factor level

February international passenger demand rose 7.2% compared to February 2017, which was up from the 4.2% increase recorded in January. Led by airlines in Latin America, all regions recorded better year-on-year growth compared to January's results. Total capacity climbed 5.9%, and load factor rose 1.0 percentage point to 79.3%.

  • European carriers saw February demand increase by 6.8% compared to a year ago, a modest acceleration compared to a 6.0% increase in January. Passenger volumes are trending upwards at a double-digit annualized rate alongside supportive economic conditions in the region. Capacity rose 5.0% and load factor increased 1.4 percentage points to 82.2%, highest among regions.
  • Asia-Pacific airlines' February traffic rose 9.1% compared to the year-ago period. Demand is being supported by healthy regional economic growth and expansion in the number of routes on offer. Capacity increased 8.4% and load factor climbed 0.6 percentage point to 80.5%.
  • Middle East carriers recorded a 3.4% demand increase in February compared to a year ago. Capacity rose 3.9% and load factor slipped 0.3 percentage point to 74.1%. Carriers in the region faced significant headwinds over the past year including the temporary ban on large portable electronic devices as well as the proposed travel bans to the US from some countries in the region.
  • North American airlines' traffic climbed 7.2% in February, supported by the relatively vigorous US economic backdrop, while the weaker dollar appears to be offsetting some of the negative impacts on inbound travel. Capacity rose 4.6% and load factor was up 1.9 percentage points to 78.0%.
  • Latin American airlines posted the fastest year-on-year growth for a second consecutive month as February traffic jumped 9.8% compared to February 2017, up from 8.1% growth in January. Demand continues to recover from the impacts of the severe 2017 hurricane season. Capacity increased by 8.9%, and load factor rose 0.6 percentage point to 81.5%.
  • African airlines experienced a 6.3% rise in traffic for the month compared to the year-ago period. The growth occurred amid an improving regional economic backdrop. Business confidence in Nigeria has risen sharply over the past 15 months while a reduction in political uncertainty in South Africa has contributed to an improvement in business confidence there for the first time in more than a year. Capacity rose 3.3%, and load factor climbed 1.9 percentage points to 67.8%.

Domestic Passenger Markets

FEB 2018 (% YEAR-ON-YEAR)WORLD SHARE 1RPKASKPLF (%-PT)​2PLF (LEVEL)​3
Domestic 36.2% 8.2% 7.0% 0.9​% 82.3%
Dom. Australia (4) 0.9% 3.9% 0.5% 2.6% 77.3%
Dom. Brazil (4) 1.2% 4.5% 3.4% 0.8% ​80.1%
Dom. China P.R. (4) 9.1​% 11.8% 13.1% -0.9% 85.3%
Dom. India (4) 1.4% 22.9% 17.7% 3.9% 90.7%
Dom. Japan (4) ​​1.1% 5.8% 2.1% 2.5% 71.8%
Dom. Russian Fed (4) 1.4% 6.6% 1.3% 3.8% 77.9%
​Dom. USA (4) 14.5%​ 6.2% 5.2% 0.7% 81.9%​

(1) % of industry RPKs in 2016 
(2) Year-on-year change in load factor 
(3) Load factor level 
(4) The seven domestic passenger markets for w hich broken-dow n data are available account for 30% of global total RPKs and approximately 82% of total domestic RPKs 

Domestic travel demand rose 8.2% in February compared to February 2017, up from 4.9% year-over-year growth in January, with all markets reporting increases, led by India and China. Domestic capacity climbed 7.0%, and load factor increased 0.9 percentage point to 82.3%.

  • India's domestic traffic rose 22.9%, the 42nd consecutive month of double-digit year-on-year demand growth, and load factor exceeded 90% for the first time on record. Passenger demand continues to be stimulated by network growth that translates into time savings for air travelers.
  • Australian domestic traffic rose 3.9% compared to the year-ago period, which was a 17-month high.

The Bottom Line

"All around the globe we see the same positive picture of growth in demand for aviation connectivity. Aviation is the business of freedom, enabling people to lead better lives. Aviation has helped to lift millions from poverty, but for aviation to deliver even greater benefits in future, adequate, affordable infrastructure is a must. 
 
"A case in point is the Latin American region, where aviation already supports jobs for 5 million people and $170 billion in GDP. The potential for aviation to do far more exists, but without concerted action by governments to address capacity shortfalls, the region could face an infrastructure crisis in the future. Within the region, Mexico City is the most critical of the bottlenecks. The current airport was designed for 32 million passengers annually but serves 47 million. The solution is a new airport which is already under construction. But its future has been politicized in the current presidential election. The vital need for the new airport needs to be understood by all," said de Juniac.

Report Backs Calls For Cost Transparency

A report into out-of-pocket medical expenses has found people routinely incur expenses in the thousands, describing the health system as one of high cost, complexity and confusion.

The Consumers Health Forum of Australia report surveyed 1200 people.

Out-of-pocket medical costs are the difference or ‘gap’ between what doctors charge and what the Government, via Medicare, and/or a private health fund - contributes for a service.

The report says it “revealed profound problems with Australia’s public-private health system with many patients facing harsh choices between long delays in treatment or exorbitant out of pocket costs. The causes are deep-seated, complex and difficult to resolve.”

CHF demands more clarity for consumers.

CHF CEO Leanne Wells says, “given the costs involved, consumers require clarity and certainty in ascertaining the fees they face, in total and in detail.”

“This could be provided on an independent, authoritative website containing all doctors’ fees.”

“Not all surgeons are doing the wrong thing by their patients,” says Leanne Wells. “Some are doing better on informed consent and coming closer to providing a single quote for overall treatment costs to patients.”

The CHF survey had 1200 respondents. Those who had incurred costs in hospital were asked to indicate who had discussed their out of pocket costs with them.

Options presented to them were: 1.Specialist, 2.GP, 3.Other, and 4.No one.

Of the 62% who chose to respond to this question, no one discussed costs with 37% of respondents.

Specialists had discussed costs with 47.2% and GPs with 3.4%.

The report states:

“Given that the Medical Board of Australia regards most health professionals as having a legal duty to inform patients of financial implications of treatment, these figures should and do raise considerable concern.”

The CEO of consumer advocacy group CHOICE, Alan Kirkland, wants a more transparent private health system where consumers are given clear information at the right time, not when it's convenient for specialists, hospitals or health insurers.

“Average prices for common procedures such as knee replacement surgery, gall bladder and colonoscopy should be publicly available.

“People should be able to find out as early as possible whether the specialist is likely to charge them an out-of-pocket cost so they have the opportunity to ask their GP for other options."

Private health insurers repeat calls to make charges to consumers more transparent.

Dr Dwayne Crombie, Managing Director of Bupa Health Insurance, says patients must be given the chance to have informed financial consent.

"While the majority of doctors are doing the right thing, patients should know when a fee is higher than usual and be able to question why that is so."

"Any out of pocket costs, such as doctors' fees or hospital fees, must be known in advance. This is a critical component of informed financial consent."

"Patients should know in advance what they will be charged for a procedure, how that compares to other specialists, what their health insurer will cover them for and what out-of-pocket costs they will face."

Dr Rachel David, the CEO of Private Healthcare Australia, told Fairfax two of the treatment areas highlighted in the report – for cancer and autoimmune diseases - were largely treated as out-patient or specialist consultations.

Legislation prevents private health funds from covering the gap for these.

"Until this is addressed by the government, the problem is with the Medicare Benefits Schedule and what doctors charge, rather than the funds,” says Dr David.

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International Private Medical Healthcare Expatriate Travel Insurance Plans

A guide to leading international medical, healthcare, expatriate and travel insurance underwriters, companies and providers operating within leisure, expatriate and corporate travel business markets, globally.

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Medical, Healthcare, Expatriate And Travel Insurance

A guide to leading international medical, healthcare, expatriate and travel insurance underwriters, companies, providers, operating within leisure, expatriate and corporate travel business markets, globally.

  •