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iPMI Magazine Speaks With Richard Di Benedetto President Aetna International

In The iPMI Picture: Richard Di Benedetto President Aetna International. In The iPMI Picture: Richard Di Benedetto President Aetna International.

Please introduce yourself and background in the International Private Medical Insurance industry:

Richard di Benedetto: I’ve spent much of my career in the healthcare industry. Prior to Aetna International, I served as chief executive officer at Euromedic International, a leading European private medical services provider of diagnostic services, laboratories and cancer treatments. Before Euromedic, I spent 15 years with GE Healthcare in a variety of roles, most recently as president and CEO of their Eastern and Africa Growth Markets.

I joined Aetna in June 2013 as Executive Vice President with responsibility for the Aetna International business. Aetna International is one of the largest global health benefits organisations, delivering health and wellbeing services to more than 700,000 members around the world. Aetna has a global workforce of almost 50,000 with over 1,100 dedicated Aetna International employees spread throughout the United States, Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Middle East.

We are committed to growing and evolving our business around the world. Our goal is to continue this growth both organically and through the addition of new strategic partnerships that allow us to provide the best possible benefits solutions to expatriates and local nationals.

You are responsible for the continued profitable growth and expansion of Aetna’s iPMI business. What’s the plan?

Richard di Benedetto: At all levels of the organisation we work to empower our members to live healthier lives. It’s this philosophy that drives everything we do and helps to differentiate us in a competitive market. Our aim is to help members achieve health and financial security by providing easy access to cost-effective, high-quality, health and wellness services.

As a result, we have evolved into more than a health insurance company, aligning wellness and protection with a personal service capability to set a new benchmark for the international private medical insurance industry in supporting the health of members globally.

In parallel with the continuous development of affordable and integrated healthcare solutions for expatriates and local nationals, we are focused on building new distribution channels and local partnerships to reach the expanding expatriate and wealthy local national populations.

Aetna International launched two global health care products at the end of last year. Can you walk us through the features and benefits of this product suite?

Richard di Benedetto: Our core healthcare products are called Aetna Pioneer and Aetna Summit. Aetna Pioneer is aimed at individuals and families with Aetna Summit supporting members on employer-sponsored plans. The modular products offer five base plan levels - Aetna Pioneer/Summit 1750, 2500, 4000, 5000 and 5000+. Overall annual benefits range from USD 1,750,000 to USD 5,000,000.

All plans provide full cover for inpatient treatment, cancer care, and emergency medical evacuation as standard. Higher-level plans offer increased benefits including management of chronic conditions, compassionate visits by family members, dental and vision. In addition, outpatient treatment is paid in full under Aetna Pioneer/Summit 5000.

Members, depending on their plan type and level, can access a range of benefits that support their personal health and wellness goals:

  • A ‘Healthy Behaviours’ premium discount for individuals with a track record of healthy living, that grows with each year of healthy behaviour up to a maximum of 25% off of premiums;
  • Country risk information and personal safety protection from specialist crisis management company, red24;
  • Support from Aetna’s Care and Response Excellence (CARE) team to assist members with any-thing from pre-authorisations to evacuation management to hospital navigation and condition management programmes, like cancer and diabetes;
  • An Employee Assistance Programme with telephone counselling support and other benefits, for members on company sponsored plans; and
  • Access to a secure member website and mobile app.

The recent Aetna International video says Aetna International is pioneering positive change. What does that mean for 1.Insureds 2.Brokers?

Richard di Benedetto: Pioneering positive change is about shaping Aetna International so that our members have the freedom to live the lives they want to, knowing that we will be there to support their healthcare needs wherever they are in the world.

For brokers this means peace of mind. Every day we work hard to improve what we do and brokers know that we have the depth of cover and deep seated service capability that places their customers in safe hands.

Although risks have changed, medical inflation and the costs of employee benefits remains a number one concern. How will the cost of international private medical insurance rise in the next 5 years and why?

Richard di Benedetto: Medical inflation is a challenge for the IPMI industry and the paying customer. Aon recently reported a global medical trend rate of 8.75% for 2015 and 9.1% for 2016 and the annual increases in medical inflation around the world will inevitably affect IPMI premiums.

Precisely how far premiums will rise each year is difficult to tell. Medical inflation can be countered, to an extent, by provider networks where set rates for procedures are pre-agreed for a period of time and insurers can also use technology to improve efficiency. Wellness programs can help to reduce claims and ease the pressure on premiums by improving the overall health of member populations.

Global brokers, agents and independent financial services advisers are all looking at innovative new protection products that can compliment their existing portfolio. What can Aetna International provide?

Richard di Benedetto: The Aetna Pioneer and Aetna Summit products present an innovative and versatile approach for those looking to provide clients with a global, comprehensive healthcare solution.

The plans can be tailored to meet individual needs and give customers the confidence of knowing that their cover will adhere to local compliance requirements. Employers can provide different plans for different groups of employees within the same policies. This could mean setting up categories of employees working in different countries to provide levels of cover that make sense for each group.

Aetna Pioneer and Aetna Summit are integral to Aetna International’s evolution into more than a health insurance company, aligning wellness and protection with an unparalleled personal service capability.

In 2016 insurance is a given. Expats, mobile and remote employees and travellers all require value. How does Aetna International add value?

Richard di Benedetto: At all levels of the organisation we work to empower our members to live healthier lives. It’s this philosophy that drives everything we do and helps to differentiate us in a competitive market. Our aim is to help members achieve health and financial security by providing easy access to cost-effective, high-quality, health and wellness services.

Over the next 5 years, which geographic markets will represent your core strategic focus, and why?

Richard di Benedetto: We have a broad geographical reach, providing healthcare benefit solutions to members in almost 200 countries. Our operations can be found in UK & Europe, Middle East & Africa, Americas and Asia and we expect to enhance our presence across all regions during the next five years.

Post Obamacare, on the topic of geographies what challenges are insurers facing when it comes to insuring US citizens and employees outside of the USA?

Richard di Benedetto: Aetna International is well placed to serve the healthcare needs of US citizens living and working around the world. Our international private medical insurance plans provide access to first class medical facilities across the world and can cater for those who specifically want the option of receiving treatment within the USA. The close ties with our parent company, Aetna Inc., enable us to offer our members extensive choice with access to a network of over one million medical providers in the USA.

Last and not least, what do you think of iPMI Magazine?

Richard di Benedetto: iPMI Magazine is an excellent source of in-depth information on our market and useful to a wide range of brokers, customers, insurers and service providers.

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