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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

iPMI Magazine Speaks with Antony Brown MBE, Head of Africa, Aetna International

In this exclusive iPMI Magazine interview, Christopher Knight, CEO, iPMI Magazine, met with Antony Brown MBE, Head of Africa at Aetna International. They discussed in detail the international private medical insurance market in Africa, and the Sanlam Pan Africa and Aetna International Global Health Plan.

Please introduce yourself and background in the international private medical insurance (IPMI) market:

After 10 years with Her Majesty’s UK Foreign Office, I started the African subsidiary of InterGlobal Private Medical Insurance in 2008, as a member of the Executive Management team, and with overall responsibility for the Africa region as Regional General Manager, I later accepted the role of Head of Business in Africa for Aetna International following the acquisition of Interglobal by Aetna.

I have traveled extensively across the continent and I have a thorough understanding of the key insurance services required in local markets. I am also very well-versed in the regulatory requirements needed by insurers looking to operate stand-alone insurance businesses or partner with local insurance entities, in the region.

Sanlam Pan Africa and Aetna International have joined forces to deliver Africa’s “most comprehensive health care solution”. Can you walk us through the features and benefits of the new IPMI plan for Africa?

This offering has been created in partnership with Sanlam Pan Africa to address the healthcare needs of both local and expatriate nationals, on an international basis, across all market segments in 20 countries in Africa. Global Health offers a broad range of benefits, an extensive direct billing medical network and an enhanced member experience with local in-country service. The Global Health Plan reflects the needs and concerns of our clients and members across Africa, by giving them access to quality health care in a cost-effective way.

Through this partnership, we bring together the Africa-specific experience of Sanlam Pan Africa with the global expertise of Aetna International to deliver Africa’s most comprehensive and locally compliant health care solution with broad international access.

The Global Health proposition provides four plan levels — Value, Essential, Plus and Premium — with coverage ranging from US$100,000 to US$5,000,000. Depending on the tiers, the plans offer a host of health and well-being benefits, including cancer care, inpatient psychiatric treatment or psychotherapy, HIV or AIDS, terminal care, dental, optical and emergency treatment outside the area of cover.

With pre-authorised inpatient care across all of Africa and outpatient direct billing across the 20 Africa markets, Global Health offers members access to one of the widest medical networks locally and globally, as well as a 24/7 multilingual call centre for emergency and evacuation immediate assistance.

Who is the target market for the Global Health plan and why?

The Global Health Plan addresses the needs of the local market in 20 countries across Africa, for all employee levels: administrative, management and executive. Depending on the choice of cover, it offers access to health care in the country of residence but also abroad, for cases where medical expertise is not available locally or where the member is travelling. 

Geographically speaking, which countries does the new Global Health Plan cover?

Global Health is sold in 20 countries across the continent including Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Congo Brazzaville*, Gabon, Guinea Conakry*, Ivory Coast, Mali, Madagascar, Morocco, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Togo, Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda, Zambia and Tanzania. Members in these countries can choose one of four variants of area coverage:

Area 1: Worldwide Inc. US

Area 2: Worldwide Excl. US

Area 3: Europe Inc. Africa, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Lebanon & Bangladesh

Area 4: Africa, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Lebanon & Bangladesh

* Subject to OFAC regulations

Regarding access to healthcare across Africa, and the medical network, what are the options?

Members have access to an extensive direct billing medical network across the continent and beyond with more than 8,000 directly contracted providers in Africa and over 1.3 million health care professionals globally.

Emergency and non-emergency evacuation remain a critical feature of any IPMI plan. What options are available?

All four variants of the plan — Value, Essential, Plus and Premium — offer medical evacuation and in-patient cover as standard, but the coverage limits vary depending on the plan tier. For members under the Platinum plan, the cover is 100% of the medical evacuation costs.

What currency and billing options are available for insureds seeking access to healthcare under the Global Health plan?

Whether it is choice of medical provider or level of benefits, flexibility is a key value proposition of the plan and the same is true for billing.

For plan sponsors, premiums can be invoiced centrally in USD, or in the local currency of each respective country, subject to local laws and regulations.  

For members, Global Health offers outpatient treatment from within the available network on a direct billing basis in each of the 20 countries — the medical provider invoices us, as the insurer, directly without the need for the member to pay at the point of service. Inpatient treatment is required to be pre-authorised beforehand, and arrangements will be made by us, as the insurer, for the medical provider to bill us directly without the member having to pay. 

Can you please give us some more background on Sanlam Pan Africa?

Sanlam Pan Africa is the Sanlam Group’s business cluster that manages financial services in the emerging markets in Africa (excluding South Africa). Africa is a fundamental component of the Sanlam Group’s vision, which is the strategic mission of Sanlam Pan Africa — to build a leading pan-African financial services group.

Founded in 1918 as a life insurance company, Sanlam has become the largest non-banking financial services group in Africa, through its global diversification strategy and an unmatched

Pan-African footprint in more than 30 countries. Over the years, Sanlam has established itself as a financial services leader in the emerging markets in Africa and Asia.

What opportunities exist in the African market for international private medical insurance? Africa is a challenging geography – what issues on the ground, are expats and travelers facing when it comes to accessing high quality healthcare?

Africa is certainly challenging; its sheer size and diversity means that it is impossible to make broad generalisations on healthcare across the continent. Each country has its own strengths and weaknesses when it comes to accessing healthcare in any situation. For example, while coverage of healthcare can be patchy in rural areas, the quality of service in urban areas is certainly improving and often the challenge can be in arranging and funding care. In this respect, many parts of Africa are leading the way technologically when it comes to seamlessly booking appointments and minimising the use of cash, and Kenya is a great example of this.  We expect this capability to expand and, as the use of technology becomes a norm, insurance companies and medical providers will have to be ready with digital offerings, like telehealth services, to meet the demands of their members. 

The diversity of the countries in terms of language, currencies, cultures, and service expectation is also a challenge. We believe we have managed to address these aspects by making our plans as locally relevant as possible — the plans offer cover to local nationals, all documentation is available in the primary language of the country, we offer local invoicing and currency payment options, access to primary care on a direct billing basis, and local in-country representation. 

In 5 years’ time how will the international private medical insurance market look in Africa?

In recent years we have seen employers across Africa pivot from traditional offshore international medical insurance providers to local ones. However, few local providers have the capacity to offer international cover, which in Africa, where certain forms of treatment are not always available locally, is essential. Combining the expertise and capabilities of Aetna and Sanlam not only solves for such issues but offers access to a world-class comprehensive healthcare service. 

Furthermore, as a result of the global pandemic, we are seeing employers across the globe re-think their strategies when it comes to sending their staff on expat assignments, meaning that we expect a pivot towards more local hiring. Africa is no exception, particularly as the local workforce becomes more skilled and self-sufficient. What this means is potentially less demand for the traditional, high-cost fully international plans, which are the norm today, and an uptick in demand for plans that are more focused on regional cover, with comprehensive yet affordable benefits. This is exactly where we position Global Health; fit for today’s market and yet future-proofed for the changes ahead.

 

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UnitedHealthcare Global Launches Expatriate Insurance in the Netherlands

  • New BeHealthy proposition launch gives local businesses access to international healthcare plans;
  • Partnering with Dutch insurer ONVZ gives members local healthcare plans in the Netherlands alongside their international BeHealthy plans;
  • New market entry builds on UnitedHealthcare Global’s continued commitment to expand across Europe, following successful UK launch in 2018.

UnitedHealthcare Global is entering the Netherlands market by providing local businesses access to internationally recognised health, wellness, assistance and security programmes, through its global BeHealthy expatriate insurance plans. The launch follows the success of UnitedHealthcare Global’s entry into the European market in the United Kingdom in 2018.

To ensure that the offering is tailored to the specific needs of the local Dutch market, UnitedHealthcare Global has partnered with ONVZ, an independent Dutch insurer, to provide locally compliant plans as an integral part of its BeHealthy insurance package. UnitedHealthcare Global’s commitment to health and wellbeing aligns closely with that of ONVZ. A local team in the Netherlands and across Europe will be dedicated to providing a personalised service to ensure intermediaries, clients and members have access to the advice and local support they need.

BeHealthy, focuses on a whole-person approach to wellbeing, helping to identify health risks before they happen. The plans offer globally mobile employees a personalised digital experience that inspires and motivates healthier habits. This helps them better manage their international assignments by prioritising their mental, emotional and physical health.

UnitedHealthcare Global’s BeHealthy includes:

  • Access to UnitedHealthcare Global’s worldwide medical network of more than 1.4 million care providers
  • Comprehensive health and wellness benefits, including Employee Assistance Programme (EAP), Optum My Wellbeing app, a wellness coaching resource, Health Management Programme and preventive health screenings
  • In-house global assistance and security benefits embedded across all plan levels

“Our UnitedHealthcare Global proposition, coupled with our new local partnership of health plans through ONVZ, will provide organisations with a comprehensive offering for their expatriate populations in the Netherlands,” said Janette Hiscock, CEO of UnitedHealthcare Global Solutions, Europe. “We are delighted to be entering this key European market, following our successful launch in the UK, and I am particularly proud of our proactive wellbeing programmes embedded into all of our international healthcare plans.”

“We are very pleased with this collaboration and we are looking forward to partnering with UnitedHealthcare Global as it enters the Dutch market,” said Jean-Paul van Haarlem, Chairman of the Board at ONVZ. “UnitedHealthcare’s unparalleled global network makes this an exciting prospect for businesses and the Dutch international workforce. Our shared mission to promote health and wellbeing will be a significant benefit to both businesses and employees. Additionally, our combined expertise in national and international healthcare will be a significant advantage in helping to keep our customers healthy, particularly those placed overseas. We’re excited to be able to offer our customers the tools they need to work towards their organisation’s wellbeing goals, especially during a time when workforces are continuing to manage the challenges of the pandemic. Protecting and supporting workplace wellbeing has never been more critical, whether that’s whilst employees continue to work from home, transition back to the workplace or travel abroad.”

The Central Bank of Ireland authorised UnitedHealthcare Global a license to conduct business across the European Economic Area (EEA) countries on a freedom of services basis. The Netherlands was chosen as the next market for United Healthcare Global’s European expansion to support the high number of globally mobile families based in the Netherlands and will also give the large number of Dutch employees being sent on assignments abroad access to comprehensive health and wellbeing coverage.

 

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Care Plus Launches International Private Medical Insurance (IPMI) Plan In Brazil

Care Plus launches the first international private medical insurance (IPMI) product of its kind, offering global coverage.

  • Care Plus is the first healthcare company in Brazil to offer global IPMI (international private medical insurance) coverage;
  • In collaboration with two of the most highly respected names in global healthcare, the ‘Master International’ product will offer access to Blue Cross Blue Shield networks in the U.S. and Bupa’s networks outside of the U.S;
  • The unique-to-market ‘Master International’ product offers businesses a significant talent attraction and retention tool.

‘Master International’ is a unique product that will allow organisations to offer their employees healthcare around the world. Customers will now have the ability to access the right care, at the right time, across the largest networks of leading healthcare providers and facilities worldwide. This differentiated product is the result of the combined strength and expertise delivered through the strategic collaboration among CarePlus, Bupa Global and Blue Cross Blue Shield Global. ‘Master International’ enables employers to provide a unique employee benefit, a key tool for talent attraction and retention.

‘Master International’ will be available to Care Plus clients currently subscribing to the Master I plan, which provides premium and unparalleled healthcare coverage in Brazil. In addition, Care Plus will offer ‘Master International’ to new customers with compatible plans and an additional 2,000 new customers by 2018 year end.

"Our clients and brokers have stated the need for a product offering coverage to globally minded and globally mobile customers, said Roberto Laganá, CEO of Care Plus (Brazil). “We’ve listened to them and alongside Bupa Global and Blue Cross Blue Shield Global, our customers now have the security of having premium healthcare anytime, anywhere.”

“We are excited that Care Plus customers can now experience the benefits of accessing the largest network of health care providers worldwide, said Maureen Sullivan, senior vice president and chief strategy officer of BCBSA. “Our combined strength, scale and expertise means that customers can be confident in knowing that they have access to quality healthcare when and where they need it.”

“The launch of Master International is an exciting milestone in our relationship with Care Plus and further demonstrates our commitment to providing the very best level of healthcare whenever and wherever our customers need us, and helping our customers lead longer, healthier, happier lives,” said Moses Dodo, General Manager, Bupa Global Latin America.

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AXA Strengthens International Healthcare Proposition For Growing Businesses

AXA's global healthcare specialists have enhanced their core proposition for businesses covering 75-150 employees based overseas by introducing tailored international health plans and a profit share arrangement. The proposition complements the existing international offering for businesses, sitting in-between AXA's off-the-shelf provision, covering one or more employee, and the bespoke solution for those insuring more than 150 employees.

The new offering provides businesses sending 75-150 employees abroad enhanced flexibility, making it easier for firms to meet the needs of their increasingly global workforce.

Groups can tailor their scheme to suit specific employee needs, with the option of raising and lowering allowances on key benefits, the choice of mixing levels of cover and the opportunity to spread the employee population across two of AXA's most popular healthcare plans – the International Health Plan and the Islands Health Plan. Businesses will therefore have more flexibility in the level of cover they can choose for their employees.

Key features of the proposition include:

  • Transparency – an annual management information dashboard allows businesses to identify what employees are claiming for most and which benefits they are using, informing decision making in advance of renewal.
  • Protection – with specific stop loss cover, future premiums are guarded from the impact of high individual claims over £35,000/€44,500/$56,000.
  • Sustainability – through AXA's profit share arrangement, clients will receive money back upon renewal if their total claims are less than 65 per cent of their annual premium.
  • Flexibility of benefits – clients can tailor key benefits and allowances to suit their employees' needs, while controlling costs for the business.
  • Simplicity – easy online scheme management with AXA's Corporate Services Online tool.

Kevin Melton, Director of Sales and Marketing for AXA's global healthcare business, commented, "Providing growing businesses with flexibility and the opportunity to scale their cover up and down is key in providing a sustainable product that clients will reap value from. The changes we have made to this proposition will help provide those businesses covering 75-150 employees with more transparency, less risk and the opportunity to reclaim value from unused premiums. We also recognise that a few significant claims can make a big difference to renewal premiums and that's why we've implemented the stop loss cover for claims of over £35,000/€44,500/$56,000. All of these developments will support our customers in purchasing employee healthcare at a sustainable price."

The tailored proposition also offers businesses the chance to claim back a proportion of unused premiums. After the first two years, if claims are less than 65 per cent of the premium, AXA will pay back a credit of 50 per cent of the difference when the business renews. For businesses following their wellbeing strategy, this presents the opportunity to realise the dual benefits of employee health and wellbeing, coupled with reduced premiums.

Additional benefits also include access to a 24/7 customer service, an online member portal for claims and queries, a second medical opinion service, 24/7 medical telephone helpline and medical evacuation and repatriation as standard.

Melton concluded, "Today's increasingly global workforce needs flexible, comprehensive cover that can support them in the case of any eventuality. Our new tailored proposition provides this, for both the employees and their employer. Businesses can track usage, which in turn can help provide insight of what their employees require, and employees are able to benefit from comprehensive cover, which can support their health and wellbeing."

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