iPMI Magazine Is Proudly Sponsored By:
For a healthier journey.

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

iPMI Magazine Speaks with Gitte Bach, CEO and President, New Frontier Group

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

My name is Gitte Bach, and I am the President and CEO of New Frontier Group.

I started my career in 1990 with International Health Insurance, Denmark. I led the company’s entry into Latin America, helped introduce our new 24/7/365 Alarm Centre and was then asked to help build a new department with a cost containment focus to handle the company’s large medical insurance claims.

In 2002 I left Denmark and went to California, where I founded New Frontier Group. I wanted to create an innovative, solution-oriented company offering multiple, customizable services. We now work with some of the biggest names in the industry.

New Frontier Group provides award winning international medical cost containment. What does award winning cost containment look like?

We never, ever, just sit back and look at the business day to day, but we continuously think about ways we can improve. What is going to be next, how can we develop so that we are always evolving?

We have been doing that both from a technology and a product offering standpoint and we have also developed our employees to live up to that same philosophy in everything they do.

April 2020 and New Frontier Group launched an extremely valuable Telemedicine solution. Can you walk us through the new service and how you see it developing?

We launched NFGtelecare just as the pandemic hit and the world went into lockdown. It was a godsend for many of our clients when access to traditional healthcare was neither safe, nor in many cases, available at all.

Now however, telemedicine is truly established and here to stay. It enhances the service proposition, encourages traveler interaction and ultimately reduces costs.

As well as routine healthcare consultations, we can arrange appointments with a specialist to discuss existing conditions or to get a second medical opinion. We can prescribe and deliver medication via our in-house pharmacy program, Onyx™Rx and if the physician feels that the patient would benefit from further tests or treatment, we can help direct them to a suitable facility nearby.

We need to realize that in this industry telecare is here to stay. Access to healthcare will never revert to how it was before. Telemedicine is now accepted by all our clients.

November 2020, and New Frontier Group wins Industry Supplier of the year at the ITIC Awards. Why did you win this coveted industry award?

Whilst somewhat overshadowed by the current pandemic, we were still extremely proud to have been recognized again at the International Travel Insurance Journal Awards – this time in the new, expanded category of Industry Supplier of the Year.

The award is testament to the continued efforts of our teams in California, South Florida and the UK, in always putting our patients, clients and partners first. From a service perspective, we think that the innovation that most likely impressed the judges was our integrated medical triage, telemedicine and pharmacy concierge service that sits ‘in front’ of our array of cost containment and network solutions. This combination of immediate and low cost access to medical advice and prescription medication, backed up by market leading cost control, is both extremely current and as far as we know, unique in the market.

For international medical payors managing the risks and healthcare of expatriates and people living overseas, what can New Frontier Group provide?

We offer our clients real time, ‘on-the-ground’ expertise and are involved on a daily basis in providing assistance with access to healthcare for expats, students and international travelers. We ensure that the services are appropriate, convenient and of course, part of our extensive network to ensure favourable rates for the payor. This is all part of our service offering and we are also available 24/7 to answer questions or address urgent issues as they arise, irrespective of what time zone our client may be in.

COVID-19 has crashed the travel market as we know it. Travel insurers are washing their hands of COVID-19 risks. Airlines are asking for bail outs. IATA say 25 million jobs are at risk in the airlines and aviation sector. What does the future hold for the travel market?

It has been devastating, both for the travel industry and associated sectors such as travel insurance and assistance. Everyone has had to dig deep and try to ride it out somehow – and we will!

People love to travel and businesses need to travel. There are already some encouraging signs and if these vaccines are rolled out quickly and prove successful, then I think we’ll see a surge from huge, pent-up demand for flights and holidays, with the positive knock-on impact to our industries. Roll-on 2021 is what I say!

Last, but not least, if you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?

I have been extremely fortunate to live in many different countries and have visited even more! I find every single one unique and I don’t have a particular favourite although I do love the Spanish/Latin American language and culture so that would probably have a strong bearing!

I do know one thing for certain, no matter where I am, I have always made it my clear mission to live every single day and get the best out of it, no matter where you are in the world!





UAE Embraces Telehealth In COVID-19 Battle

Stay-at-home restrictions, social distancing and the closure of healthcare facilities, have led to more UAE residents using telehealth services than ever before.

Recent data from vHealth one of the UAE’s leading telehealth providers shows a 500% increase in utilisation between March and September 2020, compared to the same period last year. 

Take-up of telehealth soars

As well as obvious concerns around the virus itself, Dr. Nairah Rasul-Syed, Medical Director at vHealth confirms that the knock-on effect of COVID-19 has had a substantial impact on the physical and mental wellbeing of UAE residents, “Whether it’s a lack of activity or the fear of losing a job, we have seen a significant increase in cases of weight-gain, hypertension and vitamin D deficiency over the last few months, as well as stress, anxiety and other mental-health concerns”, she explains. “Services like vHealth provided a much-needed lifeline to those who were confined to their homes but wanted to address their health conditions.”

As a case in point, the number of UAE residents using telehealth services for mental health support peaked during key waves of the pandemic. With stress and anxiety on the increase, 60% of vHealth consultations relating to mental health occurred between March and May with a further 23% in August.

The new normal in UAE healthcare

What’s interesting is that although the pandemic kick-started the increased use of telehealth services, customers throughout the UAE have adapted quickly. vHealth data shows that 25% have already used the service more than once and seem happy to stick with the new system. Appointments now cover a full spectrum of health concerns and 90% of patients avoid the need for further care.

In reality, it’s no longer just about COVID-19. As customers get more accustomed to telehealth, they’re starting to see the true value of the service. People are clearly more reluctant to sit in hospital waiting rooms and pharmacies, but they also appreciate the many benefits of being able to resolve their health care needs in the comfort of their own home.

UAE quicker than most to embrace technology

In a country where people prioritise convenience, experience and technology, it’s no surprise that the UAE has embraced telehealth quicker than most. Recent Aetna International research found that 54% of UAE expats are highly likely to use virtual healthcare services to access primary care, 14% higher than the global average.

To those who are close to telehealth, widespread take-up of the service was only a matter of time. Joe Hawayek, senior director & head of vHealth MEA explains, “There’s no doubt that COVID-19 has helped to accelerate adoption, but confidence in services like vHealth were already growing before the pandemic. Customers trust the service and see it as a marked improvement on face-to-face consultations. You only have to look at our customer satisfaction scores to realise that those who have tried it are going to use it more and more in the future.” 

With growing pressure on employers to provide health benefits to their employees, telehealth is high on the agenda for corporate organisations. Data shows that vHealth consultations save employees around 3 hours away from work, which is one of many reasons why the service is so popular. 

“Telehealth is becoming a fundamental feature of every corporate health plan in the UAE”, adds Joe. “Employers are increasingly aware of its potential to drive down costs and improve productivity. Plus, it’s a benefit that they know their employees will use and appreciate.”


Online GPs Could Save Employers £1.5 Billion In Lost Working Time

From banking and shopping to business and healthcare, our daily experiences are increasingly digital - and this has been accelerated all the more by the coronavirus pandemic. 

Digital health: the changing landscape of how we access GP services explores the scope for GPs to further embrace digitally delivered care. Whilst the pandemic has highlighted the commitment of those working in the healthcare sector, it also enables us to look at how innovation can better support patient demand. 

This AXA PPP healthcare report combines their own research with findings from the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR), to look at how offering online consultations not only benefits the healthcare sector, but also businesses and patients.

The findings show that UK businesses could have saved up to £1.5 billion annually in lost working time, had employees seen a GP via video or phone, rather than face-to-face in 2019. What’s more, patients could have seen a positive impact on their own wellbeing: 38% said they’d feel much better mentally as a result of the speed and ease of access of speaking to an online GP1.

Tracy Garrad, CEO at AXA PPP Healthcare commented on LinkedIn, "The coronavirus pandemic has shone a whole new light on how we access the products, services and support that help keep our every-day lives on an even keel.

It’s brought into sharp focus the dedication of those who work in health and care.

And, it has also highlighted the pressure faced by frontline workers, raising questions around how we meet this challenge – both now and in the future.

This is a complex issue, there’s no hiding from that. But there’s the real prospect that digital technologies could play a significant role in helping to ease this pressure, particularly in the world of general practice. 

The ability to do virtual GP consultations by phone or video isn’t a new concept by any means. Indeed, the COVID-19 pandemic has seen a greater use of digital health services. However, outside of this current surge, the potential for online GP services to play a greater role in meeting people’s healthcare needs has been vastly unrealised.

Offering remote consultations as a first point of call in general practice, for example, could help increase practise capacity by reserving face-to-face consultations for those identified as needing them.

Here at AXA PPP healthcare we’ve just published a new report – Digital health: the changing landscape of how we access GP services – which explores the benefits to the healthcare sector and business of remote GP consultations.

Working with economic forecasting analyst, the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR), we’ve found that, if remote appointments had been offered as the first point of contact across all public GP practices in 2019, face-to-face consultations could have been reduced by 50 million. 

There are also clear benefits to businesses too. Remote GP appointments reduce the amount of time employees need to be out of the office to attend their GP’s practice, minimising journey and waiting times. Our findings reveal that UK businesses could have avoided £1.5 billion in lost working time in 2019 if, instead of attending face-to-face GP appointments, workers who needed to see a GP had used a remote (online or telephone) service.

Digital technology already touches so many areas of our lives, giving us speed of access and greater convenience that supports how we live our lives today. It’s now time to expand the digital horizon and realise the benefits this can bring to health and care – both for patients and business."

You can download the report here.

1. AXA PPP healthcare conducted omnibus research through 3Gem research between 13-17 February 2020, polling 2,000 UK adults (aged 18+), weighted to be nationally representative.

Subscribe to this RSS feed