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

AXA – Global Healthcare Appoints Gordon Delaney As Regional Head Of Europe

AXA – Global Healthcare, has announced the appointment of Gordon Delaney as Regional Head of Europe, effective immediately.

With 15 years’ experience in the financial services market, Delaney will oversee AXA – Global Healthcare’s newest distribution hub, based in Dublin. He will be responsible for driving distribution throughout Europe, retaining and growing business in the region, as well as continuing to develop relationships with key partners.

Having spent a large part of his career with Allianz Care, most recently as Head of Sales and Distribution for Northern, Central and Eastern Europe, Delaney brings excellent knowledge and vast experience of working in international insurance markets to the role.

Commenting on his new role, Delaney said: “I joined AXA – Global Healthcare because of its unique position in what’s an increasingly complex market. With the weight of the AXA brand and the businesses’ global capabilities I feel the potential to collaborate and grow the business is massive. To do this it’s vital we put our customers first and the new European hub allows us to do so while providing a fantastic platform to develop the business further.”

The dedicated European hub, which opened in March 2019, is already supporting AXA’s customers and new business opportunities in the region. Despite changing regulations and uncertainty around the UK’s position in the EU, by working with AXA Insurance dac, another insurer from within the AXA Group, it means AXA – Global Healthcare is well prepared to take advantage of whatever the future holds. Delaney has extensive experience of the local regulatory market as well as other markets across the region in which AXA operates.

Kevin Melton, Global Head Sales and Marketing AXA – Global Healthcare, commented: “Considering his extensive experience we’re looking forward to realising the value that Gordon will bring to our global team. Together with our distribution hubs in the UK and Hong Kong, and AXA’s capabilities in the Middle East, our new European hub demonstrates our continued commitment to the global healthcare market and our ability to meet the regional needs of clients, on a global scale.”

Read more...

International Medical Group Unifies Family Of Companies Under 1 Brand

International Medical Group® (IMG®) has announced that their global family of brands, including ALC Health, iTravelInsured, AkesoCare, and Global Response, will all be unified under the IMG brand.

“Integrating all of our travel and medical insurance business lines with all of our assistance business lines means IMG is uniquely positioned to deliver quality and simplicity to members, clients, and producers around the world,” said Steve Paraboschi, Executive Vice President.

This move allows IMG to leverage its global platforms, simplify processes, and scale systems into a singular, member-focused experience. Working with IMG and accessing its complete set of products and services will now be easier than ever for customers and partners.

"Selling insurance and services under one brand more precisely represents the mission and capabilities of IMG,” said Paraboschi. “As a singular cross-border resource, unifying our brand makes it easier for us to provide members and clients with the products and services they need.”

The IMG brand strategy, which will be implemented throughout 2019 and 2020, will see the iTravelInsured and ALC Health product sets rolled into IMG branded product lines. IMG insurance products will now include a full suite of international private medical insurance, travel medical insurance, and travel insurance plans to protect members across borders.

The strategy will also include unifying Global Response and AkesoCare under the IMG brand. IMG has long offered a variety of travel assistance services including 24/7 emergency medical assistance, claims management, medical management, and clinical services, and this consolidation further elevates IMG’s service offerings in the marketplace.

"Ultimately,” Paraboschi said, “this decision represents the culmination of many years of strategic integration and growth of both our insurance products and assistance services, and we’re very excited for the future as one company, and one brand.”

Read more...

Sedgwick Appoints Wayne Cheng Chief Operations Officer For Asia

Sedgwick has named Wayne Cheng its chief operations officer for Asia. In his new role, Cheng will be responsible for executing the company's business and growth strategy and driving operational efficiency as Sedgwick scales its business across the region.

Having worked in the insurance industry for more than 20 years, Cheng has built up a wealth of experience in this sector. His specialties include data analysis, insurance claims, finance marketing, operations, project management, reinsurance and talent management. He joined Sedgwick in 2014 as general manager of Sedgwick's Asia operations. He previously held a variety of senior roles, including vice president, chief claims officer and global claims finance analyst of a leading insurance company. Cheng is also a Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter (CPCU) and Associate in Claims (AIC).

"Wayne has a deep and thorough understanding of our industry, and his experience across general insurance and the Asia markets will continue to be a great asset to Sedgwick," said James Ong, Sedgwick CEO for Asia. "Wayne's main objectives as COO are to position Sedgwick for continued growth in Asia and enable our company to operate at its full capacity and capabilities. This is an exciting time for our team as Sedgwick in Asia grows from strength to strength. In this new leadership role, Wayne will help us ensure that Sedgwick remains at the forefront of the industry across the region and around the world."

As Sedgwick looks to the next phase of its business development in Asia, the company's focus on capabilities, clients and solutions will be supported by market-leading, cutting-edge technology, expertise and exceptional service.

"Sedgwick is not only the world's largest claims and risk solutions provider, but also a company that values innovation, quality and best-in-class service," Cheng said. "I'm looking forward to assisting James and working with the rest of the team in growing our business in Asia—not only in terms of products, but also in breadth of solutions and capabilities."

Sedgwick is a leading global provider of technology-enabled risk, benefits and integrated business solutions. We provide a broad range of resources tailored to our clients' specific needs in casualty, property, marine, benefits and other lines. At Sedgwick, caring counts®; through the dedication and expertise of more than 21,000 colleagues across 65 countries, the company takes care of people and organisations by mitigating and reducing risks and losses, promoting health and productivity, protecting brand reputations, and containing costs that can impact the bottom line. Sedgwick's majority shareholder is The Carlyle Group; Stone Point Capital LLC, La Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ) and other management investors are minority shareholders. For more, see www.sedgwick.com.

 

Read more...

AIA Agrees Exclusive Asia-Pacific Regional Partnership With Medix

Breakthrough regional partnership between AIA and Medix, a company specialising in quality global medical management, to provide improved healthcare and clinical outcomes for AIA customers.

AIA Group Limited (“AIA” or the “Company”: stock code: 1299) has announced that its customers across the Asia-Pacific region are set to benefit from a landmark partnership agreement with global health management company Medix. AIA and Medix are partnering to deliver a differentiated proposition that optimises care and improves medical outcomes for AIA customers across the region. Under the expanded regional partnership, building on already successful collaborations between AIA and Medix in Hong Kong and Singapore, AIA and Medix will work together to launch in more markets in 2019, including Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Australia. Additional markets are planned for launch in 2020 and beyond.

Under the exclusive partnership with Medix, selected AIA customers will have access to “Personal Medical Case Management Services” during some of the most challenging times of their lives. When diagnosed with a serious or complex condition AIA customers will be supported by a dedicated case team throughout their medical journey, from diagnosis through treatment until full recovery. They will gain access to a holistic medical assessment, re-evaluation of their condition, referral for additional diagnostic testing – where needed, ongoing multi-disciplinary consultations, full care coordination, on-going guidance and emotional support provided by Medix’ team of renowned medical experts from around the globe.

Eligible AIA customers will have their medical case reviewed by Medix’ expert team of 300 in-house physicians and a global quality accredited network of over 3,000 world-leading and independent medical specialists, ensuring they have the tools to make educated, quality driven decisions and receive the best possible care throughout their medical journey, anywhere in the world.

Ng Keng Hooi, AIA’s Group Chief Executive and President, said the announcement underscores AIA’s commitment to meet the growing and changing needs of customers and to help people live Healthier, Longer, Better Lives.

“With the advances in medical treatments and technologies, the expectations of Asian consumers have changed significantly, with personalised, quality medical care at the top of their list. This strategic partnership with Medix exemplifies our leadership role in driving economic and social development across the region. It demonstrates our pledge to go beyond the traditional, passive insurance business model by becoming an integral part of our customers’ life journey” he said.

Mark Saunders, AIA’s Group Chief Strategy and Corporate Development Officer with responsibility for healthcare underlined AIA’s strategy and deliberate investment in helping improve the health and well-being of its customers, saying “AIA’s expanded partnership with Medix represents a significant step forward in delivering our long-term strategic vision in the health and well-being space, where we’ve invested significantly and consistently over the past several years. It builds on a highly successful partnership in Hong Kong and Singapore, where we’ve been able to provide Medix’ unparalleled medical case management services to our customers.

“To successfully deliver on our vision to help people be healthier for longer we are building an eco-system of services and partners to help people on all steps of the health journey through predict, prevent, diagnose, treat and recover stages, improving their overall wellbeing. Our exclusive partnership with Medix across our markets enhances AIA’s distinctive and differentiated proposition in health and well-being. By providing our policyholders with Personal Medical Case Management AIA helps overcome local healthcare disparities and makes international expertise, locally available through a mutually beneficial collaborative process” Saunders said.

Sigal Atzmon, CEO of Medix commended AIA’s visionary and innovative approach to driving meaningful improvements in people’s lives across the region.

“This is a partnership that will make a genuine difference; it represents a shared vision and a commitment to reduce unwarranted healthcare variations across the region, improve the medical accessibility, medical outcomes and most importantly, improve the overall care experience” Ms Atzmon said.

“Through this partnership, we provide personalised medical care, empower patients with the knowledge and tools they deserve to make educated decisions and offer active coverage in the daily lives of each policyholder. As such, we are enabling an unprecedented democratisation of the entire healthcare landscape.

“AIA, as one of the world’s largest and leading insurers should be applauded for the courageous, pioneering spirit they have shown over the last 100 years. Their vision and commitment to improving the lives of their customers/people across the region is unwavering and we are honoured to be a part of their next chapter,” Ms Atzmon concluded.

About AIA

AIA Group Limited and its subsidiaries (collectively “AIA” or the “Group”) comprise the largest independent publicly listed pan-Asian life insurance group. It has a presence in 18 markets in Asia-Pacific – wholly-owned branches and subsidiaries in Hong Kong, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, China, Korea, the Philippines, Australia, Indonesia, Taiwan, Vietnam, New Zealand, Macau, Brunei, Cambodia, a 97 per cent subsidiary in Sri Lanka, a 49 per cent joint venture in India and a representative office in Myanmar.

The business that is now AIA was first established in Shanghai a century ago in 1919. It is a market leader in the Asia-Pacific region (ex-Japan) based on life insurance premiums and holds leading positions across the majority of its markets. It had total assets of US$230 billion as of 31 December 2018.

AIA meets the long-term savings and protection needs of individuals by offering a range of products and services including life insurance, accident and health insurance and savings plans. The Group also provides employee benefits, credit life and pension services to corporate clients. Through an extensive network of agents, partners and employees across Asia-Pacific, AIA serves the holders of more than 33 million individual policies and over 16 million participating members of group insurance schemes.

AIA Group Limited is listed on the Main Board of The Stock Exchange of Hong Kong Limited under the stock code “1299” with American Depositary Receipts (Level 1) traded on the over-the-counter market (ticker symbol: “AAGIY”).

About Medix Medical Services 

Established in 2006, the Medix Group is a global, leading provider of innovative, high quality health management solutions. With offices in London, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Singapore, Tel Aviv, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok and Melbourne and a client base exceeding 3 million members in over 90 countries, Medix offers its clients -- primarily global health & life insurers, financial groups, large corporates and government institutions -- significant value-added services in the world of healthcare. Medix’ medical team is comprised of 300 in-house doctors alongside nurses, research experts, medical administration teams and a quality accredited global network of over 3,000 specialists and 1,500 leading hospitals.

Through its various services, Medix offers its customers fast-track solutions to proven better medical outcomes. Medix provides Global Personal Case Management Services, Disease Prevention Management Services, Digital Health Solutions, Home Care Services, Health Strategy and Medical Governance Services to insurers, large corporates and government institutions.

Medix is a Shared Value company that strives to enable people around the world to have access to the best medical care possible while eliminating unwarranted healthcare variations and helping to control medical cost inflation. Believing that the accessibility, quality and sustainability of medical care are one of the most important components of social rights, Medix is very passionate about these issues and is globally fully dedicated to these activities.

 

Read more...

Broadstone Group Enters IPMI Market With Acquisition Of Specialist IPMI and Employee Benefits Firm

Broadstone has announced the acquisition of 3HR Benefits Consultancy. This move represents Broadstone’s third acquisition in as many months following the recently announced purchases of Liverpool-based CS Financial Solutions and Thomson Dickson Consulting located in Glasgow.

Founded in 2008, London-based 3HR Benefits Consultancy is a subsidiary of 3HR plc and provides specialist employee benefits and international private medical insurance (IPMI) support and services to more than 200 Japanese, Korean and Chinese blue chip companies in respect of their UK and European expatriate employees. The company is the leading UK benefits consulting firm specialising in the Far Eastern market and dominates the sector with a number of Fortune 500 clients
  
Commenting on this latest acquisition, Broadstone Group CEO, Grant Stobart, said, “As part of our strategy to grow all areas of our business we must identify and then capitalise on emerging trends and opportunities. This is another outstanding acquisition for Broadstone and adds further scale in a buoyant   sector. 3HR Benefits Consultancy is one of the UK’s leading providers of specialist IPMI and employee benefits services to Far Eastern groups operating in the UK and Europe and the respect and authority they have built up in this sector is very impressive. Acquiring this niche business with its quality client base and experienced staff will provide clients with access to Broadstone’s wider service offering.
“2019 continues to be a year of targeted but vigorous expansion for Broadstone,” concluded Stobart.

Terence Bennett, CEO at 3HR plc, said, “Over the past few months we have been actively seeking ways of further developing our benefits consultancy and expatriate medical insurance business and have now found the ideal partner in Broadstone. This deal is an important step in the evolution of our business and will ensure that we can continue to further strengthen the service we offer our clients and the personal and professional development of all of our staff.”

Xavier Woodward, from Broadstone’s private equity parent, Livingbridge, commented, “This acquisition further strengthens Broadstone’s offering and provides access to a new client base. We are delighted to welcome 3HR Benefits Consulting on board as we continue to execute on a strong M&A pipeline.”

Read more...

Healix International Identifies The Big Health Risks For Workers Travelling Across The Globe In 2019

Healix International, the global travel risk management and international medical and security assistance provider, has set out the big health challenges the company believes businesses sending employees abroad may face in 2019.

"Diseases that tend to be more associated with far-off regions remain top of the list of concerns – including Ebola, the Zika virus and Malaria. But employers also need to be mindful of the risks of some diseases that are just as common at home. For example, measles and mumps can present serious risks and both remain prevalent thanks to the fact that many parents shun the MMR vaccine. Employers therefore need to ensure that they're monitoring all health risks when posting staff abroad."

Ebola continues to be a high risk in Democratic Republic of Congo

As the number of cases of Ebola in the Democratic Republic of Congo approaches 800, and fatalities almost 400, it is clear that this outbreak is far from over.

Now established as the second largest Ebola epidemic in history, further infections are to be expected far into 2019. A particular challenge in trying to bring these outbreaks under control is the resistance of local communities to accept the guidance of healthcare professionals.  The on-going militia activity in the region is also a major factor, halting vaccination and quarantine efforts, as well as causing the withdrawal of some healthcare experts many hundreds of miles away from Ebola-affected cities. If other epicentres of disease are established in neighbouring countries to DRC, as is feared, control of the epidemic will take much longer to establish.

Zika predictions for India and the Americas

Zika is likely to be widely reported in 2019, if not for new epidemics, then for the delayed consequences of past infection - only now receiving attention. Around 6% of babies infected in the womb will have profound neurological deformities resulting in microcephaly, the abnormally small head seen in many images of babies from Brazil during the 2016 epidemic. But what has only recently come to light, is that of those born with a normal appearance, a further 8% of babies can have developmental delay, movement problems, or even seizures.

It has also been predicted that in 2019 it is likely that further outbreaks will continue in India and its population of 1.3 billion.

Poorer tropical countries face potential increases in malaria cases

Although malaria cases are still counted in the hundreds of millions each year, deaths from this mosquito-borne disease have decreased by around 30% over the last decade. However, over the past year, epidemics of malaria have occurred in countries facing particular economic hardships including Venezuela and Angola. A reduction in mosquito prevention programmes, or simply a failure in basic hygienic measures such as refuse collection both lead to increase the environments permissive for mosquito propagation.

Middle East Respiratory Syndrome a threat for workers

The Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), is the severe respiratory infection that first produced a handful of cases in 2012. Since then over 2,000 individuals have been infected, mostly in Saudi Arabia and often caught directly from its animal host, the camel, after which the disease is particularly severe.

There is, however, also a risk to acquire the illness from MERS-infected patients, albeit the symptoms are generally milder - but this is not true for those who also have a chronic medical condition.  Understanding employees' health before they are posted to this region is therefore important, particularly as a low level of new MERS infections persists in the Middle East, and will continue to do so into 2019.

Predictions for cholera in Africa

2018 saw many outbreaks of cholera. From Zimbabwe, Mozambique, and Niger, to Cameroon, Somalia, and the much-beset DRC, thousands of cases occurred, particularly in countries that have a compromised sanitation infrastructure.  In 2019, further epidemics of cholera are sadly inevitable as countries continue to have unsafe water provision, compounded by times of particular hardship.

Poor take-up of MMR vaccine perpetuates measles and mumps

Both measles and mumps saw outbreaks in 2018 and this is very likely to continue in 2019. The uptake of the MMR vaccine is still poor in many regions, not least Europe which still suffers from misconceptions concerning vaccines. Despite the MMR vaccine being shown to be safe, over 14,000 cases of measles alone were confirmed in 2018. Employers should therefore monitor reports of outbreaks – particularly where pregnant employees are travelling abroad.

Pandemic planning essential for 2019

The possibility of a bird flu capable of infecting humans continues to concern health experts. In recent years the bird flu, H7N9, has produced a modest number of infections in China; most associated with bird farmers or those who have had direct contact with poultry. Transmissibility between humans is poor with H7N9, however, meaning that an epidemic (or its big brother, the pandemic - during which transmission to several countries occurs) is very unlikely to occur.

However, as over the last century pandemics of other viruses have regularly resulted, many think that a novel bird flu might be a candidate for the next large pandemic. Whether this will occur in 2019, or in a later year, the important issue is to ensure that an organisation has adequate pandemic planning – knowing what to do when an outbreak occurs, reducing the risk for businesses and their employees.

Read more Healix International news on their iPMI Magazine micro news web site, click here.

 

Read more...

William Russell Ltd Appoints Over Twenty Years’ Of IPMI Experience

William Russell has appointed Michael Lewars as Head of International Business Development of our UK & International Sales division.

Over twenty years’ IPMI experience

With over twenty years’ experience in the international healthcare space, Lewars is passionate about delivering tailored, impacting solutions to clients and intermediaries, most recently as BUPA’s Head of Intermediary Sales.

Responsible for the strategic leadership of our UK and international sales departments Lewars will contribute to the overall growth strategy; helping William Russell expand on the success of the past quarter century, as a leading independent international insurer.

Striving for excellence

Lewars follows the Kaizen principle of continuous learning; that excellence is never truly achieved but that we should always be in pursuit of it.

He recognises that the international healthcare space is not fully optimised and will lead our sales team with a strategy that places excellence and innovation at the forefront of everything we do; this is symbiotic with our company mission statement to always be forward-thinking.

With a wealth of experience in both the domestic and international markets, Lewars will mentor and develop our teams across the globe to ensure our brokers and customers continue to enjoy demonstrable value for money with our products, and that we deliver innovative international health insurance solutions that are unique in the market.

Read more...

iPMI Magazine International Private Medical Insurance Provider Network Directory April 2018

Featuring leading IPMI players Aetna International, Bellwood Prestbury, Cigna Global IPMI, DavidShield, Generali Global Health, GeoBlue, Globality Health, Integra Global, Pacific Cross International and Wellaway. Plus check out the back of the publication for the broker directory. Did you claim your free line entry? Get listed, click here and fill in the quick form

“If you want to succeed in the Global IPMI business, I highly recommend that you get to know Christopher Knight.”

Michael Nole Head of Business Development Global IPMI at Cigna.

Choosing the right international private medical insurance (IPMI) and health insurance coverage plan is critical for expatriates, offshore workers, tourists and business travellers. If you live, travel or work abroad then you will need the best access to private medical facilities and international medical insurance all year around. iPMI Magazine represents an eclectic mix and has a choice of specialist international private medical, health, expatriate and travel insurance companies allowing you to compare overseas international private medical insurance coverage and plans that may suit you and your family. 

The iPMI Magazine Provider Network Directory covers the following sectors of insurance cover:

INTERNATIONAL MEDICAL INSURANCE
INTERNATIONAL HEALTHCARE INSURANCE
INTERNATIONAL EXPATRIATE INSURANCE
INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL INSURANCE

Get listed, click here and fill in the quick form.

 

Read more...

International Private Medical Insurance Provider Network Directory March 2018

Featuring leading IPMI players Aetna International, Bellwood Prestbury, Cigna Global IPMI, DavidShield, Generali Global Health, GeoBlue, Globality Health, Integra Global, Pacific Cross International and Wellaway. Plus check out the back of the publication for the broker directory. Did you claim your free line entry? Get listed, click here and fill in the quick form

“If you want to succeed in the Global IPMI business, I highly recommend that you get to know Christopher Knight.”

Michael Nole Head of Business Development Global IPMI at Cigna.

Choosing the right international private medical insurance (IPMI) and health insurance coverage plan is critical for expatriates, offshore workers, tourists and business travellers. If you live, travel or work abroad then you will need the best access to private medical facilities and international medical insurance all year around. iPMI Magazine represents an eclectic mix and has a choice of specialist international private medical, health, expatriate and travel insurance companies allowing you to compare overseas international private medical insurance coverage and plans that may suit you and your family. 

The iPMI Magazine Provider Network Directory covers the following sectors of insurance cover:

INTERNATIONAL MEDICAL INSURANCE
INTERNATIONAL HEALTHCARE INSURANCE
INTERNATIONAL EXPATRIATE INSURANCE
INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL INSURANCE

Get listed, click here and fill in the quick form.

 

Read more...

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.

 

Read more...
Subscribe to this RSS feed

Medical, Travel And Technical Assistance

 

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

  •