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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

New Frontier Group Celebrates 20th Anniversary

New Frontier Group (NFG), a leading cost management organization focused on enhancing global healthcare, is celebrating its 20th anniversary. 

April 2022 reflects New Frontier Group's long-standing commitment to the transformation of global cost management.

"We are excited to mark our 20th anniversary and celebrate progress alongside our clients," stated Gitte Bach, CEO. "Throughout our 20 years, we have focused on rapidly changing technology and partnerships that lowered healthcare costs for clients. The past 2 years were unpredictable, but we stayed committed to being an anchor in our industry by setting the bar high with our solutions."

New Frontier Group has built expansive global pricing databases for optimal outcomes, pricing consistency, and transparency during its tenure as an organization. The pandemic brought decreased international travel, but an increased need for innovation in cost management. The most recent product launched by NFG during the pandemic, NFG Telecare,addressed a much-needed gap in the global market.

Randall Condie COO, stated "Within our 20-year history, urgent care was seen as cost containment, but we saw an opportunity to offer global telecare to further reduce costs.  We are already starting to see most non-life-threatening visits done in a digital setting. We realize that telecare is not just a trend, but a healthcare option that is expanding and will continue to do so for many years to come."

Jules Christian, Strategic Project Lead, added, "Looking to the future, we remain committed to consistently reviewing, innovating, and launching digital solutions that fit the needs of our global clients."

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International Health Insurance Premiums Are on the Rise in 97 Countries

A global study of 100 countries conducted by insurance brokerage Pacific Prime found that 97 countries witnessed increases in average international health insurance premiums for both individuals and families.

Of the 100 countries, the average international health insurance premiums for individuals ranged from USD $8,887 in the US to USD $2,728 in Thailand. Meanwhile, the average international health insurance premiums for families ranged from USD $26,883 in the US to USD $10,842 in Thailand.

The following are the key findings of Pacific Prime’s Cost of International Health Insurance For Individuals and Families - 2019 report:

Top of the list: The US remains the country with the most expensive health insurance premiums. This is largely a result of the country’s notoriously high cost of healthcare.

Region with the most expensive premiums: The Americas remain the most dominant region in the top 20 most expensive countries list. The region was able to pack up to 15 countries into the list, which includes 29 countries due to many having the same average premium.

Region with the highest premium inflation rate: African countries saw some of the highest inflation rates in the world. As many as 21 countries in Africa witnessed inflation rates that are 15% or higher, resulting from various macro trends such as the rise of the middle-class and technological advancements.

China’s overall premiums are getting cheaper: China’s premiums are going through a correction phase after years of increase. In 2019, a number of prominent insurers in China did not increase their premiums, with some even lowering them, making it one of the few countries experiencing a year-on-year decrease in average health insurance premiums.

Big jumps in premium rankings: Canada saw average health insurance premiums inflate by 7% for individuals and 5% for families, surpassing Hong Kong as the country with the second most costly country for international health plans. Singapore has also jumped from 9th to 4th position with an inflation rate of 9% for both individuals and families.

Download a complimentary copy of Pacific Prime’s Cost of International Health Insurance for Individuals and Families - 2019 for further details of the survey findings, as well as in-depth regional premium analyses: https://www.pacificprime.com/cost-of-health-insurance-2019

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Increase In Cost Of Private Healthcare Stabilises But Remains Above Country Inflation Rates

The cost for companies to provide medical and healthcare plans to staff continues to outpace inflation in most major economies but has stabilized to an increase of around 10% per annum, according to new research by Mercer Marsh Benefits, a partnership between global professional services firms, Mercer and Marsh.

Globally, medical inflation for 2017 (9.7%) is down from 9.9% in 2016 but is still forecast to be nearly three times the forecast 2017 inflation rate (3.7%). The picture varies by geography (Table 1). In the UK, for example, medical costs are set to increase 6.1% against a country inflation rate of 0.8%. The data also showed that globally the highest level of spend on medical costs was related to cancer, heart disease and respiratory diseases (Table 2); however the incidence of reported claims was more diverse and varied by region.

Mercer Marsh Benefits’ 2017 research Medical Trends Around the World, is based on a survey of 220 insurers across 63 countries (outside of the United States).  

According to John Deegan, leader of Mercer Marsh Benefits, “The picture varies by geography but the most prevalent causes for increased medical spend was attributed to higher costs for medicines and technologies. Their introduction can offer new hope for better treatments but adoption introduces challenges - such as increased costs - for employers, payers, policy makers and regulators.  What is clear though is that ageing workforces in many markets means that employers will continue to face cost increases.  This can be overcome if companies analyse their workforce populations and provide targeted healthcare provision based on the workforce health profile.”

Graham Pearce, Mercer’s Global Consulting Group Leader, added, “With medical inflation again outpacing price inflation by a factor of nearly three, companies need to redouble their efforts to manage their spiralling healthcare plan costs.  The quality of the claims reporting and loss prevention measures available varies significantly between the global insurance networks – both these factors are becoming key drivers in the choice of insurance providers at the local and global level.”

Mercer’s report also challenges employers to consider the following opportunities:

  • Question the ‘status quo’ of healthcare consumer choice options so that higher costs are also delivering better health outcomes
  • Drive better value by ensuring health benefits plan design addresses the precursors to top claims, with an aim to mitigate high-cost care that drives inflationary trends
  • Create incentives for health maintenance and prevention scenarios to positively impact the health of the workforce
  • Improve overall employee engagement with health benefits using modern, digital communication platforms and tools*

*an example of this would be Darwin, the industry-leading global benefits platform offered by Mercer’s Thomsons Online Benefits.

 

The report asked insurers for information on the rising cost of medical care compared to inflation in each market as well as the types, costs and frequency of medical conditions that were claimed for by company employees in 2016. As Mercer’s research parameters for the two reports are different, US data has been excluded from this release; however according to the 2016 Mercer National Survey of Employer-Sponsored Health Plans, US employers experienced 2.6% increase in the cost of running company healthcare plans.   

 

Table 1:  Rates of Medical Inflation around the World: 2017 Survey Results

 

2016 Medical Trend Rate Experienced 1

2016 estimated inflation rate †

2017 Projected Medical Trend Rate 1

2017 forecast inflation rate †

 

Global (average)‡

9.9%

3.1

9.7%

3.6

 

Canada (average)

6.0%

1.4%

11.0%

2.0%

 

Canada

6.0%

1.4%

11.0%

2.0%

 

Asia (average)

10.7%

2.0%

10.2%

2.8%

 

China

10.0%

2.0%

11.0%

2.4%

 

Hong Kong

8.4%

2.6%

8.3%

2.6%

 

India

15.3%

4.9%

14.0%

4.8%

 

Indonesia

13.1%

3.5%

13.1%

4.5%

 

Malaysia

11.5%

2.1%

12.7%

2.7%

 

Philippines

11.8%

1.8%

11.1%

3.6%

 

Singapore

10.0%

-0.5%

9.4%

1.1%

 

South Korea

7.6%

1.0%

6.0%

1.8%

 

Taiwan

7.7%

1.4%

9.2%

1.4%

 

Thailand

9.4%

0.2%

9.5%

1.4%

 

Vietnam

12.5%

2.7%

7.9%

4.9%

 

Pacific (average)

6.4%

1.3%

6.8%

2.0%

 

Australia

6.4%

1.3%

6.8%

2.0%

 

Europe (average)

7.1%

1.6%

6.7%

2.6%

 

Belgium

4.5%

1.8%

4.4%

2.0%

 

Bulgaria

12.3%

-1.3%

13.5%

1.0%

 

Denmark

5.9%

0.3%

4.3%

0.7%

 

France

2.1%

0.3%

2.1%

1.4%

 

Greece

5.0%

0.0%

5.0%

1.3%

 

Hungary

7.4%

0.4%

7.2%

2.5%

 

Ireland

5.0%

-0.2%

5.5%

0.9%

 

Italy

2.0%

-0.1%

2.2%

1.3%

 

Netherlands

2.7%

0.1%

1.9%

0.9%

 

Norway

7.2%

3.6%

10.3%

2.6%

 

Poland

14.2%

-0.6%

12.9%

2.3%

 

Portugal

1.4%

0.6%

1.5%

1.2%

 

Romania

5.5%

-1.6%

6.0%

1.3%

 

Russia

10.2%

7.0%

9.3%

4.5%

 

Serbia

23.0%

1.1%

12.6%

2.6%

 

Spain

4.7%

-0.2%

4.6%

2.4%

 

Sweden

5.2%

1.1%

3.9%

1.4%

 

Switzerland

3.6%

-0.4%

3.9%

0.4%

 

Turkey

9.0%

7.8%

10.2%

10.1%

 

Ukraine

13.0%

13.9%

12.5%

11.5%

 

United Kingdom

5.9%

0.6%

6.1%

2.5%

 

MEA (average)

12.4%

3.7%

14.9%

6.1%

 

Bahrain

10.8%

2.8%

14.0%

1.3%

 

Egypt

26.4%

10.2%

37.3%

22.0%

 

Oman

6.7%

1.1%

5.6%

4.1%

 

Qatar

13.3%

2.7%

16.2%

2.6%

 

Saudi Arabia

5.6%

3.5%

5.5%

3.8%

 

United Arab Emirates

11.8%

1.8%

11.0%

2.8%

 

Latin America (average)

15.1%

8.6%

13.5%

5.6%

 

Argentina

50.3%

40.7%*

32.2%

21.5%*

 

Brazil

19.7%

6.4%

17.1%

4.1%

 

Chile

8.1%

2.7%

11.7%

2.7%

 

Colombia

10.0%

7.9%

12.9%

5.2%

 

Dominican Republic

4.5%

3.3%

4.6%

1.2%

 

Mexico2

13.0%

3.4%

12.1%

4.9%

 

Panama

9.7%

1.5%

11.1%

1.9%

 

Peru

5.8%

3.2%

6.5%

3.3%

 

         

 

1The above medical trend rates reflect insurer survey results and may not be MMB’s view.

 

2 Macroeconomic variables in Mexico are likely to impact stated trend rates

 

‡ Average of 48 participating countries with an acceptable number of responses

 

† Sources for inflation rates include:

     

• International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database, April 2017

 

• International Labour Organization, World Employment and Social Outlook - Trends 2016

 

Inflation rate information is strictly for general reference purpose; Mercer gives no guarantees as to their accuracy and will not accept liability for decisions based on them.

       

* Source, Mercer Argentina Spot Survey (March 2017). The source of the inflation data the source is LatinFocus Consensus Forecast.

 

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