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Healthcare International

AXA Global Healthcare Builds On EU Proposition Post-Brexit

As the UK continues life outside of the European Union, many are experiencing changes in the way they access healthcare services. 

New schemes like GHICs are good news for expats across Europe, providing access to healthcare in state-run hospitals and clinics. Whilst these are reassuring, they should not be confused with private insurance, which usually offers access to a wider range of medical treatments, at private hospitals and clinics. AXA Global Healthcare has unveiled a series of developments to continue to offer superior post-Brexit care and opportunities for its European members. To achieve this, the company has been actively developing its presence across the region and enhancing its international healthcare proposition. 

One of the steps the intermediary has taken includes further investment in an EU office. Established in Dublin and led by Gordon Delaney, this new distribution hub successfully supported the smooth transition of members in the European Economic Area (EEA) to a new insurer, so that members could continue to receive compliant healthcare support and cover in a post-Brexit world. This process was successfully completed in March 2020, with policies now underwritten by AXA Insurance dac. The team in Dublin, which has more than doubled in size since first opening in 2019, is now focused on providing the best customer experience possible, as well as supporting client retention, client servicing, financial administration and compliance. The team has also been managing all EEA sales since January 2020. 

In addition, AXA Global Healthcare has welcomed Marc Posthuma, a new Business Development and Relationship Manager tasked with developing the portfolio across Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg. Mr Posthuma’s role will see him leveraging his expertise and working alongside intermediaries and direct business to benefit sales across the Benelux region. Being at close proximity to partners and providers within the AXA network will help develop the relationships and business functions in mainland Europe.  

AXA Global Healthcare continues to look for solutions for providing cover, adherent to changing regulations across the region. A new partnership with Vhi allows it to offer private health insurance plans to customers based in the Republic of Ireland. Vhi is the market leader for health insurance in Ireland with a keen focus on wellness and digital services, effectively supporting AXA Global Healthcare’s proposition.  

AXA Global Healthcare has committed to growing its network of medical providers across the continent through a partnership with AP Companies, the biggest independent medical assistance firm with a vast medical provider network around the world. Expanding the AXA Select network by an additional 900 providers, this partnership ensures the best support is available to members wherever they are in Europe.  

Gordon Delaney, Regional Head – Europe, AXA Global Healthcare, commented: “With the Brexit transition period over, as the international health market evolves, we’re extremely pleased to see that our planning and EEA investment made this time as smooth and straightforward for our members as possible. Setting this up ahead of time also gave our members one less thing to worry about when uncertainty around accessing healthcare rose due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Now, as we move forward, we’re continuing to focus on leveraging partnerships and local expertise to further improve the experience we offer.  

“Whether our customers are looking for international health products in the UK, the EEA or elsewhere, we can ensure consistency in plan design and the service and medical support that we offer. We are looking ahead to a positive future; developing the services we offer and the way our customers access the care they need, to make the most of their next steps."

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Critical Considerations When Designing International Private Medical Health Insurance Plans

Introducing a business into new emerging markets is the response from worldwide business owners to the pre-eminent mega trend that is globalisation. Establishing a global footprint may be of pivotal importance to a wide range of industry, and according to PWC, cross-border assignments are showing no signs of a slowdown. In fact, 59% of CEOs plan to send more staff on international assignments with predictions that global corporate travel and international assignments will increase 50% by 2020.

In the most recent exclusive iPMI Magazine Medical Insurance Round Table, we spoke with leading C-Level Executives at ALC Health, Cigna Global Individual Private Medical Insurance, GeoBlue and Globality Health, about the importance of individual iPMI and how to best approach plan design.

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Mercer’s Latest Quality Of Living Survey Finds San Francisco Is The Top-Ranked City In The United States

Vienna has the world’s best quality of living, according to the Mercer 2015 Quality of Living rankings. Overall, European cities dominate the top of the ranking along with major cities in Australia and New Zealand. Zurich, Auckland, and Munich are in second, third, and fourth places respectively. In fifth place, Vancouver is the highest-ranking city in North America and the region’s only city in the top 10. Singapore (26) is the highest-ranking Asian city, whereas Dubai (74) ranks first across the Middle East and Africa. Montevideo in Uruguay (78) takes the top spot for South America.

In the US, San Francisco (27) is the highest ranking city, followed by Boston (34), Honolulu (36) and Chicago (43). New York City and Seattle rank 44.

Mercer conducts its Quality of Living survey annually to help multinational companies and other employers compensate employees fairly when placing them on international assignments. Employee incentives include a quality-of-living allowance and a mobility premium*.

Mercer’s Quality of Living Reports provide valuable information and hardship premium recommendations for over 440 cities throughout the world; the ranking covers 230 of these cities.

“Taking a short- or long-term work assignment in a new country is both an exciting and challenging experience for employees and their families,” said Slagin Parakatil, Principal at Mercer. “Cultures, societies, and comparatively different climates, as well as political instability, high crime rates, and poor infrastructure can be difficult to navigate and settle down in for employees and their families. Employers need to assess whether their staff and families will encounter any drop in quality of living when relocating and ensure they are fairly compensated for it.”

Mr. Parakatil added, “As with last year’s survey, we continue to recognise emerging cities that are increasingly becoming competitors to traditional business and finance centres. These so called ‘second-tier emerging cites’ are investing, particularly in infrastructure to improve their quality-of-living standards and ultimately attract more foreign companies.”

Americas

In North America, Canada and the United States continue to offer a high standard of living. Vancouver (5) tops the list for this region, followed by fellow Canadian cities Toronto (15) and Ottawa (16), whereas San Francisco (27), Boston (34), and Honolulu (36) are the highest-ranking US cities. Mexico’s highest ranking city is Monterrey (109), while Mexico City is ranked 126th. The lowest-ranking cities in the North American region are Havana (193) and Port-au-Prince (228).

Steve Nurney, Partner and Mercer’s North America Global Mobility business leader said, “Quality of living remained high in North American cities overall due to the range of consumer goods and services that are available.”

In South America the quality of living varies; Montevideo (78), Buenos Aires (91), and Santiago (93) are the highest-ranked cities, whereas La Paz (156) and Caracas (179) rank lowest. “Economic woes and high levels of crime continue to remain a major problem in many of the region’s cities,” said Mr. Nurney. In Brazil, Mercer has identified Manaus as an emerging city – it is ranked 127th. The city is already a thriving industrial centre and has a free economic zone – its good supply of consumer goods and relatively advanced infrastructure partially counteract the impact of Manaus’ lack of international schooling options for expatriates and remote location.

Europe

Despite concerns about economic growth, the cities of Western Europe continue to offer a stable environment for employees and employers. Vienna (1) is followed by Zurich (2), Munich (4), Düsseldorf (6), and Frankfurt (7). With Geneva and Copenhagen in 8th and 9th places, respectively, Western European cities take seven places in the top 10. The lowest-ranking cities in Western Europe are Belfast (63) and Athens (85).

Cities in Central and Eastern Europe have a wider range of quality-of-living standards. The highest-ranking cities are Prague (68), Budapest, and Ljubljana (both ranked 75th). Emerging city Wroclaw (100), Poland, has a thriving cultural and social environment and good availability of consumer goods. The region’s lower-ranking cities are Kiev (176), Tirana (180), and Minsk (189), with Kiev experiencing a considerable drop in the rankings following political instability and violence in Ukraine overall. In the UK, London (40) is the highest-ranking city, followed by Birmingham (52), Glasgow (55), Aberdeen (57), and Belfast (63).

“UK cities overall enjoy high standards of quality of living and remain stable and attractive locations for businesses,” said Ellyn Karetnick, Principal at Mercer. “Security has been tightened in many major European cities following the terrorist attacks in Paris and Copenhagen and Mercer is closely monitoring any potential impact on the living standard of the expatriates and their families in these locations.”

Asia-Pacific

Asia is the region with the largest range in quality-of-living standards, with the highest-ranking city, Singapore, in 25th place and the lowest-ranking, Dushanbe, Tajikistan, in 214th place. Topping the ranking across East Asian cities is Tokyo in 44th place; Other key cities in this part of the region include Hong Kong (70), Seoul (72), Taipei (83), Shanghai (101), and Beijing (118). Notable emerging cities in this part of Asia include Cheonan (98), South Korea, and Taichung (99) in Taiwan. Chinese cities Xi’an and Chongqing (both ranked 142nd) are also emerging as business destinations.

Their main challenges to improving quality-of-living standards are clean water provision and air pollution. However, advances in the telecommunications and consumer sectors have had some positive offsetting effects on their ranking. Behind Singapore, the second highest-ranking city in Southeast Asia is Kuala Lumpur (84); other major cities here include Bangkok (117), Manila (136), and Jakarta (140).

In South Asia, Colombo (132), ranks highest and is followed by emerging Indian cities Hyderabad (138) and Pune (145). Both cities rank higher for quality of living than the country’s more traditional business centres, Mumbai (152) and New Delhi (154). Considerable population increases in Mumbai and New Delhi in recent decades have increased existing problems, including access to clean water, air pollution, and traffic congestion.

In the Pacific, New Zealand and Australian cities are some of the highest-ranked cities globally, with Auckland in 3rd, Sydney in 10th, Wellington in 12th, and Melbourne in 16th.

Middle East and Africa

In 74th place, Dubai ranks highest for quality of living across the Middle East and Africa region.

It is followed by Abu Dhabi (77), also in the UAE, and Port Louis (82), Mauritius. In South Africa, Durban (85) is an emerging city and ranks higher than the country’s traditional business centres, Cape Town (91) and Johannesburg (94). Durban’s higher ranking is mainly due to its high-quality housing, plentiful recreational offerings and good consumer goods availability. However, the city’s crime problems keep it from reaching the top 50. Ranking 230th, Baghdad is the lowest-ranking city in the region and on the overall list.

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WellAway Announces Approval Of Its Health Plans For US-Bound Expatriates As Compliant Under The Affordable Care Act (Obamacare)

WellAway, Ltd. has announced today that it has received accreditation from the United States government to distribute its expat plans as compliant under the requirements of Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). WellAway Limited is the only provider of international expat products to enjoy this approval.

By purchasing one of WellAway’s ACA-Compliant policies, Foreign individuals and employer groups will not be subject to the penalties or taxes that apply to any person admitted to the United States for a period of more than eleven months. Starting in 2015, employers may face further taxation or penalties if they do not offer ACA-compliant insurance coverage to their expat employees in the United States. WellAway has further emphasized its advocacy for expatriates coming to the USA by offering a variety of support tools and resources that help foreign nationals navigate the US healthcare system and Obamacare.

These include assigning personal ConciergeCare Counselors to help each member understand how their benefits work in the USA. ConciergeCare services assist members in finding the best-rated in-network providers, making appointments, dealing with medical bills and understanding any cost-shares. Member services are available 24/7 in the member’s native language. The company is also providing a variety of digital guides that will inform members of the differences between healthcare in the USA and in their country of origin.

“We are very excited to receive this approval and comply with the new USA requirements for insurance. This allows our members to keep a product that is international and specifically designed to the needs of expats, while meeting the new guidelines and not paying unnecessary taxes and penalties. It has taken a lot of work and effort for WellAway and its underwriters to design these products and really understand the USA mandates,” stated Griselle Chernys, spokesperson for the company.

”We are happy to offer these products to any foreign nationals entering the United States and our brokers and distributors have welcomed meeting the demands of their clients. Until now, there were no ACA-compliant options available to expats and brokers have often found themselves unable to meet a growing demand. Our product is different because it encompasses a very complete service to the expat via our unique program design.” added Chernys.

Individuals or families interested in a WellAway Limited Obamacare compliant plan, may visit WellAway at www.wellaway.com to see all plan options available. Plans are also available via our international insurance brokers in different countries around the world. Interested parties are encouraged to seek a referral to one of our brokers by contacting our sales representatives at the numbers listed on our website.

About WellAway, Ltd

WellAway, Ltd. is a company domiciled in Hamilton, Bermuda with global offices in France and Belgium. The company specializes in unique health and travel insurance health programs for foreign nationals living throughout the world. 

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Trends in Asia Pacific Employee Engagement Report

Aon Hewitt, has launched the 2014 Trends in Asia Pacific Employee Engagement Report.

As the global economy continues to stabilize, GDP growth improved across most of the Asia Pacific region during the past year, with an overall growth rate of 4%. The outlook for Asia Pacific’s growth is to remain steady and higher than the global average, at 5.4% in 2014 and 5.5% in 2015. Overall, positive changes have impacted engagement levels in Asia Pacific, as reflected in the key findings below.

“In many cases, employers in Asia Pacific will be building on a strong foundation: our report shows that employees in the region have already attained levels of engagement that are on par with the global average. There is also plenty of room for improvement: 24% of Asia Pacific employees are only passively engaged. The challenge for employers is to improve and sustain levels, to support continued business growth”, said Gabriela Domicelj, Regional Engagement Practice Leader, Asia Pacific.

Asia Pacific employee engagement in 2013 was higher than before the financial crisis. Rising from 58% in 2012 to 61% in 2013, Asia Pacific’s average engagement score rose to 61% in 2013 from 58% in 2012, a bigger increase than was seen in the global engagement score, which rose to 61% in 2013 from 60% in 2012. In 2013, Asia Pacific shares the same engagement score of 61% as the global average. Of the 12 countries represented in this report, nine saw improvements in employee engagement levels in 2013, two saw scores decline, and one remained the same. Compared to the global average, Asia Pacific employees are more willing to advocate for their employers, but less willing to stay in the organization.

In 2013, Asia Pacific reported increases in all Say, Stay and Strive scores (see Appendix for Aon Hewitt’s Engagement Model). Most significantly, Say scores increased by six points to 69%, showing that more employees are saying good things about their employers. Despite an increase since 2012, the Stay score of 55% remained the lowest of the three, reflecting that just under half of employees in Asia Pacific are willing to stay with their organizations. Almost two-thirds of all employees in Asia Pacific are engaged; 24% are passively engaged and present a great opportunity for employers to improve their engagement levels.

The engagement distribution in Asia Pacific shares an identical pattern with global employee engagement distributions. 21% of employees are highly engaged, leaving a large potential for employers to improve engagement, as 64% of employees in Asia Pacific are either moderately or passively engaged. With the right management and work conditions, these employees could become highly engaged. The overall work experience in Asia Pacific is improving. Globally, overall work experience improved by 4%, while Asia Pacific showed an increase of 6%. The areas that have improved the most are employer brand and foundational elements (i.e., safety, resources).

However, perception of leadership and company practices has dropped. This may be because Asia Pacific employees are becoming more sophisticated and therefore more discerning about business and strategic imperatives. Career Opportunities and Pay remain the top two engagement drivers in Asia Pacific. Career Opportunities were the number one driver both globally and in Asia Pacific in 2013 (Career Opportunities ranked as the top engagement driver in nine out of 12 countries). Pay has a particularly higher ranking in Asia Pacific compared to the rest of the world, and is valued notably in China, South Korea, and Thailand.

Anand Shankar, Performance, Talent and Rewards Regional Practice leader, Asia Pacific, said, “Employees today have access to vast amounts of data that allow them to compare potential and current employers on multiple levels, and they are using it to ensure they get the best jobs and conditions possible. Employees in Asia Pacific are becoming increasingly clear and vocal about what they want. Our research shows that employees in Asia Pacific want career opportunities even more than they want pay increases.”

Gabriela Domicelj added: “Engagement drivers differ substantially by country. Asia Pacific shows a great deal of cultural, economic, and political diversity. Talent management practices also vary greatly in maturity across countries and industries in this region. Operating in this complex environment presents a challenge for leaders trying to drive high levels of employee engagement.

Organizations that invest in understanding and managing the key drivers of employee engagement across their multiple constituencies will be able to drive performance in more efficient and effective ways”. The report first analyzes employee engagement trends for the Asia Pacific region, then goes into a detailed breakdown of each of the 12 countries surveyed. These data-backed insights are important for helping employers understand how current trends in demographics and culture are reshaping what employees want in exchange for their efforts. With these trends in mind, companies need to take action to optimize employees’ motivation and productivity.

Overall, in 2013, Asia Pacific witnessed changes in employee engagement. In particular, the region saw improvements in the number of “highly engaged” employees, which increased by 5% to 21%, and in the engagement levels of Millennials, which rose by 5% in 2013 compared with 2012. Looking ahead, employers should focus on ways to sustain growth and avoid volatility in employee engagement levels, especially in fast-growing economies such as China, Indonesia, Thailand and India. Investing wisely in engagement-improvement initiatives is the key for business and HR leaders. The following top five engagement drivers in Asia Pacific highlight the opportunities we see for organizations to improve their employee engagement levels.

Career Opportunities – consistently shows up as the most important employee engagement driver across all Asia Pacific countries. The importance of Career Opportunities within an organization is evident across generations, job levels and job function. Thus, having a flexible and clearly defined career path is one of the most critical improvements for employers to focus on.

Career Opportunities also includes having options for short-term assignments and geographic transfers. Strengths in this area will certainly be a differentiating factor for employers in Asia Pacific.

Pay – After rising in the rankings for two years, Pay remains the second most important engagement driver in Asia Pacific. The findings around pay indicate that economic pressures, threats of inflation, and historical pay constraints may have caused pay to be more highly sought after in specific Asia Pacific countries. Employers should focus on “pay-for performance” strategies, drive more variation in reward levels that are aligned with engagement and performance output, and motivate their employees to give their best performance.

Brand Alignment – Brand Alignment has risen from number four to number three in the list of top five impact drivers. It is important that organizations are consistent in keeping the promises they make to their employees and in providing the promised experience for employees once on-board. Those organizations that focus on articulating a unique and compelling employee value proposition for prospective and current employees and who then deliver on that proposition will be rewarded with higher employee engagement.

Recognition – Recognition schemes are certainly less costly for an employer than direct pay and can also have a significant impact on employee engagement. Despite many economic and business pressures, engagement is on the rise – more employees have said good things about their company are committed to staying with them and have put in extra efforts at work. These employees deserve recognition from their employers, which will in turn result in sustained or even higher engagement.

Managing Performance – The only driver that is new on the list compared to the previous year. Employees in Asia Pacific want to work for organizations that focus on clear performance outcomes. Employers need a holistic approach to ‘employee performance’ as part of their culture, and one that is supported by enabling performance management processes, effective people management, ensuring learning and development supports the capability required to perform, and reinforcing performance through rewards and recognition.

Gabriela Domicelj concluded, “Today’s talent challenges in Asia Pacific are significant. Organizations have to invest wisely in their employees to stay ahead of the race. Getting employee engagement right is a major step towards driving positive business results through increased employee productivity. Now is the time to focus on improving employee engagement in workplaces across Asia Pacific”.

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Huichih Ko Joins Willis Asia As Chairman

Willis Group Holdings plc, has appointed Huichih Ko as Chairman of Willis Asia. Mr. Ko will play a leading role in defining Willis Asia's strategic direction and driving client engagement and growth across the region. He starts his new role today and will initially be based in the Singapore HQ of Willis Asia, which employs around 890 associates in 36 offices.

He joins from Marsh & McLennan Companies (MMC), where he served as MMC Country Corporate Officer for Taiwan. He has over 30 years' industry experience and has held a number of senior posts at Marsh, including Deputy Chairman, Greater China Region; and Managing Director and Chairman, Marsh Taiwan.

Tim Wright, CEO of Willis International, said, "Willis is going from strength to strength in Asia, and the addition of such a senior talent will be a further boost to our capabilities and ambitions. Huichih is a very experienced and respected industry leader who is well known across the region. He will play a vital role in growing and connecting our business both in Asia and globally."

Adam Garrard, CEO of Willis Asia, said, "I have known Huichih for many years and he has worked with an impressive and diverse range of clients. We are delighted to have attracted Huichih to Willis and his appointment is a visible endorsement of our values and strategy. Huichih will partner with me and the rest of the Willis Asia team to assist us in driving the strategy and growth plans in the region. I can think of no one more qualified for this role. He is one of the best insurance practitioners in Asia."

Huichih Ko said, "I am deeply impressed by Willis's vision and commitment to invest across Asia in order to tap into some exciting, high-potential markets. I'm pleased to have the opportunity to work with the many talents in Willis to develop innovative solutions for clients and markets. Asian insurance markets have come a long way - many are mature and ready to diversify their books - and I look forward to helping our global clients explore that new capacity."

Ko started his insurance brokerage career in New York with Fred S James in 1981. He was assigned to Taiwan in 1983 and subsequently became President of James International Taiwan. Between 1987 and 1998 he served as CEO of Sedgwick Taiwan. Following the acquisition of Sedgwick by Marsh, Ko was appointed as Regional Director North Asia, Marsh Resolution.

In 2000 he became Managing Director and chairman of Marsh Taiwan and in 2010 he was promoted to Deputy Chairman, Marsh Greater China Region.

In 2013 he was appointed as MMC Country Corporate Officer for Taiwan. Ko holds a bachelor's degree in Shipping Management and a Master of Science in Transportation.

He has also taught marine insurance and shipping management courses in universities in Taiwan.

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China Health Insurance Market Opens Up

Beijing encouraging foreign private investment to relieve stressed-out healthcare sector. Foreign investors may wholly own hospitals in seven cities and provinces, opening up the country's fast-growing private hospital sector.

At a recent meeting of China's cabinet, the State Council set out plans to build new medical facilities and elderly care homes supported by investment from international private medical insurance firms. Under the plans, investors will be allowed to own 100% of facilities in seven provinces and cities.

China's population, nearing 1.4 billion, are around 90% covered by state health care, however cover is limited and often medical fees are paid out-of-pocket. There is also a large difference between the quality of health care provided in rural and urban hospitals. This is blamed on a lack of funding and administrative corruption, mostly affecting the poorest people.

In June, Deutsche Bank calculated there were 11,300 private hospitals in China in 2013, a massive increase from 3,200 in 2005. Commercial insurance premiums grew 30% compared to the state sector growing 18%. According to a McKinsey report, the country's health care spending is forecast to reach around $1trn by 2020 from $357bn in 2011. According to Reuters this may lead to a rapid increase and flow of investment from international private insurers and hospital operators.

Over the years Beijing has slowly opened the doors to overseas investment, allowing foreign investors to own 70% in past hospital joint ventures. Under the new rules, China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan, will all permit foreign investors to own 100% of hospitals.

Currently PICC Health Insurance, Kunlun Health Insurance, Hexie Health and Ping An Insurance Group Co of China Ltd are the largest private health insurers China.

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Lower Costs, More Proactive Care in Aetna and Banner Health Network Accountable Care Collaboration

Aetna (NYSE: AET) and Banner Health Network (BHN) today announced that their accountable care collaboration resulted in a shared savings of approximately $5 million on Aetna Whole Health fully-insured commercial membership in 2013 and a five percent decline in average medical cost on the members.

At the same time, Aetna and BHN improved cancer screening rates, blood sugar management in diabetic members and reduced avoidable hospital admissions. The results demonstrate that patients benefit when physicians and health plans share resources and work together in accountable care models. Further, Aetna and BHN saw savings and improved medical cost trend on additional membership outside the Aetna Whole Health product.

An accountable care collaboration is a group of health care providers who assume responsibility for the quality and cost of care for a group of patients. The collaboration between BHN and Aetna gives consumers and employers better health care options. Consumers who receive care in this new model save money by using providers in BHN. They also benefit from a more coordinated, personalized experience that is designed to produce better overall health outcomes. Through care coordination by a clinical team and proactive management of patients’ needs, rather than episode-based treatment of illness, providers in accountable care models can provide more efficient and cost-effective care. Health plans support the practice with relevant patient care data, analysis and quality measurement along with financial rewards for improved care quality.

“Aetna and BHN have a collaborative relationship that is to the benefit of our members and employers,” said Chuck Lehn, BHN’s Chief Executive Officer. “These results are rewarding because they validate our model-- it is possible to deliver quality care at more affordable prices.”

Aetna and BHN began their accountable care collaboration in 2011 and the tools and learning from this relationship supported BHN’s Medicare Pioneer Accountable Care Organization (ACO) model in 2012. Aetna and BHN offer the Aetna Whole Health plans – ACO-centered health plan products – to employers and individuals in the Phoenix area. The products are also available to individuals on the public exchange. In addition, Aetna care management and technologies support BHN in delivering patient-centered, accountable care to its Pioneer Medicare beneficiaries as well as Banner Health employees in seven states.

“The success of this collaboration demonstrates that insurance carriers and providers can work together in a unified approach to provide quality, coordinated care while reducing health care costs,” said Tom Dameron, Aetna’s local market president for Arizona. “We look forward to continuing our relationship with Banner to help our members live healthier, more productive lives.”

Significant results seen during the second full year of the accountable care collaboration between Aetna and BHN include: Improvements in cancer screening rates, including cervical and colorectal cancer screening; Reductions in the percent of diabetic members with poorly controlled blood sugar levels; Reductions in radiology services of approximately 9 percent; Increases in generic prescribing rate by almost 4 percent; and Reductions in avoidable admissions by approximately 9 percent. Aetna is working with health care organizations across the country to develop products and services that support value-driven, patient-centered care for all health care consumers. Nationally, more than 2.3 million members are served by value-based health care models.

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Squaremouth Launches Ebola and Travel Insurance Information Center

Growing fear over the Ebola virus outbreak has travelers considering the benefits of travel insurance. To answer their questions, Squaremouth, America's fastest growing travel insurance comparison site, has launched the Ebola and Travel Insurance Information Center.

The comprehensive webpage includes official position statements by Squaremouth's travel insurance providers explaining their coverage of the virus. The Information Center also includes frequently asked questions, travel warnings and breaking news. It is managed by Squaremouth's team of industry experts and is updated daily.

"We understand travelers may be concerned about the Ebola outbreak and want to know their options. We developed the Ebola and Travel Insurance Information Center to make this information readily available to anyone looking for answers," says Megan Singh, Squaremouth Marketing Manager.

Currently, a travel insurance policy can be purchased to cover a traveler who becomes infected with Ebola, however coverage can change if contracting the virus becomes expected or "foreseeable." As events unfold, updated position statements will be added to the Information Center.

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Protect Yourself Against An Unexpected Cancellation Warns International Travel Assistance And Medical Expert Allianz Global Assistance

Over 90% of travel insurance ‘cancellation’ claims are because of the death, serious injury or serious illness of the policyholder or their travel companion, family member or business associate. Jury service or court witness, burglary/serious damage to home and redundancy account for the remaining 10% of travel insurance cancellation claims.1 in 5 people purchase travel insurance ‘shortly’ before going on holiday.

According to the latest survey from travel insurance provider, Allianz Global Assistance UK, 1 in 5 purchase their holiday insurance less than a fortnight before they are due to set off. This could have disastrous consequences warns Allianz Global Assistance, as travel insurance is essential for protecting holiday makers from the unexpected ‘before’ a holiday, just as much as ‘during’ their holiday.

“Our survey shows that a significant number of people buy travel insurance at the last minute, or worse still, don’t bother at all. This leaves them exposed to all sorts of financial risks, including cancelling the holiday. If you book your holiday some months in advance of going away, and leave it to the last minute to purchase insurance, you run the risk of losing a significant proportion or all of the cost of the holiday if you have to unexpectedly cancel it,” explains Paul Doran, Head of Travel Operations at Allianz Global Assistance in the UK.

“Death, serious injury or illness of you, a loved one or someone associated to your travel plans, is the number one reason for people cancelling holidays, but if you purchase insurance at the time of booking your holiday your insurer will most likely reimburse your costs. We also urge travellers to make a full health declaration to their insurer immediately, to make sure they are covered for cancellation, as well as emergency medical treatment abroad,” continues Paul Doran.

Allianz Global Assistance goes on to advise that anyone buying insurance must declare all existing medical conditions and if they are unsure what to declare or the correct medical name for a condition, they should ask their GP. People must not make a declaration on behalf of a relative, unless they know all the details of their existing medical conditions.

Allianz Global Assistance Travel Insurance Tips

  • Buy a travel insurance policy as soon as you book a trip.
  • Make a full health declaration immediately to your insurer to make sure you are covered for cancellation as well as emergency medical treatment abroad.
  • If you are unsure what medical conditions to declare or the correct medical name of your condition ask your GP.
  • Don’t make a declaration on behalf of a relative unless you are absolutely sure you know all the details of their existing medical conditions.
  • Remember to take a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) if travelling to Europe.
  • Remember that an EHIC is not a substitute for travel insurance.
  • Don’t take the risk and travel without full travel insurance.
  • Ensure you insurance adequately covers your holiday experience, such as golf, winter sports, water based or other activities.

Paul Doran concludes, “Our message to travellers is: don’t take a risk and travel without full cover. Medical expenses abroad, particularly in the USA, Caribbean, Mexico and parts of Asia, can be extremely expensive, costing more than an entire holiday. For no more than the cost of a family pack of sun tan lotion, holidaymakers can buy travel insurance, offering them protection and support in both the countdown to the holiday and when they are abroad.”

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