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More Than 3.7 Million UK Employees Could Either Have Paid-For Benefits They Were Unaware Of, Or Are Missing Out On The Chance To Have Protection Insurance Or A Pension(2)

Almost 1 in 7 UK employees are in the dark when it comes to pensions and insurance benefits available through their workplace, according to new research1. Figures from a YouGov survey commissioned by Friends Life found that nearly 15% of workers did not know what financial products their employer provided. When expanded out across the UK workforce, it means more than 3.7 million UK employees could either have paid-for benefits they were unaware of, or are missing out on the chance to have protection insurance or a pension2.

However, there is a desire to get financial products via the workplace. When asked which benefits people would consider taking out through their employer, pensions, life insurance, critical illness cover and income protection were among the most popular answers3.

“It’s got to come down to communication,” said Anna Spender, Head of Group Protection Proposition. “Employees need to know what’s on offer and how it can help them. Giving them a few simple pieces of information will allow them to make more informed decisions. “Not only are workers potentially missing out on really valuable benefits, but employers aren’t getting the full value of the package they’re offering. Life insurance, critical illness cover and income protection can make employees feel valued by their company and can play an important part in any staff wellness programmes. But if employees don’t even know they’re available employers aren’t maximising the good will these benefits can create in staff.”

The workers surveyed said employer contributions and subsidies were the most popular factor in encouraging them to buy a financial product via their employer. Getting a better price or deal than is available on the high street was also a common choice4. Research has also showed that nearly 60% of people would rely on their partner's salary or savings5 if they were diagnosed with cancer and unable to work.

“Employers could be the answer to plugging at least part of the protection gap we have in this country,” added Anna Spender. “Employees can be offered some form of cover as part of their terms and conditions or through flexible benefit arrangements where they can purchase in accordance with their needs. Either way, it can help staff to feel more secure knowing they have some financial back up should the worst happen.

“Everyone should know what is available to them. Having almost 1 in 7 unaware of what’s on offer is too many.”

1 YouGov survey of 12,260 UK adults commissioned by Friends Life (2013-2014) 2 ONS Labour Market Statistics (Oct 2014) says there are 26,027,000 employees in the UK. 26,027,000 ÷ 100 x 14.5 (percentage of people who ‘don’t know’ what financial services products their employer officers) = 3,773,915 3 YouGov survey of 3,922 UK adults commissioned by Friends Life 4 YouGov survey of 10,784 UK adults commissioned by Friends Life 5 Survey of 2,000 people carried out by One Poll on behalf of Friends Life (Q1 2014)

 

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78% Of World’s Employers Are Strongly Committed To Creating A Workplace Culture Of Health

A new survey of employers worldwide illustrates their investments in wellness: 43 percent say they created a brand identity for their employee wellness programs, 52 percent offer health insurance premium reductions, and 65 percent believe wellness programs are extremely or very important to attract and retain workers.

According to “Working Well: A Global Survey of Health Promotion and Workplace Wellness Strategies,” employers’ views of wellness have evolved over the last seven years. This latest report was conducted by Buck Consultants at Xerox (NYSE: XRX), with lead sponsorship by Cigna Corp. (NYSE: CI) and the Global Healthy Workplace Awards.

“When we began this survey in 2007, employers were focused on basic health promotion activities,” said Dave Ratcliffe, principal, Buck Consultants at Xerox. “Today, our sixth survey shows an evolution in employer thinking to a much more holistic and measurable approach. Workers’ wellness is now viewed as a state of well-being across the spectrum of health, wealth, and career. Wellness is part of the employee value proposition. Social media, gamification, mobile technology, automated coaching, and personalized communication are all part of the mix.”

The commitment to employee wellness and a corporate culture of health prevails even as the challenges identified by Buck’s previous surveys persist. Participation rates indicate that employers are still struggling to find effective approaches to motivate workers. And there is a significant gap between employers’ stated desire to create a culture of health and their current progress in achieving this goal. Survey findings show that 52 percent of employers worldwide are measuring the outcomes from their wellness programs – up from 36 percent in 2012. Yet, in the U.S., 59 percent of employers say they don’t know if their wellness programs are having an impact on health care cost trend (their top-stated objective).

“The globalization of employers’ wellness programs among multinational companies has risen significantly over the last seven years, from 34 percent in 2008 to 56 percent in 2014,” said Sheldon Kenton, senior vice president, Cigna Global Employer Sales. “This has occurred even though it is challenging for employers to create a global wellness strategy because of differing cultures, laws and practices around the world.”

Other key findings of Buck’s global wellness study include: Human Resource polices related to flexible work arrangements and paid time off ranked as the number one component of wellness programs globally, with Employee Assistance Programs ranking number two, driven by their prevalence in the U.S., Canada, Africa and Australia. Globally, too much stress, too little exercise and a poor diet remain the top wellness-related areas of focus for employers.

In Asia, Africa and the Middle East, worker safety is the number one concern. In the U.S., employers cite health care costs as their top reason for sponsoring wellness programs. Outside the U.S., employers use wellness programs to improve employee morale and to reduce sick days and presenteeism – when employees are at work but not fully functioning. Employers are making the connection between health and productivity.

Employee wellness communication – with personalization of employee messages – is closely linked to health care cost trend reduction. One hundred percent of the U.S. companies reporting a lower health care cost trend of six or more percentage points send their employees targeted wellness emails. The use of wellness mailings to employees’ homes also is on the rise, recognizing the influence that household members have on each other’s health.

Buck Consultants at Xerox conducted the survey in association with Cigna, Wolf Kirsten International Health Consulting and the Global Healthy Workplace Awards.

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Crew Rescued From Sinking Cargo Vessel

Falmouth Coastguard has been assisting a cargo vessel which had six people on board and began sinking 12 miles east of the Lizard this morning.

Lizard and Falmouth RNLI Lifeboats and a rescue helicopter from RNAS Culdrose attempted to pump water out of vessel, the 'Sea Breeze', with their own pumps. Other merchant vessels, who heard the mayday relay broadcast from Falmouth Coastguard, also stood by in case they were required.

The Sea Breeze is an 87-metre Barbados flagged cargo vessel with six crew onboard. It is carrying 2,750 tons of limestone and was bound for Shoreham at the time of the incident.

Alex Greig, Falmouth Coastguard Watch Manager says, "We received the mayday broadcast from the 'Sea Breeze' at 7.00 am and were able to get lifeboats and the helicopter on scene quickly, along with other vessels that were in the vicinity. The lifeboats and helicopter pumped water off the cargo vessel, whilst HMS Tyne was on its way with commercial pumps. However, unfortunately, the smaller pumps could not keep up with the ingress of water and the crew had to abandon ship at 8.40 am. Five of the crew are now safely ashore. A couple of them have minor injuries. The captain has remained on scene on board HMS Tyne to help with the salvage operation."

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Afghanistan Travel Warnings: Credit Cards Not Accepted - ATMs in Military Camps

Carry sufficient cash in US Dollars for your visit. Credit cards are not accepted. Some ATMs in Kabul dispense dollars as well as the local currency, Afghanis. Banks are closed on Fridays, but there are ATMs in various locations in Wazir Akbar Khan and elsewhere. ATMs are located at military camps, but unless you have an International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) pass you will not be able to enter. Travellers’ cheques are not widely accepted and it can take a fortnight for them to clear.

Take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance before you travel.

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Employees Likely to See Changes When Enrolling in Health Benefits This Year

Workers who plan to automatically default into the same health plan in which they were enrolled the previous year would be wise to rethink that strategy for the 2014 annual enrollment season, according to Aon Hewitt, the global talent, retirement and health solutions business of Aon plc (NYSE: AON). Employees can expect to see a number of changes to their health benefits driven by rising health costs and the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). Aon Hewitt urges employees to do their homework this year to understand the impact of these changes and make informed benefits elections for them and their families.

A more expensive price tag – Aon Hewitt's research shows that most employers plan to subsidize employees' health coverage at the same percentage rate as last year. However, as health care costs increase overall, the amount of money employees will need to contribute out of their paychecks is continuing to climb. In addition, almost one in five employers has increased surcharges for adult dependents with access to coverage elsewhere.

More options for coverage – Starting in 2014, all Americans will be required to have health care coverage or risk paying a penalty. Some employees—particularly those who are not offered health coverage through their employer—may wish to purchase individual coverage through the new state and federal marketplaces.

A higher probability of being in a consumer-driven health plan – Consumer-driven health plans (CDHPs) continue to rise in popularity and have surpassed HMOs as the second most offered plans by employers. In fact, a growing number of employers are offering CDHPs as the only plan option. While just 10 percent of companies do so today, another 44 percent are considering it in the next three to five years[1].

Programs that promote health awareness and education – With employers facing the impacts of rising health care costs and declining health of the population, employees can expect to see more employers offering programs that encourage them to take a more active role in managing their health. For example, 75 percent of employers offer health risk questionnaires (HRQs) and 71 percent offer biometric screenings such as blood pressure and cholesterol.

More incentive opportunities for exhibiting healthy behaviors – Workers can also expect to see an increasing number of employers providing an incentive—either through a reward or a penalty—related to completion of programs such as HRQs and biometric screenings. Eighty-three percent of employers have such an incentive in place now[2].

New eligibility rules – Employers may be making changes to rules that determine which employees are eligible for health coverage, particularly as they evaluate requirements of the "employer mandate" provision of PPACA (which was delayed until 2015). In addition, the recent Supreme Court decision that resulted in federal recognition of same-sex marriages may mean more dependents will now be eligible for benefits coverage.

"Employees typically spend very little time choosing their health benefits each year," said Craig Rosenberg, Aon Hewitt's Health & Welfare Benefits Administration practice leader. "This year, that can be a risky—and potentially costly—strategy. In some cases, not making an active decision during enrollment means employees could get defaulted into a health care plan that doesn't meet their needs—or even worse—leaves them and their families with no coverage at all. It's up to employees to read the fine print and take an active role in understanding if and how these changes may impact them."

Making the Most of the 2014 Benefits Enrollment Season

To ensure employees optimize their health care and other benefits choices, Aon Hewitt offers the following tips this enrollment season:

Participate in the enrollment process

Make sure you understand what's changing, when you need to make your choices, and what your employer is requiring of you. Most employers provide information and tools to help you understand your options and make your decisions.

Review coverage offered by your employer before making a decision about purchasing coverage through a marketplace in your state

You will hear a lot about these new marketplaces, including the availability of federal subsidies based on your income. In most cases, if your employer offers coverage that meets certain minimum coverage and cost levels, you will not be eligible for a subsidy in the marketplace. Make sure you take the time to understand the health plans your employer offers before declining this coverage to purchase insurance through the marketplace. It is important to note that most employers subsidize coverage they offer and allow you to pay for it on a pre-tax basis, which saves you money by lowering your taxable income. Coverage purchased through the marketplace, however, is not pre-tax. You can visit healthcare.gov to learn more about the marketplaces.

Evaluate whether a CDHP is right for you

CDHPs often have lower premiums, and a growing number of employers are making these plans more attractive options for you to consider. Of the companies that offer CDHPs, 44 percent subsidize premiums for these plans at a higher rate than other plan options. Many employers also couple these plans with Health Reimbursement Accounts (HRAs) or Health Savings Accounts (HSAs), which you can use to help pay for eligible out-of-pocket health care costs. HSAs allow you to save money by contributing on a pre-tax basis, up to $3,300 in 2014 or $6,550 if you have family coverage, with no "use it or lose it" rule.

When evaluating CDHPs as an option, you should figure out how much you are likely to spend in out-of-pocket costs before you meet your deductible. Potentially higher deductibles for CDHPs, particularly those paired with HSAs, could mean that you will be spending more than you think. You should also factor in how much your employer will put into your HRA or whether they will make contributions to your HSA.

Reassess your and your dependents' health care needs

Reserve some time before open enrollment begins to take a fresh look at your health care needs for the year ahead and how you and your family have used health care in the past year. Consider how much you've spent out-of-pocket (e.g., deductibles, co-pays, and co-insurance), the number of doctor visits you typically make and the cost of regular prescription drugs. Most employers offer online tools and modelers to help you calculate your prior expenses and estimate your future health care needs.

If you are participating in a Health Care Flexible Spending Account (FSA), evaluate if your contribution is too little or too much, based on your actual and anticipated expenses. Remember that you must use any money in an FSA within the current year or risk losing it. If you plan to enroll in a CDHP with an HSA, ensure that you understand how your health care FSA is impacted as special rules apply. For example, the health care FSA may be limited to covering dental and vision care expenses.

Take advantage of opportunities to improve your health and lower your health costs

Most employers offer tools and programs such as health risk questionnaires and biometric screenings (e.g., blood pressure and cholesterol screenings) to help you understand more about your health. In fact, you may be able to take advantage of a financial incentive from your employer for doing so. These programs have the added benefit of providing you with better insight into your health risks so you can take action earlier.

Consider any supplemental benefits your employer may offer

Aon Hewitt's research shows that 28 percent of employers include access to voluntary supplemental coverage, such as critical illness and hospital indemnity insurance, as part of their annual enrollment process. Be sure to carefully review the available options and determine if certain voluntary coverage meets your needs. Often, this extra coverage is available at a lower cost through your employer than if you were to purchase it on your own.

Take a "health and wealth" view to spend your dollars wisely

As you assess your health plan options for 2014, it's important to look holistically at your health and financial wellbeing, including health care, income protection (e.g., life and disability insurance), and retirement planning. Does your spending reflect your needs and priorities? For example, if you aren't contributing to your 401(k) plan, now may be the time to start. Beginning to save earlier in your career helps to ensure you're on track to meet your long-term savings goals.

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You Are Global

You Are Global Overseas Health Insurance

 

You Are Global is a leading international health, expat, life and travel insurance broker and intermediary, based in Brazil. You Are Global works with leading private medical insurance providers and companies like IMG, Cigna, HCC, Now Health International and Allianz Worldwide Care. You Are Global caters specifically for expatriates, travelers and tourists, working, living and visiting Brazil. You Are Global has specific expertise working with Spanish speaking cultures around the world whilst also proving international health, medical, travel, expat and life insurance plan to the out bound travel market in Brazil.

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You Are Global

You Are Global Overseas Health Insurance

You Are Global is a leading international health, expat, life and travel insurance broker and intermediary, based in Brazil. You Are Global works with leading private medical insurance providers and companies like IMG, Cigna, HCC, Now Health International and Allianz Worldwide Care. You Are Global caters specifically for expatriates, travelers and tourists, working, living and visiting Brazil. You Are Global has specific expertise working with Spanish speaking cultures around the world whilst also proving international health, medical, travel, expat and life insurance plan to the out bound travel market in Brazil.

How can we help?

If you are an international citizen and need a medical coverage which knows no boundaries, you are in the right place. We understand the world has evolved and business and study programs are not limited to the place we live. And this also happens to international travel opportunities: nowadays, travel abroad is easy due to globalization. In the other hand, we know that having a comprehensive, continuous and worldwide medical coverage is mandatory to an international citizen. Therefore, from now on you can access all solutions ValenteRocha provides throughout “You are global – SeguroSaúdeemViagens” program.

You can have a global support, with online assistance, quoting and contracting your international medical coverage with adjustable options as you have never seen. Now you have access to the most comprehensive medical coverage plan available in the American Health Insurance Style. *You are Global – Seguro Saúde em Viagem”isValenteRochaproperty for international medical coverage plans.

Safe On-line Shopping

The whole process of your international medical coverage shopping can be on-line, throughout the internet. In this channel, you can have the quotation you need, revise the offered coverages, fulfill your personal data and send, directly to the enterprise, your international medical coverage request. We know that, due to the nature of our solutions, some personal information is confidential. Then, the entire information submitting process is confidential and all personal information is sent directly to underwriting department which is under a severe clause of confidentiality regarding our clients` information. All this provides you peace of mind. All the shopping system is secured by a safe site and digital certificate, which ensures the online shopping. In other words, we are ready for you to have what is the top of the best medical coverage available, aligned with an customer service and underwriting processes with are modern, safe and dynamic.

Company: You Are Global

Address: R.Lima Barreto, 442, Curitba, Brazil

Phone: +55 41 3527 2680

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Web: www.youareglobal.com

 

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Expatriate Health Insurance

Compare Expatriate Health and Medical Insurance Plans, Coverage, Quotes and Companies, with iPMI Magazine. iPMIM represents leading providers of expat medical, health and travel insurance plans. Find the right and most appropriate Expatriate Health Insurance for overseas travel, global mobility and relocation