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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

HX Global Opens New Office In Chicago As Part Of US Expansion Plan

HX Global, (part of the Healix Group), has announced that its newest Sales & Client Management office, just opened in the Chicago suburb of Oak Brook, IL, is to be run by David Evans, Senior Vice President. 

Gregory Cain, President of HX Global explains, “Our explosive growth in the US market meant that we needed another regional office to service our clients and Chicago is the ideal location.  David joins us with a long, successful track record of consultative relationships within the medical and security assistance industry and will be responsible for sales and client relations in the Central US.”

HX Global® is the US subsidiary of Healix International Ltd, a global leader in international medical, security and travel assistance services. Working on behalf of multinational corporations, governments, NGOs and insurers, Healix is entrusted to look after the welfare of millions of expatriates, travellers and local nationals in every country of the world, 24 hours a day.

For more information, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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International Private Medical Insurance VS Local Health Insurance

In the most recent International Private Medical Insurance Magazine Executive Round Table business forum, we speak with leading C-Level Executives about the major differences between international and local health insurance plans.

 

As expatriate hot spots around the world continue to mandate health insurance cover for expat employees, under various visa and employment laws, questions from the business community continue to be raised. Issues focus around how new laws will help and assist expatriates and what levels of cover they may expect from local health insurance plans.

 

 

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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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Pacific Prime Wins Top Award From Bupa For The Third Year In A Row

Pacific Prime is proud to announce that, for the third year in a row, Bupa Global has awarded Pacific Prime with top honors. This year, the company was presented with the Individual Sales Top Producer 2014 award. Of the 5,000+ agents worldwide, Pacific Prime was selected for this prestigious achievement which was presented by Bupa Global’s Managing Director Robert Lang, at the annual ceremony held in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Upon receiving the award, Neil Raymond, MD at Pacific Prime, commented, “As a company, we have had a strong and successful relationship with Bupa Global. Throughout our long partnership, we have found that Bupa Global has been working hard to continually improve customer service and plans. This strong commitment to both our clients and the industry means that they are always an insurer we consider when helping our clients find the best coverage available.”

For more than 11 years, Pacific Prime has worked with Bupa Global, and has since been named both its top global distributor and individual sales top producer. This is a reflection of the continued development of the relationship between Bupa Global and Pacific Prime.

Rainbow Pan, General Manager, Bupa Global Greater China commented “Pacific Prime are hugely deserving winners of the Bupa Global Individual Sales Top Producer 2014 award. Their team has delivered excellent service for their customers in individual plans as well as group policies. Bupa Global is proud to call them partners and we’re delighted to name them one of our top producers for a third successive year”.

On 2015 and the future, Raymond commented, “We are increasingly on the lookout for insurers we can trust. Despite the seemingly shrinking market - since 2013 several international insurers have pulled out of the market - there are a number of quality providers out there like Bupa Global who have not only strong portfolios but also plans customers can rely on. We are keen to see what the coming year brings for both companies and competing for their top individual distributor award next year!”

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Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas and Community Partners Impact More Than 2.9 Million Children in 2014, Reaching More Than 9 Million Overall

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas (BCBSTX), partnering with more than 40 community organizations, last year improved the health and wellness of more than 2.9 million children in the communities it serves through its Healthy Kids, Healthy Families® initiative. In the four years since its inception, the initiative has served more than 9 million children in Texas.

Additionally, the company had more than 1,600 employees volunteer nearly 30,000 hours to community organizations statewide. As a result of this volunteer time, BCBSTX's matching dollar program generated an additional $88,000, which was donated to non-profit organizations across the state.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas' just-released Social Responsibility Report, which can be found online at www.bcbstx2014srr.com, demonstrates how the company made significant gains in the number of children impacted through its Healthy Kids, Healthy Families initiative by targeting its community investments in the areas of nutrition, physical activity, disease prevention and management, and supporting safe environments.

"We align our community investments with our business objectives and partner with organizations that allow us to address the most pressing health needs in our local communities," said Dr. Dan McCoy, chief medical officer, BCBSTX. "These investments work hard to decrease the incidence of illness and growing chronic trends such as diabetes and childhood obesity."

In an effort to help create a healthier Texas, BCBSTX committed to a gift of $5 million to support the implementation of Project Blue Zones Fort Worth, collaborating with leadership from the City of Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce and Texas Health Resources. Blue Zones are areas where people live measurably longer, happier lives with lower rates of chronic disease and a higher quality of life. The research behind Blue Zones, coupled with an eight-year worldwide longevity study, has been used to develop lifestyle management tools and programs that help transform communities. The collaborative approach to Blue Zones engages the business community, government entities, nonprofits, schools, media and citizens in a unifying campaign that drives permanent changes to encourage individuals to choose healthy options.

Another one of BCBSTX's most significant social investments was the decision to offer health insurance through the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in every community it serves. During this time of historic expansion of access to health care, the company enabled more than 4.4 million health care services to our retail members, including mammograms and wellness visits, to many individuals receiving health care coverage for the first time.

As in past years, the 2014 report was produced digitally, reducing environmental impact and enabling a more dynamic presentation of community partnerships through videos and social media integration. Readers can instantly share and comment on a specific page of the report through Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter or email the entire report to family, friends and colleagues.

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Friends Life adds Doctor Online to Group Critical Illness & Group Cancer Cover

Friends Life is now offering Group Protection customers Doctor Online as part of its Best Doctors® service. Doctor Online is available to all Group Critical Illness and Group Cancer Cover scheme members and their families.

The service allows members to send medical questions, simply and confidentially, to an approved GP via a secure online portal. Through the Doctor Online service members will receive personalised answers to non-urgent medical questions within 72 hours.

All of the doctors are UK based and have been carefully selected to ensure they give the most reliable and up-to-date medical information. They are able to provide advice if a member has a medical question that is worrying them, or simply if they would like some reassurance about something their own doctor has discussed with them.

Doctor Online is intended to provide useful general information on health care issues related to different specialties.

Anna Spender, Head of Group Protection Proposition at Friends Life, said, “The launch of Doctor Online complements the existing Best Doctors services already offered by Friends Life, which allows members to access expert medical advice and information, whatever their concern. Whether searching for an expert second medical opinion to review a diagnosis and treatment regime, or simply having questions and concerns that they would like to have answered by an expert, Best Doctors is available to help scheme members. Doctor Online is not designed to replace visiting your GP but it could offer members a convenient way of getting some peace of mind about a medical issue which has been worrying them. For businesses, it means employees could avoid taking time off work to visit their GP because they can get advice sent straight to their inbox. Friends Life has formed a fantastic partnership with Best Doctors and we’re very pleased to be adding Doctor Online to our Group Critical Illness and Group Cancer Cover propositions.”

Dave Marcus, Director of Client Management at Best Doctors, said, “The volume of health information on the internet is huge and varies widely in terms of quality and reliability.  It can be a stressful process attempting to access material that is both trustworthy and relevant, and the search process itself can be both confusing and time consuming. Best Doctors is committed to offering the best possible medical services to our members and their families, and we are delighted to be extending the services we provide to Friends Life customers with the addition of Doctor Online.”

Best Doctors is a non-contractual service that may be withdrawn by us at any time without notice.

 

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Aetna and the Value Care Alliance Reach New Accountable Care Agreement

Aetna (NYSE: AET) and the Value Care Alliance (VCA), the state’s largest collaboration of independent health care providers, today announced a new accountable care agreement that is designed to improve the coordination and delivery of patient care to Aetna members in Connecticut.

The VCA comprises seven member hospitals and their affiliated physicians in Fairfield, Litchfield, Middlesex, New Haven and New London counties. The hospitals are: Griffin Hospital in Derby; Lawrence + Memorial Hospital in New London; Middlesex Hospital in Middletown; St. Vincent’s Medical Center in Bridgeport; and the Western Connecticut Health Network which comprises Danbury Hospital, New Milford Hospital and Norwalk Hospital.

Aetna members who receive care from VCA providers will experience more coordinated care, and will benefit from the improved flow of information to treating physicians in the ACO, particularly those patients with chronic or complex conditions. Aetna nurse case managers will work with the ACO to assist in care coordination, outreach and follow-up services.

“This agreement builds upon a strong foundation of collaboration already at work within the VCA and will enable Aetna to add support for the care delivered by the VCA to our members,” said Mark Santos, president, Aetna – New England. “Aetna will work closely with VCA physicians and member hospitals to find opportunities to share health information to improve care for Aetna members, close gaps in care and reduce waste. We are creating a loop of improved information to drive better care.”

Covered under the new agreement are more than 40,000 Aetna commercial health plan members who primarily received care from participating VCA providers over the last 24 months, as well as those who seek care from VCA providers following the start of the agreement. While health plan benefits will not change, members can expect a more highly coordinated, personalized level of care. To support these members, care coordinators at VCA member hospitals will complement Aetna’s care management programs in an effort to lower the number of days patients spend hospitalized and improve member health outcomes.

“This innovative approach to the delivery of health care strengthens our community’s access to affordable, high-quality care,” said John M. Murphy, MD, president and CEO of the three-hospital Western Connecticut Health Network. “The real beneficiaries of this agreement are the people we serve every day in our communities. This partnership will produce tangible and meaningful improvements in our ability to coordinate care, which is why we are so pleased to be a part of this progressive collaboration.”

This agreement includes a shared savings model that rewards VCA providers for meeting certain quality and efficiency benchmarks that have been proven to improve the health of members and reduce healthcare costs, such as:

  • The percentage of Aetna members who receive recommended preventive care and screenings;
  • Better management of patients with chronic conditions such as diabetes and heart failure;
  • Reductions in avoidable hospital readmission rates; and
  • Reductions in unnecessary emergency room visits.

“The focus of the VCA is to provide high-quality and low-cost health care including effective prevention and wellness services that benefit Connecticut consumers, employers and health plans,” said Vincent Capece, CEO of Middlesex Hospital. “Our accountable care partnership with Aetna will enhance our ability to provide care that is patient-centered, high-quality and efficient in a more coordinated manner.”

Aetna is working with health care organizations nationwide to develop products and services that support value-driven, patient-centered care for all health care consumers. Nationally today, about 3.2 million Aetna members receive care from doctors committed to the value-based approach, with 28 percent of Aetna claims payments going to doctors and providers who practice value-based care. Aetna has committed to increasing that number to 50 percent by 2018 and 75 percent by 2020. This accountable care agreement with the VCA is in keeping with the transition to more value-based care arrangements.

“The VCA has evolved quickly since its founding in 2014, with its members working collaboratively to enhance quality and reduce cost by identifying and sharing best practices and to develop the capabilities necessary to effectively manage the health of populations,” said Patrick Charmel, chairman of the VCA and president and CEO of Griffin Hospital. “We welcome Aetna’s industry-leading effort to motivate, facilitate and reward the delivery of high-value, patient-centered health care. We also appreciate Aetna’s accountable care partnership and the confidence in, and support of, the Value Care Alliance that it demonstrates.

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15 Days Remain Before Tax Filing Deadline: CMS Continues To Raise Awareness About The Intersection Of Taxes And Health Care

With the tax filing deadline two weeks away, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is continuing to help consumers understand how health coverage and taxes intersect. This year’s tax season is the first time individuals and families will be asked to provide basic information regarding their health coverage on their tax returns. While the vast majority of tax filers – about three quarters – will just need to check a box on their tax return indicating they had health coverage in 2014, people who have coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplaces, or did not enroll in coverage, will take different steps that will be a part of the tax filing process starting this year.

“Our focus is squarely on increasing public awareness about this tax season,” said Kevin Counihan, CEO of the Health Insurance Marketplaces. “We’re making sure Marketplace consumers have the information they need to file their tax returns and that those who went without health coverage last year are aware of the requirement to have coverage or qualify for an exemption. Those who don’t qualify for an exemption and remain uninsured and did not understand the implications of the requirement to have insurance will need to pay a fee but also will have a final opportunity to enroll in affordable health coverage for the remainder of the year. As of March 29, about 36,000 consumers have selected plans using the tax special enrollment period in States using the Federally-facilitated Marketplace. Eligible consumers still have time to sign up and we want to encourage all those taxpayers who qualify to consider visiting HealthCare.gov to shop for affordable coverage.”

Tax filers who had health coverage through their employer, Medicare, Medicaid, veterans care or other health coverage that qualifies as “minimum essential coverage” will only need to check a box when they file their tax returns to indicate that they had coverage for all of 2014. The remaining taxpayers – about one-quarter -- will take different steps, including:

  • Reconciling Premium Tax Credits: Taxpayers who enrolled in coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplaces will use a tax statement from their Marketplace called a Form 1095-A to reconcile any tax credits they benefitted from to ensure that they receive the correct amount. Reconciling tax credits is similar to the reconciliation process for taxes withheld from wages during the year – consumers receive a larger or smaller tax refund based on whether the appropriate amount of taxes were withheld based on the tax filers actual income. The Department of the Treasury expects that the overwhelming majority of these taxpayers will still receive a tax refund.

We have provided updated 1095-A Forms to the vast majority of consumers who were notified that they needed a corrected form. There are a small number of forms that will require additional casework – including about 1,500 forms out of the 820,000 forms that had an incorrect second lowest cost silver plan. CMS continues to research requests for corrections or clarifications as they come in from consumers. Any Marketplace consumer concerned about the status of their updated form should contact the Marketplace Call Center at 1-800-318-2596.

  • Paying the Fee: People who did not have health coverage in 2014 and do not qualify for an exemption will have to pay a fee – generally $95 per adult or 1 percent of their household income, whichever is greater – when they file their taxes this year. The fee increases to $325 per adult or 2 percent of income for 2015. CMS is providing a special enrollment period to allow individuals and families who are subject to the fee when they file their taxes with an opportunity to purchase health insurance coverage for the remainder of 2015. Since March 15, when the tax special enrollment period (SEP) began, about 36,000 consumers have used the tax special enrollment period through HealthCare.gov to select a plan. 

The tax special enrollment period began on March 15, 2015 and will end at 11:59 pm EDT on April 30, 2015 for people living in States with a Federally-facilitated Marketplace. Those eligible for this special enrollment period must attest to all of the following:

  1. They did not know that the health care law required them and their household to have health coverage, or they didn’t understand how that requirement would affect their family. 
  2. They owe the fee for not having coverage for one or more months in 2014.
  3. They are not already enrolled in 2015 coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace or outside of the Marketplace.

Some State-based Marketplaces are offering such special enrollment periods as well. Check with your State for information. If consumers do not purchase coverage for remainder of 2015 during this special enrollment period, they may have to pay a fee again next year for remaining months in this year when they file their 2015 income taxes. (Read more about the special enrollment period.)

Consumers seeking to take advantage of the can find out if they are eligible by visitinghttps://www.HealthCare.gov/get-coverage. Consumers can find local help at: LocalHelp.HealthCare.gov or call the Federally-facilitated Marketplace Call Center at 1-800-318-2596. TTY users should call 1-855-889-4325.

The administration is committed to providing the information and tools tax filers need to understand the new requirements. If consumers have questions about their taxes, need to download forms, or want to learn more about the fee for not having insurance, they can find information and resources at www.HealthCare.gov/Taxes orhttp://www.IRS.gov. Consumers can also call the Marketplace Call Center at 1-800-318-2596. Consumers who need assistance filing their taxes can visit IRS.gov/VITA or IRS.gov/FreeFile.

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Group Risk Insurance Continues To Show Strong Growth In The UK

  • 200,000 more people received life and disability insurance cover arranged by their employers in 2014, adding to the very strong growth of 300,000 new people last year;
  • Since 2010, the number of people insured under group risk schemes has grown by almost 1.25 million;
  • Good premium growth of 7.9% across all lines; 8.9% increase in in-force death benefit premiums, 6% in long-term disability income premiums, and 7.8% increase in critical illness premiums;
  • Excepted group life premiums grew 27.9% and benefits by 29.4%, reflecting the response to changes to the lifetime allowance;
  • Number of new schemes grew as more employers set up excepted group life policies and critical illness schemes, but long-term disability income schemes continue to decline.

The excellent growth in the UK group risk insurance market continued in 2014, according to Swiss Re'sGroup Watch 2015. Premiums were higher in all product areas, with an overall growth of close to 8% for the year. Importantly, over 200,000 more people are now benefitting from life and disability insurance products arranged through their employer. The report finds that the market is resilient, but that there are still challenges, most particularly where the number of new to market disability income schemes remains disappointing.

"These are good figures for the group risk market – but they hide the fact that this industry is at a crossroads," says Russell Higginbotham, CEO Swiss Re UK & Ireland. "The welfare state cannot continue to fund at current levels and the next Government will have to make cuts to the welfare budget. Insurers need to be ready to step up and adapt to that new reality. If we don't, we may find existing models under threat in the same way that reforms have reconfigured pension provision."  

Group Watch 2015 reported steady growth across most lines of products. Premium growth was again very strong in the group death benefits sector with GBP 1.25 billion in-force premiums reported for 2014. This strong growth continues the trend from previous years, and is the first time the market recorded annual growth in excessive of GBP 100 million.

As in 2013, excepted group life premiums performed very well, with premiums growing by 27.9%. The move reflects the reduction of the lifetime allowance, which imposes a cap on pension savings of GBP 1.25 million. With the limit set to be reduced further to GBP 1.0 million from April 2016, employers are likely to continue preferring the simplicity this option presents.

The number of people insured for long-term disability income protection through their employers increased by 1.9% for 2014, building on the important milestone of two million people insured which was reached in 2013. In-force premiums were up 6.0% to nearly GBP 634 million. There was a decrease in the number of in-force schemes of 0.4% to 17,119.

Critical illness covers again experienced strong growth. In 2014, almost 475,000 people were covered, an increase of more than 90,000. In-force premiums increased by 7.8% and sums assured by 15.2%. The number of in-force schemes increased by 7.0% to 2,840.

"The results show solid growth once again but we need to decide if we want to carry on as we have done for the past few years or offer something more ambitious," says Ron Wheatcroft, author of the report.  "Auto-enrolment could be the way to increase coverage if we are unable to deliver growth to begin to fill the gap which will be left by declining state provision. Employees tell us that they would value greater workplace access to products and services but, somehow, this hasn't translated to more coverage."

Key figures from Group Watch 2015 (in GBP millions)

Total In-force premiums at end of year

Product Type

2009

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

Death benefits

897

919

956

1,055

1,149

1,250

Long-term disability income

568

517

518

563

598

634

Critical Illness

48

50

55

60

67

73

Group Watch 2015 analyses and summarises group risk business results at the end of 2014. It also uses a qualitative survey among 34 insurers and intermediaries in the group risk market, conducted in February 2015.

The Swiss Re Group is a leading wholesale provider of reinsurance, insurance and other insurance-based forms of risk transfer. Dealing direct and working through brokers, its global client base consists of insurance companies, mid-to-large-sized corporations and public sector clients. From standard products to tailor-made coverage across all lines of business, Swiss Re deploys its capital strength, expertise and innovation power to enable the risk-taking upon which enterprise and progress in society depend. Founded in Zurich, Switzerland, in 1863, Swiss Re serves clients through a network of over 60 offices globally and is rated "AA-" by Standard & Poor's, "Aa3" by Moody's and "A+" by A.M. Best. Registered shares in the Swiss Re Group holding company, Swiss Re Ltd, are listed on the SIX Swiss Exchange and trade under the symbol SREN. For more information about Swiss Re Group, please visit: www.swissre.com or follow us on Twitter @SwissRe.

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Capita Healthcare Decisions Partner With Medibank To Deliver Safe, Consistent Health Advice For Australians

Capita announces a partnership with Medibank, a healthcare company providing private health insurance and health solutions to almost 3.9 million people throughout Australia and New Zealand.

As part of a wider relationship, Capita will provide Medibank with its market leading TeleGuides content set, which Medibank have localised for the Australian market. The localisation of the content means Medibank can offer the population tailored, appropriate care advice - facilitating access to the best health advice for service users wherever they may be located.

This will support a team of clinicians to deliver safe, consistent health advice to service users.

The clinical content provided by Capita has been through a robust clinical governance process, and Capita have experience of over 85 million patient encounters worldwide without clinical incident - including powering the NHSDirect helpline in the UK.

The content is written and customised through Capita's Decision Management Software (DMS) composer. This allows users to both create clinical content and decision pathways, and to present them either by phone, face to face, or on the web and mobile. Users can create and edit content quickly, giving the ability to safely and efficiently implement new and innovative solutions that reflect the latest clinical practice. The highly scalable software has the capability to integrate with any other technology, such as CRM systems, through the open application programming interface (API).  

Richard Atkins, general manager, international, comments on the new partnership:

"Capita Healthcare Decisions has had a presence in Australasia for a number of years. However, the opportunity to now partner with Medibank across the region and into Asia on multi-national, multi-channel decision support services is really exciting. Bringing together our market leading software and clinical content together with Medibank's longstanding track record in delivering a range of clinical services provides a catalyst for new health models of care for citizens in the region."

Dermot Roche, Medibank general manager of telephone, online & population health said:

"The new partnership with Capita will add to Medibank's reputation of providing innovative health solutions to both the members of Medibank and the broader Australian population who access health advice when they need it most.  

"We are delighted to partner with Capita and look forward to working with them to deliver appropriate, safe and efficient healthcare advice to Australians," said Mr Roche.

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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