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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

APRIL International Care Announces Enhancements To MyHEALTH Hong Kong Private International Health Insurance Policy Range

APRIL International Care has announced significant improvements to its MyHEALTH Hong Kong private international health insurance policy range, in particular to its “Elite” module. The changes took effect from the start of December.

The annual limit for the Elite module for in-hospital care has been increased from US $3.0 million to $4.5 million and a near doubling of check-up and vaccination cover has been added, giving a total benefit now of US $2,000, all with no change to policy premiums. In addition, new adult and child health benefits have been added and are now fully covered for Elite policyholders.

Another innovative introduction is adult and child preventative health screenings, which are particularly relevant in the current climate, tapping into the view that early diagnosis is increasingly important for many healthcare issues. April is now one of a very small number of insurers to add mammography, pap smear tests and prostate screening as part of its standard hospital and surgery benefit. These important enhancements come on top of April’s existing medical check-up and vaccinations package.

Lastly, in a move designed to address the rising importance of mental health care, for Extensive and Elite policyholders, April has now enhanced and increased cover for mental health support.

Commenting on the introducing of the new enhancements, Regional Head of Business Development Alistair Dickman said, “April International Care has a reputation for anticipating changing market needs and constantly improving the range of benefits available to policyholders. This year’s changes continue that trend. Our Elite policy now offers a blend of premium benefits and competitive pricing, which we believe makes APRIL International Care a very attractive choice.  For many conditions now, early diagnosis brings genuine benefits and faster recovery times. Our enhanced benefits open up that possibility, bringing peace of mind to clients.”

APRIL International Care are specialists in designing and delivering flexible international private health insurance solutions for individuals, families and companies.

For more information, contact APRIL International Care, or visit www.april-international.com.

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

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

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

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

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

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Employers Need To Consider Wellbeing Of Overseas Employees’ Dependants

Research has shown that moving to a new home during childhood can be damaging to health and wellbeing, including mental health later in life. The Health Insurance Group believes this adds weight to its view that employers need to consider an employee’s family and dependants - as well as the employee themselves - when providing support during a placement overseas.

Sarah Dennis head of international, The Health Insurance Group says, “For World Mental Health Day we want to remind employers of the importance of looking after the health and wellbeing of the children and families of the employees they send overseas. Expat positions offer great opportunities to see and live in another country, with proper support and care it can be a really positive experience for everyone. Looking after dependants is as important to a successful assignment as it is looking after the employee.”

Highest risks for adolescents who relocate

The long-term study*, which followed 1.4m Danish children into adulthood, showed an increased likelihood of adverse outcomes in adulthood for individuals who had moved home in childhood, with the highest risks being among those who had moved frequently in early adolescence.

What can employers do to mitigate the risks?

Employers can help to mitigate these risks for employees and their families by looking at preventative measures to support mental and physical wellbeing at every stage of a move and return from an overseas assignment. This makes sound business sense too, as preventing any issues for both the employee and their dependants supports productivity and creates an environment where everyone gets the most out of an assignment.

5 Ways to Wellbeing

The mental health charity Mind** suggests ‘5 Ways to Wellbeing’, and The Health Insurance Group has shown how employers could use this as a framework for thinking about the best ways to support the family and encourage self-care. The five ways are Connect, Be Active, Take Notice, Learn and Give.

In the context of caring for families overseas, the following are examples of how employers can support the wellbeing of staff and their dependants.

  • Connect – Encourage employees and family members to join local expat groups and local clubs, organise an expat buddy scheme so families can meet up with each other and share experiences including playdates for children of similar ages; advertise and encourage the use of employee assistance programme (EAP) support lines.
  • Be Active – Organise sporting events and encourage employees to get the whole family engaged in active pastimes, offer corporate gym discounts.
  • Take Notice – Provide access to mindfulness workshops or classes.
  • Learn – Provide opportunities for learning about the host culture and local language.
  • Give – Organise family-orientated fundraisers for local charities and volunteering opportunities that could include supporting other relocating employees as they arrive.

 

 

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Bupa Appoints New Head Of SME Intermediary Development

Bupa is to appoint Iain McMillan as Head of SME Intermediary Development.  Iain takes on the newly created role from 2nd October as part of Bupa’s UK Insurance business.

Iain will be responsible for leading Bupa’s growth in the SME market through intermediaries.  Jason Morris, Head of SME Intermediary Sales and Niall Howat, Head of SME Client Management will report to Iain in his new role.

Having worked in the health insurance and wellbeing markets for over 20 years Iain brings a wealth of experience to his new role.  In 2008 he left Standard Life Healthcare as Sales and Marketing Director to join AXA PPP healthcare, there he held a number of roles which focused on the SME sector.  These included, Director of Intermediary Development through to most recently, Director of SME. 

Iain McMillan, incoming Head of SME Intermediary Development at Bupa said, "I am delighted to be joining the UK's largest health insurer at such an exciting time, and look forward to working closely with Bupa's intermediary partners."

Iain McMillan joins the Bupa Business-to-Business (B2B) Sales leadership team reporting to Patrick Watt, Business Sales Director at the start of October.  The role compliments Patrick’s wider remit including SME and corporate businesses, through to client management and business development.

Patrick Watt, Business Sales Director at Bupa UK said, “I’m pleased to announce that Iain is joining the Bupa B2B sales leadership team.  His breadth of experience is important at a time when there are great opportunities to grow our market share within the SME market.

We look forward to working with him as he leads our SME growth through intermediaries as part of our market development.” 

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nib Responds To The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC)

nib holdings (nib) has been advised by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) that it intends to institute proceedings in the Federal Court against nib's Australian residents health fund primarily in relation to an alleged failure in August 2015 to communicate to customers limited changes made to its MediGap Scheme.

MediGap is a scheme in which doctors and other in-hospital medical providers can elect to receive a higher level of fee reimbursement subject to there being no "out of pocket" expense for the patient.

nib rejects the position being taken by the ACCC and believes it has acted lawfully and ethically. nib has worked collaboratively with the ACCC throughout its investigation and has already taken steps to redress many ACCC concerns.

nib is committed to acting in the best interests of our customers and will strenuously defend the claims made by the ACCC in the Federal Court. One of the objectives behind the limited changes made to MediGap was principally about improved clinical practice. As this matter is now before the Federal Court, we are unable to make any further comment on the allegations.

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Cigna Reports Third Quarter 2016 Results Led By Strong Commercial Health Care Performance

Cigna Corporation (NYSE: CI) has reported third quarter 2016 results with solid revenue and earnings, led by strong performance in Commercial health care.

Total revenues in the quarter were $9.9 billion, an increase of 5% over third quarter 2015, driven by continued growth in Cigna's targeted customer segments.

For the third quarter of 2016, shareholders’ net income was $456 million, or $1.76 per share, compared with $547 million, or $2.10 per share, for the third quarter of 2015. Third quarter 2016 shareholders’ net income included special item1 charges of $71 million after-tax, or $0.28 per share, for transaction costs related to Cigna’s proposed combination with Anthem and a litigation matter, while third quarter 2015 shareholders’ net income included $29 million after-tax, or $0.11 per share, of transaction costs related to Cigna’s proposed combination with Anthem.

Cigna's adjusted income from operations for the third quarter of 2016 was $503 million, or $1.94 per share, compared with $593 million, or $2.28 per share, for the third quarter of 2015.

“Cigna’s third quarter financial results are driven by our focus on affordable solutions and quality health outcomes for our customers and clients,” said David M. Cordani, President and Chief Executive Officer. “As we look to 2017, our commitment to delivering sustained value through innovative programs provides us with attractive growth opportunities in each of our businesses.”

 

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Medical Treatment Costs In Asia September 2016

The latest news from Pacific Cross Insurance looks at medical costs in Asia, September 2016.

Pacific Cross Insurance brings over 65 years of experience in the health and travel insurance industry to clients throughout Asia. Pacific Cross Insurance is a leading provider of health, personal accident and travel insurance products and services to people and organizations that live and work internationally.

Pacific Cross Insurance is part of Pacific Cross International, a group with operating entities in Hong Kong, the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia and Cambodia.

Pacific Cross International currently provides health insurance to over 75,000+ people, representing over 50 nationalities living in over 40 countries. In 2014 the group provided travel insurance for 2,642,514 travel days for over 200,000+ people. 

Over the past 25+ years Pacific Cross Insurance has expanded to offer worldwide coverage for Health Insurance, Dental Insurance, Personal Accident Insurance, Travel Insurance and various tailor-made policies for health and accidental risk for employees of businesses that operate in Asia.

Started in June 1990, Pacific Cross Insurance contracts various administrative services to third party administrators located in Hong Kong, Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia and Vietnam.

Pacific Cross Insurance maintains a wide Direct Billing Network of hospitals, clinics and medical facilities across the Asia Pacific region.

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Aetna International Declared Runner-Up In ‘Employee Benefits Services Provider Of The Year’ Award

Aetna International (www.aetnainternational.com), a leading health care insurer, is declared a runner-up of the “Employee Benefits Services Provider of the Year” award at the Expatriate Management and Mobility Awards (EMMA) in Singapore.

Aetna International was selected as the runner-up after a rigorous study from a panel of global mobility experts from established multinational corporations, including Morgan Stanley, Boeing and Accenture.

FEM Events Director, Sally Martin, said tonight, “Our judges were very impressed with the case studies Aetna presented which showed very distinct and measurable results of how they have helped their customers manage their health plans. Aetna International is a deserving runner-up of the ‘Employee Benefits Services Provider of the Year’ Award.”

Derek Goldberg, managing director of Aetna International for Southeast Asia and Hong Kong, said, “We are delighted with our win and we are happy we’re on the right track of providing customers what they need. We will continue to work closely with our customers to understand their needs and make sure we continue to meet and exceed these.”

As a global health care service provider, Aetna International is focusing its efforts on building a healthier world through better, simpler access to quality and affordable care.

After acquiring a competitor in 2014, the group had two product portfolios, two system platforms and two service models. It needed to simplify this by consolidating into a single operating model while ensuring its product offerings would sufficiently meet the needs of its expanded customer base.

It has also leveraged on technology to streamline its claims processing as well as using it for customer communication.

The results are reflected in its claims experience; with a strong focus on speed and accuracy, offering customers assurance, which is a key element of what a benefits provider should do.

The judges said Aetna International had placed much emphasis on engaging with its customers, which included initiatives such as providing round-the-clock customer service and ensuring that most of its customers’ needs are resolved in the first call.

Customers appreciate this new focus, which reflects an exceptional satisfaction rating of Aetna’s service.

The event was held at the Orchard Hotel, located in the heart of Singapore’s busy Orchard Road area, and was well attended by industry leaders from the global mobility industry.

International health and medical insurance news

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Irish Customers To Benefit As New Health Insurer Will Offer Market Leading Solutions

Irish Life Group Limited, the Irish subsidiary of Great-West Lifeco Inc., has announced that it has reached agreements to acquire Aviva Health, an Irish health insurance company, and to increase its 49 per cent interest in GloHealth to a 100 per cent ownership interest.

It also announced that Aviva Health and GloHealth will combine to become one of the leading providers in the Irish health insurance market. Financing for the acquisitions will be provided internally and terms will not be disclosed.

"As Ireland's leading provider of life insurance, pensions and investments, Irish Life will further grow its business by now providing market leading health insurance solutions," said Paul Mahon, President and Chief Executive Officer of Great-West Lifeco. "This transaction demonstrates our commitment to Ireland, and to our ongoing growth and expansion there."

Mahon said the new combined businesses will be a significant new force in the Irish health insurance market and provide a broad selection of health care insurance products to a customer base of more than 400,000 customers. He noted that Irish Life's new venture will also benefit from access to global expertise as part of Great-West Lifeco's group of companies, and in particular, from its leading health insurance business in Canada.

The transaction, which is subject to normal regulatory approvals, is expected to be completed in the third quarter of 2016. The transaction is not expected to have a material impact on Great-West Lifeco's financial results.

 

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HCF Announces Annual Average Premiums And Commits To Passing On Prosthesis Savings

HCF, Australia’s largest not-for-profit private health insurer, has announced an average premium change of 5.42% for its members. The premium change, which will take effect on 1 April 2016, is below the industry average of 5.59% released by the Minister for Health, Sussan Ley and is also HCF’s lowest premium change in seven years.

HCF’s Managing Director, Shaun Larkin, said the fund works hard every year to keep premium increases to an absolute minimum, and to maintain affordable health insurance for all Australians whilst also maintaining the value of necessary benefits.

“As a not-for-profit insurer, our members’ best interests are at the core of everything we do. HCF’s profits go back into more benefits for our members, not to shareholders, and we will continue to champion the important cause of keeping health insurance viable for Australians.

“The combination of more Australians using the health system and advances in medical technology is driving premiums up each year. This increase in use of services and rising costs affect the public sector as well as the private sector. This is why we will continue to lobby for systemic changes across the whole health system, not just private health insurance.

“We will continue to work hard to shield our members from this cost inflation and to have a positive and meaningful impact on the future cost of health care. As a strong lobbyist for prosthesis reform, we have committed to pass on 100% of savings to members, and look forward to the Minister’s implementation of this reform in the near future. HCF also continues to support research and analysis on the safety and quality of our hospitals, to ensure the highest quality standard of health care for our members and all Australians.”

More than 1.5 million members across Australia, HCF continues to perform well and remain competitive in the industry, without making detrimental changes to its policies and benefits. In the 2015 financial year HCF paid out $2.1 billion in benefits to its members, a $57 million (9%) increase on the previous financial year, and significantly higher than the average premium increase passed on to members.

Mr Larkin continued, “Last financial year, we paid out over 90.4 cents of every dollar of contributions back to members as benefits - the most of any major private health insurer. We continue to work to keep our premiums at the lowest possible rate, whilst still maintaining the best quality, long-term value offering in our products. Our average premium increase for 2016 is actually lower than our projected rate rise submitted to the Government last year. We will continue to look at ways to give back to our members, while still making sure we can pay out claims and provide the first-rate level of cover our members expect.”

Key facts and figures:

  • Each year, the Australian Government reduces its Federal Government Rebate on Private Health Insurance. The premium rate increase is also partly driven by this continued erosion of this Rebate.
  • Since 2011, the cost of hospital, medical and prosthesis benefit payments have increased by more than 50 per cent, whereas HCF’s average private health premium has increased by only 36 per cent in the same timeframe.
  • According to HCF, a number of Australians are unaware of the potential high costs associated with hospital admissions. In the 12-month period ending 31 December 2015, HCF funded almost 31,000 hospital admissions for which the benefit paid exceeded $10,000 each. There were also 136 benefit payments made that exceeded $50,000 in value, and for which the member was only in hospital for one night or less. The total high-cost admissions in the period was $639 million. (See 29 February media release)
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