The NatWest International Personal Banking Quality of Life Report is a global study of British expatriates’ opinion and attitudes to living abroad. The Report, now in its sixth year, examines attitudes to lifestyle, employment and financial status and is conducted in conjunction with the Centre of Future Studies among 1,800 British expats.
Find out more here >
Around half of expats probably do not have sufficient international private medical insurance and risk the prospect of incurring heavy costs if they become ill or suffer a serious accident.
Industry data shows the percentage of expats who hold international private medical insurance standing at around the 50% mark.
Although international private medical insurance provides real peace of mind for those concerned about long term or chronic illnesses which may strike, this kind of insurance is equally relevant for helping expats who may have been injured in a car accident or who might be struck down with an unexpected illness.
More often than not, the cost of a course of medical treatment is unknown. International medical insurance premiums vary enormously and reflect medical costs. They are made up of many elements, not just the cost of the drugs, treatments and the wage of the specialist, local surgeon or doctor. It is also a fact that medical inflation tends to run at higher levels that normal consumer inflation, and inevitably, the cost of carrying out a procedure will be reflected in the premium rates.
As the party conference season gets underway, the NHS – and how to pay for healthcare – will be in the political headlines again reports the Health Insurance & protection Daily
Earlier this week, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg told the Liberal Democrat conference that he would fight to ring-fence the NHS budget against any other public spending cuts. And ahead of its own conference, UKIP has unveiled its own proposals for saving the NHS budget – compulsory medical insurance for migrants who do not qualify for free care on the health service.
The international private medical insurance (iPMI) market has seen unsustainable premium rises in recent years. But while keeping a lid on international inflation is even more challenging than in the domestic PMI sector, across the industry insurers are working hard to control costs to ensure that cover remains affordable for policyholders the world over reports the Health Insurance & Protection Daily.
As an industry, we need to make sure that we are always paying the most competitive price for medical treatment from providers, without compromising the quality of care for policyholders. Prices for medical treatment can vary widely, even within a single jurisdiction, dependant on the approach and business model of the provider.
It’s also worth noting that the most expensive is not necessarily the best – particularly in emerging economies. Some expensive Western-style hospitals have a stranglehold on advertising and marketing budgets – but their prices are high and their clinical outcomes are not always the best. The key to managing cost is to build a real understanding of which hospitals and clinics deliver the most cost effective, high quality outcomes and to point members in their direction.
Negotiating agreed rates with healthcare providers is another essential tool in managing cost. Clearly in a global business with hundreds and thousands of medical providers, it is not possible to reach pricing agreements with every one. In each region, however, there are one or two major hospitals and hospitals which are frequently used by expatriates, where set prices can be agreed.
Education of individual and corporate clients also has an important role to play in cost containment. Policyholders need to know exactly what benefits their cover entitles them to and which treatment centres they can access.
Every employer will have their own approach to managing the medical claims process. The key is not to stop staff making a claim when it is necessary, but to ensure that only necessary treatments and benefits are utilised at reasonable costs.
Of course it can be a tricky balance for employers; they do not want to appear mean – or to give the impression that they are putting money before their employees’ healthcare. However, developing a culture of cost awareness among staff and keeping an open mind to the potential for overtreatment can have a significant impact on moderating premiums.
Sadly a proportion of the cost of rising premiums is caused by fraudulent claims. And the international dimension of iPMI makes combating healthcare fraud even more of a challenge. Not only do we need to identify potentially fraudulent claims by policyholders and providers, we also have to work across different time zones, in multiple languages, and at times in jurisdictions that are suffering wars and conflicts.
Frauds by individual members of schemes vary, but include failing to disclose previous medical history, claiming for treatment in respect of a pre-existing condition during a moratorium period, claiming for treatments or services not provided, or using somebody else’s insurance to obtain treatments or services. We have also seen incidences of invoices altered by members to inflate the cost of a claim.
As an industry we are also becoming increasingly alert to the dubious practices of a limited number of providers. These include billing for treatments that have not actually been performed, falsifying diagnosis or conducting unnecessary treatments or procedures. Another approach is to bill each stage of a single procedure separately in order to maximise revenue, or billing for a more complex version of the treatment or service actually provided.
We’re working hard to reduce fraud by introducing strict controls to deter, prevent, detect and investigate fraud as well as recovering payments whenever possible.
Top quality iPMI provides essential protection to expatriates and internationally mobile people. Without effective cover they and their families would be exposed to the risk of being unable to access medical treatment when needed. Across the industry insurers are aware of the importance of delivering a cost-effective, high quality product and are increasingly focusing resources on cost containment in order to ensure that premiums remain affordable for policyholders.
Leading international publication the ‘Health Insurance & Protection Daily’ has given ALC Health’s new Prima Plans the ‘thumbs up’ in their product review, awarding Prima Platinum and Prima Concept plans a whopping 8 out of 10 rating.
The Judges commented that “ALC Health has effectively topped and tailed its existing Prima plan, offering both super budget and high end benefits” adding that “One advantage of having a wider range is that clients can choose which version best suits their needs.
In particular, above inflation price rises have led to more people choosing budget cover, so having a new budget option should open up the market for this plan. Clients could then upgrade their benefits as budgets allow.”
Read the full article at https://www.healthinsurancedaily.com/health-insurance/product-reviews/article429200.ece
ALC Health are proud to be a co-sponsor of this years FUNDRAISING WALK “The Hidden Benahavis” which is being held on SATURDAY, 12TH OCTOBER 2013 where walkers will get the chance to discover the outstanding countryside and mountains behind the beautiful “White Village” of Benahavis. There will be 2 walks, one easy and the other a little more challenging and all walks will be guided and supervised.
If you would like to know more, perhaps even join in please follow the link:
Today sees the launch of ALC Health’s new upgraded online quotation facility (https://www.alchealth.com/quote.htm) providing fast flexible quotes across our full range of four core international medical insurance plans.