Category Archives: Global Medical Insurance News

AXA International Chief Medical Officer reports on Ebola Crisis

Since the index case in Mali of a young girl who traveled from Guinea and subsequently died of Ebola, a nurse has since succumbed to the virus. Separately, another male who travelled from Guinea, has died and diagnosed as an Ebola victim, together with the nurse who treated him.

A doctor from one of the main private clinic in Bamako, is as well infected. Several dozen responders and other contacts are under quarantine and are being monitored for signs of illness. In parallel, some fever controls have been put in place on the departure of Bamako airport.

An American doctor working in Sierra Leone has also been infected by the virus and should be transferred shortly to the US.
Canada and Mauritius have decided to close their borders to travelers coming from Ebola infected countries; this measure applies even for their own citizens.

In Niger, despite none Ebola case, local authorities have developed an awareness program in schools to inform populations about Ebola risks.

A Luxemburg satellite operator SES has also launched a free TV channel “Fight Ebola” to disseminate information on Ebola, to reach 20 million people in the region.

Despite a reach of over 5000 Ebola victims, MSF has reported a drop in Ebola patients occupying hospital beds in Liberia and it is postulated this is an indicator of a downward trend in numbers of Ebola cases. As a result, the country’s president, Dr. Ellen Sirleaf Johnson, announced the lifting of the state of emergency, permitting the re- opening of public markets and other activities.

Nevertheless, the nation’s medical infrastructure remains devastated and our travel recommendations remain unchanged. It is also strongly believed that the number of cases of Ebola is substantially underreported, especially in Sierra Leone. This may partly explain any apparent dip in case reports and it is considered premature to interpret this as a definite trend.

Recent experience again reconfirms the complete lack of medical resources in the countries of Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia available to treat foreigners with even minor illnesses. It should be expected that should travelers, expatriates or relief workers require medical care, they will have to be self-reliant and remain in private quarters until transportation out of the country can be arranged.

Limitations is available transportation, screening and exit restrictions may delay movement of patients in need of a formal medical care.

You will find on the following pages an information update about the evolution of the epidemic
Dr. Cai Glushak
International Chief Medical Officer

Ebola victims pass 5,000 mark

The number of people who have died as a result of the worst-ever outbreak of Ebola has now risen to over 5,000 according to the latest figures released by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Whilst the number of new cases no longer appears to be increasing in either Guinea and Liberia, it remains high in Sierra Leone with the total number of people infected across West Africa having passed 14,000.

ALC Health appoints Healix International to provide global claims management and support

Apple AALC Health is delighted to announce that with effect from 1st January our claims handling for new and renewing customers will be carried out by Healix International, the award winning medical claims experts, under an exclusive and unique arrangement.

This is the culmination of many months of intensive research and discussion and is the logical next step in ALC Health’s mission to provide an unbeatable customer experience.

Healix maintain medically backed 24/7 and 365 capability via their centres in the UK, New Zealand and Singapore and together with ALC Health’s unique, benefit rich product set, will provide an industry leading solution.

At the same time, ALC Health are extending their commitment to AXA PPP International as their main underwriting partner, so continuing to provide the financial strength, integrity and stability necessary to ensure benefit delivery.

Sarah Jewell, CEO of ALC Health, commented, “Our Company has been built on an absolute dedication to customers, service and quality. We have enjoyed unprecedented growth and support from our customers and brokers and, as we continue on our journey, we are delighted that we can add a partner with the stature and reputation of Healix International to underline our continuing commitment to them.

We believe that by partnering with Healix International we will be providing the most customer focused claims handling service in the industry, with qualified medical personnel involved at the notification stage and proactive control and settlement throughout the process.

We will also shortly unveil further developments to help us shape an even better experience for more customers, with a new design philosophy to guide our new websites, enhancements to products and territories, and further innovations and partners – all with greater consistency, synergy and efficiency.

We want our brand to be synonymous with quality and our customers to expect and receive unrivalled service, and we will keep innovating to achieve our aim of becoming the best iPMI provider in the world.”

For further press information contact Stephen Godbold, Managing Director on +44 (0)1903 817970 or by e-mail to


How to ease the pain of Jet lag

jetlagJet lag can affect anyone regardless of age or gender and usually occurs when travelling through 3 or more different time zones. It can significantly disrupt your body clock, which regulates your natural routines like sleeping and waking up. Disturbing it can cause loss of appetite, fatigue, headaches and lack of concentration, so if you want to stay free from such symptoms, try the following :-

  • Modify your sleeping pattern a couple of days prior to travelling so that you are accustomed to the new time zone.
  • Make sure you rest sufficiently during the flight and take frequent naps.
  • Keep hydrated with plenty of water and avoid caffeine and alcohol which can aggravate the symptoms while also keeping you awake.
  • Get into natural sunlight as soon as you arrive at your destination.
  • Consider a melanin-based treatment, which can ease symptoms and regulate your sleeping patterns.
  • Eat a high protein breakfast on the morning at your destination as this can help you to avoid tiredness throughout the day.”

Qatar announces mandatory private health insurance requirement

qatarThe Gulf State of Qatar is the latest country in the region to legally require all expatriate workers to purchase private health insurance rather than allowing them to fall back on Government facilities in the event that they need medical care.

The newly introduced law requires private companies to meet the cost of private health insurance for all expatriate employees by the end of 2015. The new regulations are to be rolled out in phases over the next 12 months with white-collar workers required to be covered by the end of the first quarter, whilst blue-collar workers have until the end of the year.

In order to control growing costs and manage the strain on public systems, Qatar is another example of an increasing number of governments making private health insurance an integral part of the process of obtaining residency and work visas

Ebola Update from ALC Health / AXA Assistance International Chief Medical Officer

CaptureA third person has tested positive for Ebola in Dallas, Texas. The most recent two are healthcare workers providing direct care to the initial Ebola patient from Liberia who has since died. They are in stable condition and in isolation in the same facility. No secondary cases related to the original case among the general public, close contacts or fellow travelers have appeared.

While authorities are actively investigating why healthcare workers who claimed to follow strict precautions became infected, there is considered no risk to the general public. Though the latest case had taken a flight within the U.S., because she had no symptoms during her trip, she was not considered infectious at that time. Authorities however are notifying and tracking passengers on that flight.

Immigration authorities have implemented strict screening for passengers arriving from West Africa at the 5 US airports receiving 94% of travelers from this region. Meanwhile the CDC is working with healthcare facilities nationwide to implement strict training and precautions to identify and isolate any potential Ebola victims. While authorities are vigilant to identify any new cases and mitigate the risk of spread, the situation in the U.S. is not considered a risk to travelers or the public at large.

Many countries are implementing health control points at airports for passengers arriving fromWest Africa. This is already the case in Czech Republic, United King dom and France.

In Latin America, the health ministers of the nine countries of the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas will meet on October 20 in Havana to prepare for a possible Ebola outbreak in the region.

Now more than ever, we strongly recommend avoiding or interrupting all travel to the countries of Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia, as there is no certainly there are no resources to support medical and non-medical needs, including for non-Ebola situations in these countries and exiting these countries on an urgent basis is becoming increasingly difficult.

Despite this serious situation, AXA Assistance will continue to carry out its mission of assistance provider in accompanying all its customers and mobilize its resources to support all requests for assistance, including from this devastated region.

Cai Glushak
International Chief Medical Officer

ALC Health’s “Huggie” joins the MacMillan Coffee Morning at the Sunborn Yacht Gibraltar

HuggieFriday (26th) saw  St. Nummos Life Host the MacMillan Worldwide Coffee Morning at Sunborn Yacht in Gibraltar where ALC Health’s “Huggie” was raffled as one of the event charity prizes.

Dressed in his best ALC Health t-shirt, “Huggie” proved to be  popular guest and is now on his way to a new home.

ALC Health supports the great Macmillan coffee morning with cakes galore

IMG_090455555Yesterday saw ALC Health’s UK Head Office turn into a magical bakers shop with an amazing display of cakes and biscuits home baked by our more creative and talented colleagues as part of Macmillan’s biggest fundraising event of the year.

ALC  was delighted to be able to join thousands of other people across the UK who have been holding coffee mornings to raise money for those living with cancer by raising desperately needed funds to support the valuable work and support given by the Macmillan Trust.

Cancer is the toughest fight most of us will ever face. and as treatments improve, more and more people are living with cancer in their daily lives. The money raise at this and other events held nationwide will help make sure no one has to face cancer alone, from the moment they’re diagnosed, through treatment and beyond.

Well done to everyone involved and for helping to replace those extra pounds lost a few weeks ago.

French health system the best for expatriate retirees

imagesThe 2014 International Living Global Retirement Index has ranked France as number one in its health care category. The study, which ranks destinations on their suitability for retired expats, praised France’s “affordable and great quality” healthcare writes of

The benefits highlighted in the report include the fact many doctors and healthcare professionals speak English, especially in major cities. Treatment in public facilities is available to those who pay, or used to pay, into the social security system. Fees for services in the public system are set, with the state paying around 70 percent of the costs. The remainder is paid out-of-pocket or by supplementary health insurance plans. The government may pay 100 percent of the costs related to serious illnesses.

In general, if you visit a doctor you pay the fees directly to them and are then reimbursed by the insurance company. Hospitals work on a direct reimbursement system, whereby patients only pay the portion which isn’t covered.

For non-EU citizens thinking of retiring in France, private health insurance is mandatory. Private insurance bought in France usually covers hospital fees but under some plans patients must pay the cost of doctor consultations themselves. Other plans refund 75 percent of doctor’s fees. The US embassy in France can help expat retirees find an English speaking health insurance provider, advises International Living.

The report, aimed at US expat retirees, places Uruguay second in the healthcare category. Uruguay’s cheap (compared to the US) private care and modern, high-quality facilities make it a good choice for expats.

Malaysia came in third place. A popular medical tourism destination, its modern private facilities and range of insurance options means healthcare needn’t be a drain on your budget. The report noted the majority of dentists are UK or US trained and can speak English, and prescriptions costs are a fraction of what you would pay in the States.

Regardless of where you decide to retire, healthcare provision must be a priority. If you don’t have private medical insurance then ensure you are aware of the costs you will be required to pay out of pocket.

10 things you need to know about Ebola

1. Ebola virus disease (previously known as Ebola hemorrhagic fever) is a rare but severe disease, which is caused by Ebola virus. It was first recognized in 1976 and has caused sporadic outbreaks ever since in several African countries.

2. More than 1,500 cases have been reported in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone since March 2014, of which there have been more than 900 deaths. This is the first documented Ebola outbreak in West Africa and the largest ever known outbreak of this disease. There are currently no signs that the outbreak is coming under control, with new cases reported daily from both known and new outbreak areas. Cases of virus transmission continue to emerge in both the community and health-care settings. All 3 capital cities have been affected: Conakry (Guinea), Monrovia (Liberia) and Freetown (Sierra Leone). In addition, the situation in Nigeria is currently evolving and the extent to which this country will also be involved in the outbreak is unknown.

3. The continued spread of the disease probably relates at least in part to issues of strong, local cultural beliefs (such as washing the bodies of the dead, and the stigma surrounding the disease); overpopulation and crowding; migration of people across borders; a perception by local people that the healthcare professionals attempting to help are making things worse; and inadequate human resources on a background of deep poverty.

4. The virus is transmitted to people initially from wild animals, and then from person to person via contact with blood and body fluids. In addition, contaminated objects (clothes, needles) can also transmit infection if handled. Airborne transmission is thought to be limited to those viruses carried in large droplets of human secretions.

5. Infection with Ebola virus leads to sudden onset of fever, chills, muscle aches, headache, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting, with sore throat and in some cases a rash. This will develop as early as 2 days after infection and as late as 21 days. This is then followed by impaired kidney and liver function and stomach pain, and in some cases uncontrolled bleeding, both external (such as through puncture sites) and internal (causing vital organ damage). Ebola is fatal in 50 to 90% of cases who develop these signs and symptoms.

6. Many other far more common illnesses in these countries start off like Ebola, such as flu, typhoid, and malaria. This makes prompt and early assessment even more important – especially since survival seems better in those cases identified early.

7. It is very important to remember that you will not be at risk of Ebola infection unless you have been in close contact with people with the above symptoms. You cannot catch Ebola from people who are well, with the exception of close contact of a sexual nature, as patients who have recovered may still be infectious for a considerable period of time.

8. Nevertheless, if you feel unwell with symptoms such as fever, chills, muscle aches, headache, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, sore throat or rash within 21 days of coming back from Guinea, Liberia or Sierra Leone, you should stay at home and immediately telephone relevant health services. These services will provide advice and arrange for you to be seen in a hospital if necessary, so that the cause of your illness can be determined as quickly as possible. Unless you have had direct contact with sick people in these countries, another diagnosis for which treatment is available (such as malaria) may be made, and you will be treated.

9. For those performing humanitarian work in these countries, the risk of Ebola infection will relate entirely to the quality and consistency of your personal Infection Control procedures and discipline. Perfect and vital barrier technique includes wearing protective gowns, gloves, masks and eye protection or face shields, and the careful removal of these after use. WHO recommendations address direct patient care, laboratory activities, post mortem examinations, movement and burial of human remains, cleaning and waste disposal.

10. In conclusion:
Don’t go to these countries unless you really have to
If you are there, be very careful to avoid crowded public places and close contact with others. If you are there for humanitarian purposes, go prepared, trained, vigilant, and equipped with personal protective equipment

Author: Dr. Vanya Gant