William Russell has been a leading player in the international private medical insurance market for over two decades. Over the past 10 years, Pacific Prime has actively supported the insurer and 2012 saw the best financial results to date.
Pacific Prime puts this good performance down to the opening of William Russell’s new sales support office in Hong Kong, which has enabled the company to deliver better service and support to Pacific Prime and its clients across Asia.
In more good news, William Russell has announced their revised premium rates for 2013 and these have come in below the typical rates of medical inflation witnessed over the past 5 years. Respectively, premium increases are set at 7% for the inpatient Bronze plan, 7.5% for the Silver plan and 9% of the comprehensive gold plan.
Interestingly, in Hong Kong, China and Singapore the Gold plan premium will increase by 10.75%, highlighting the challenges that some key South East Asian markets propose where medical inflation is very prevalent.
Overall, the increases are very much in line with William Russell’s historical performance and once again, are below the average of the rates released by other insurers for the 1st of January. The only other major international insurers to come in with lower rates of premium increases are Allianz Worldwide Care and Interglobal.
William Russell also seems to be making a strategic shift in direction for 2013 and will be dropping their Platinum plan. While renewals will continue to be supported, it will no longer be open to new business. As such, William Russell will be returning to its core plans; Gold, Silver and Bronze. Pacific Prime views this refocusing of the core plans as a major contribution to William Russell’s success over the past 20 years and as the Platinum plan had been increasingly uncompetitive in the market place, such a move seems to makes sense.
Neil Raymond CEO of Pacific Prime commented: “William Russell has always focused on delivering high quality plans at affordable rates to our clients; they continue to do this in a sustainable way. The recent changes to the plan benefits on Gold, Silver and Bronze plans are very positive, especially on the Gold plan”.
These changes on the gold plan specifically refer to the increased coverage on the Chronic Conditions benefit which is now fully covered for Outpatient. Furthermore, newborns will now be covered up to USD 100,000 and complications of pregnancy will be covered in full on the Gold plan. The silver plan has also seen some improvements and HRT will now be covered in full for 12 months.
William Russell has always had a significant presence in Asia, allowing them to understand Hong Kong’s unique pricing structure whereby the price paid for surgeon and anesthetist fees is based on the room type chosen by the patient. In other words, a surgeon can charge a patient staying in a private room more than a patient in a semi private room. While there is little logic to this system, it has remained this way for some time and is unlikely to change in the near future.
In response to this, William Russell offer Hong Kong Pacific Prime client’s a discount of between 7.5% and 15% on the premium if the room type selected is restricted to a semi private room. This was an approach first adopted by Goodhealth (now Aetna) but is becoming more common for insurers with exposure to Hong Kong in an attempt to try to control costs.
Mr Raymond commented on the semi private room discount: “It is always difficult to explain to clients why the room you chose determines what your surgeon will charge, we agree that there is little logic behind it but in fact it is a way to control insurance costs and so for those on tighter budgets it is a good way to manage premiums. We would encourage more insurers to offer this option to clients”.
Pacific Prime anticipates that 2013 will be a very positive year for its clients attached to William Russell policies and the 20 year heritage in health insurance will put William Russell in a good position in an increasingly competitive market place.