Global health insurance provider Aetna buys Bupa Thailand

global health insurance provider Aetna acquires Bupa Thailand

At the end of July, leading global health insurance provider Aetna Inc. announced that it had acquired UK-based Bupa Group’s Thai business, Bupa Thailand, for an undisclosed amount. The acquisition allows Aetna to significantly increase its presence in the Asia region, and is key to their strategy to go ‘broader and deeper’ into local healthcare markets around the world. Shortly after the acquisition was announced, Aetna also outlined the launch of its new service approach for large organizations with over 1,500 staff overseas.

Read on to learn more about Aetna’s acquisition of Bupa Thailand, and to find out about the global health insurance provider’s new service approach for international corporations.

About Aetna’s acquisition of Bupa Thailand

Aetna’s latest acquisition strategically combines the strengths and deep reach of both insurance companies to provide enhanced offerings to health insurance customers in Thailand. Bupa Thailand’s in-depth knowledge of the Thai healthcare market, system and culture, coupled with Aetna’s vast product portfolio and global health insurance expertise, will ultimately result in broader insurance product offerings in Thailand, as well as build on Bupa Thailand’s exceptional service.

“This is a significant and exciting expansion for Aetna in Asia, and clearly demonstrates our commitment to investment and growth in the region and globally”, commented Richard di Benedetto, President of US-headquartered Aetna International. “Thailand is an important market for us, with increasing local wealth driving greater adoption of health insurance.  Aetna’s wide product portfolio, together with an excellent talent and knowledge base transferring from Bupa, will put us in a very strong position in the local market.”

Established more than 30 years ago, Bupa is one of Thailand’s top health insurance providers, with over 300,000 members and a network of over 400 medical providers in the region. For a short period of time, Bupa Thailand will continue operating under the Bupa brand name before rebranding as Aetna.

Thailand: A lucrative market for global health insurance providers

As one of Asia’s most lucrative markets, Thailand continues to attract the attention of world leading global health insurance providers, many of whom are keen on establishing and growing their presence in the region. One key reason for this is continual economic growth in Thailand, which has resulted in a wealthier population.

According to our Cost of International Health Insurance – 2017 report, it is anticipated that the middle class population in Thailand will exceed 200 million by 2020. Not only are we witnessing a growing middle class, but the number of High Net Worth (HNW) individuals is also increasing. For example, the number of HNW in the region increased from 49,800 in 2009 to 95,700 in 2015. This increase in wealth has led to a growth in demand for both local and global health insurance products in Thailand.

Aetna’s new service approach for international corporations

Shortly after announcing its latest acquisition in Thailand, global health insurance provider Aetna also outlined the details of its new service approach for international corporations with over 1,500 staff overseas. Following detailed health insurance broker consultations, the company has developed a fully flexible solution designed to meet the corporate insurance needs of large companies with international operations.

Damian Lenihan, Executive Director of UK Distribution at Aetna International, outlined the new service approach in this article by Health Insurance & Protection Daily. According to Lenihan, the proposition consists of the following four main pillars:

Member support

By focusing on member needs, employer-provided health insurance policies should cover both core benefits (like inpatient and outpatient treatment), as well as additional health and wellness benefits (like dental insurance), as per customer requirements.

Service delivery

Everything from language needs to claims processing requirements should be tailored around member specifications. Aetna will also be able to provide solutions to clients looking to self-insure.

Full program transparency

“Granular analytical data and bespoke management reporting” are instrumental in helping employers understand their group policy’s medical costs, and where savings are made.

Partnership approach

By adopting a partnership approach, Aetna focuses on providing clients with a fully resourced and responsive team, who are able to deal with and handle every eventuality.

Pacific Prime: Your global health insurance specialist

With almost two decades of experience advising and matching clients with the best global health insurance solutions, Pacific Prime has developed longstanding partnerships with the world’s largest and most reputable insurers, including Aetna, Bupa, Liberty Insurance, Cigna, MSIG, and many more. As we are not beholden to one particular insurer, you can rest assured that we will find you a local, regional, or global health insurance plan that provides the best value for your specific needs and budget requirements.

If you have any questions, or would like to learn more about your insurance options, be sure to get in touch with one of our helpful advisors today. Those looking for further information on corporate insurance solutions can also check out our new online resource for corporate clients here.

Australian households find private health insurance too complex

Private health insurance complex article

With over 40,000 plans on the market, private health insurance has become “a quagmire of cost and confusion” for Australian households, says Matt Levey, the Director of Campaigns and Communications at consumer group CHOICE. In a national survey commissioned by CHOICE, it was found that nearly half (44 percent) of Australian policyholders consider comparing health insurance too “difficult”, while the remainder was divided between “neutral” and “easy”.

Because of this perceived complexity, many people feel discouraged from looking for/ switching policies and taking the time to find a better deal compared to the insurance that they already have. Here, we look at the top reasons behind why so many Australians find private health insurance so complex, and provide some key tips on what you can do to educate yourself on the basics of insurance.

Why people find comparing private health insurance challenging

Respondents from the latest CHOICE survey revealed that many people find it hard to compare private health insurance. Here are the top reasons why:

  • 69% of respondents say they find it difficult to compare plans side-by-side
  • 54% find it difficult to compare out-of-pocket costs if they were to go to hospital
  • 53% say information from insurers is not set out consistently
  • 53% find it hard to compare extras* rebates
  • 45% believe not all policies are available for comparison
  • 43% of respondents find it hard to grasp insurance terminology
  • 39% say they are unable to compare cover for specific health problems that they’re worried about
  • 36% are unable to find independent information they can trust
  • 25% say they get too much information from insurers
  • 21% say they have experienced difficulties comparing what they would save on tax or get from a rebate

*Extras health insurance, also known as general or ancillary cover, provides coverage for non-hospital related medical services (e.g. dental, optical).

With so many people feeling overwhelmed by this complexity, Matt Levey from CHOICE believes that it could make a grudge purchase a bad one, leading to poor outcomes including securing an ill-fitting insurance plan. With this in mind, the survey results have illuminated the pressing need to improve health insurance literacy among the general public, so that people can make better, more informed choices.

How to educate yourself on health insurance

Private health insurance can be confusing at first, but the more you know about it, the better off you will be. This is especially true for those who are shopping for health plans for the first time, who may be understandably overwhelmed when faced with so many plans and insurance terms like “pre-existing conditions”, “coinsurance”, “deductibles”, etc. As such, having at least some basic knowledge of health insurance can go a long way in ensuring that, amid ever-rising premiums, you get the best value plan on the market.

So, how do you start your education? Looking for credible sources on the internet can be a great way to start, so that you can learn about the ins and outs of insurance at your own pace. In our goal to simplify health insurance, we’ve released a number of easy-to-read guides and reports that should be of use to anyone looking to learn more about insurance:

Our blog is also a great resource for various insurance-related topics; feel free to check it out here.

It’s also important to get impartial advice from an expert. We highly recommend that you talk to an established broker like Pacific Prime. With almost 20 years of experience in the field of private health insurance, we’re more than happy to answer any questions you may have regarding insurance terminology, finding the best plan that caters to your health and budget concerns, as well as give you a free quote and comparison of plans from the world’s leading insurers.

Do you have any more questions? Contact the helpful advisors at Pacific Prime today, or check out our free plan comparison tool here.

Source: CHOICE (2017). Making Private Health Insurance Simpler.

New Ecuador visa requirements: Expats must show proof of health insurance

Ecuador visa requirements blog article

New Ecuador visa requirements have now made it mandatory for all long term tourists, temporary residents, and permanent residents including expats to have health insurance that covers them for the entire duration of their stay in the country. It is therefore essential for anyone visiting or moving to Ecuador to be aware of the recent changes to their visa entry requirements in order to avoid having their visas/ entry denied. Read on to find out whether the new Ecuador visa requirements apply to you.

What exactly are the new Ecuador visa requirements?

As of the time of writing this article, those visiting Ecuador as a tourist for less than 90 days during any given year do not need to show proof of travel or health insurance. Visitors from most countries do not require a visa to enter Ecuador for up to 90 days, with some notable country exceptions including Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Cuba, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, Somalia, and Senegal. Nationals of the following countries can stay in Ecuador for up to 180 days as a tourist: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Uruguay and Venezuela.

The new Ecuador visa requirements only applies to tourists who want to extend their stay in Ecuador, temporary residents, and permanent residents. Below are the new Ecuador visa requirements for each visa category:

Tourist Visa Extension

If tourists want to stay in Ecuador for longer than 90 days, they may do so by applying for a Tourist Visa Extension, which will allow them to stay in the country for an additional 90 days. Tourists may also apply to extend their stay for a maximum period of one year by sending a special request to the Human Mobility Authority. This special extension can only be granted once every five years.

Please note here that anyone who wants to apply for a Tourist Visa Extension must secure and show proof of having either a health insurance policy or travel insurance that will cover them for their entire stay in Ecuador.

Temporary Residency Visa

Foreigners who are granted a Temporary Residency Visa will be allowed to stay in Ecuador for up to two years. During this period of time, those with a Temporary Residency Visa in Ecuador are allowed to leave the country up to 90 days in the first year, and again up to 90 days in the second year. Temporary Residency Visas are subject to cancellation if the visa holder fails to comply to the 90 day requirement, in which case they will need to either re-enter Ecuador with a new Temporary Residency Visa and/or new Tourist Visa, depending on their circumstances.

There are thirteen categories under this type of migration status:

  • Worker
  • Independent means
  • Pensioner
  • Investor
  • Scientist, researcher or academic
  • Athlete, artist or cultural agent
  • Religious or religious volunteer
  • Volunteer
  • Student
  • Professional, technician, technologist or master craftsman
  • International convention
  • Dependent (i.e. children, spouse or common law partner, etc.)
  • International protection

Those applying for a Temporary Residency Visa must show proof of having private health insurance or must be affiliated with Ecuador’s social security system, commonly known as the IESS or Instituto Ecuatoriano de Seguridad Social. Please note here that the Temporary Residency Visa can only be renewed once.

Permanent Residency Visa

Permanent Residency Visas allow a foreign citizen to remain in Ecuador for an indefinite period of time. To obtain permanent residence status, applicants must meet the following criteria:

  • Have stayed in Ecuador for at least 21 months;
  • Have married or formed a legally recognized civil union with an Ecuadorian person;
  • Be a minor or a disabled person who depends on an Ecuadorian person or foreigner with permanent resident status;
  • Be related to an Ecuadorian person or permanent resident of Ecuador.

For the first two years from the date the visa is granted, those with a Permanent Residency Visa are not allowed to be out of the country for more than 180 days each year. Those who fail to comply with this requirement will be charged a hefty fine.

As with the Temporary Residency Visa health insurance requirements, those applying for a Permanent Residency Visa must also show proof of having private health insurance or be affiliated with the IESS.

Private health insurance or the IESS?

If you’re applying for a Temporary or Permanent Residency Visa, there are two health insurance options available:

  • Membership in the IESS
  • Obtain private health insurance

Here, we provide an overview of the two options:

IESS

Expats can choose to enroll in the IESS, which is paid for through contributions either by yourself, or by your employer (if you are employed). The cost is 17.6% of your income, and an additional 3.41% for your spouse or common law partner, as long as they have a cedula (national identification) number for registration. These percentages, for many expats, can be a considerable amount.

Public medical care is 100% free if you’re enrolled in the IESS, as long as you visit facilities that are contracted with the IESS. That said, sometimes IESS pharmacies may not have the medications that you require, meaning you may have to go to a non-IESS facility to purchase them.

What’s more, the quality of medical care provided by IESS facilities can vary significantly in Ecuador, with most high quality facilities located in large cities like Guayaquil. Healthcare standards in smaller towns and rural areas are often very poor. Combine this with the fact that the IESS can be restrictive for foreigners to be able to afford or utilize (not being Ecuadorian citizens themselves), and it is easy to see why so many expats prefer having private health insurance.

Private health insurance

Those looking for private health insurance can choose to obtain either a local or international policy. If you’re on a tight budget and rarely travel, a local plan may be the best option for you. Local plans are often much cheaper than international health insurance, primarily because it covers a lot less geographically. That said, expats and frequent travellers often prefer international health insurance to benefit from much greater flexibility and freedom in choosing where they can seek care. The cost of international health insurance in Ecuador can range from as little as USD 66 for a basic plan, to USD 942 for a more comprehensive plan with added benefits such as dental and maternity cover.

Looking for more information on Ecuador visa requirements?

To learn more about the new Ecuador visa requirements and your health insurance options, contact the helpful advisors at Pacific Prime today. Also feel free to have a look at our Ecuador page here for in-depth information on healthcare and health insurance in Ecuador.

What your company can do to tackle health insurance fraud

health insurance fraud article

Health insurance fraud is a serious problem for insurance providers and the greater health industry in general, amounting to “tens of billions of dollars” in losses every year. As discussed in our recently released Cost of International Health Insurance – 2017 report, healthcare fraud plays a significant role in driving up the cost of healthcare, and also leads to a subsequent rise in health insurance premiums. Here, we look at health insurance fraud and what can be done to minimize its impact.

What is health insurance fraud?

Medical insurance fraud can be defined asfalse or misleading information [that] is provided to a health insurance company in an attempt to have them pay unauthorized benefits to the policyholder‚ another party‚ or the entity providing services.

Simply put, insurance fraud is the act of misrepresenting facts or outright lying to make money from the health insurance system; potential offenders can be anyone – patients, doctors, hospitals, or even pharmacists. Popular examples of health insurance fraud include falsifying claims, misrepresenting the provider of service, and billing a non-covered service as a covered service.

There’s also abuse, which involves practices that are not deemed medically necessarily, or are outside acceptable standards of professional conduct, thus leading to unnecessary costs being paid (e.g. over-prescribing medications, ordering unnecessary tests, keeping patients at the hospital for longer than necessary).

The impact of health insurance fraud

There are many ways in which health insurance fraud can have an impact on employers and employees, including:

  • Increased health insurance premiums: Continuing challenges related to fraud is one of the main drivers behind increasing health insurance premiums. As premiums continue to increase, health insurance will quickly become unaffordable for both employers and individuals.
  • Cutbacks on benefits: As premiums become more costly, it is more likely that there will be cutbacks on the benefits included in employer-provided health insurance policies (e.g. the removal of dental cover, limits on who is covered, etc.
  • Increased copayments and deductibles: Copayments and deductibles are on the increase, as employees find themselves footing the bill for a higher proportion of their healthcare costs despite having insurance.

What can my company do to tackle fraud?

One of the most effective ways an employer can tackle health insurance fraud and abuse is by educating their employees. Employees should be aware of:

  • What is and isn’t covered by their group plan
  • What constitutes health insurance fraud and abuse
  • How fraud impacts employees and their benefits
  • How to spot fraud and abuse

Below is a checklist of what employees should keep their eyes on to protect themselves, their company, and the healthcare system at large from insurance fraud and abuse, and keep healthcare costs down for everyone:

  • Report any lost or stolen health insurance cards immediately
  • Fill out, sign and date one claim form at a time. Never sign empty or incomplete forms.
  • Always confirm the diagnosis and make sure it correlates with the information on the form
  • Question free offers (e.g. free tests, screenings, and treatments), especially when the healthcare provider asks for your insurance information
  • Know what’s covered and what is not covered by your health insurance
  • Alert the insurer of any suspected fraud or abuse

Partner with Pacific Prime today

By partnering with an insurance specialist like Pacific Prime, you’ll find that we not only help you source the most optimal group health insurance plan, but also answer any questions your employees may have regarding their benefits, or how to spot fraud. To learn more, contact our helpful advisors today, or check out our brand new corporate site.

The most and least expensive countries for private international health insurance

reading glasses on a map representing someone comparing international insurance companies

Just over a week ago, we announced the release of our Cost of International Health Insurance report for 2017. This annual study collects the prices of international plans in 100 different countries and compares them to give insurers, intermediaries, and consumers a better understanding of what their own premium costs are. This week, we’re looking at the data from our Cost of International Health Insurance report again and are interested in making some comparisons between international insurance companies with the highest and lowest costs.

What’s in the Cost of International Health Insurance report?

Each year, we prepare this report so that people will have an overview of the current state of international medical insurance. Using ten global insurances companies that represent 70% of the total number of plans sold worldwide, we consider the average prices per country, compare them within their region and against the world, and discuss the factors contributing to the costs of insurance for the past year.

In short, Pacific Prime believes that the four primary factors influencing the cost of international health insurance in most countries are:

  • Increased demand for international quality private care
  • Increased cost of health care
  • Increased regulation
  • Continuing challenges related to fraud

How these factors have an impact on how much people pay for insurance around the world is described in detail in the report. For more information, download your copy today.

The highs and lows: who’s got the most expensive and cheapest insurance around the regions?

The report also separates countries into five regions in order to make faster comparison between neighboring countries. These regions are Asia, Africa, the Americas, the Middle East, and Europe. Taking into account plan prices for individuals, couples, families, and retirees, here are the countries per region with the highest and lowest overall international insurance premium:

Asia

Asia is an interesting case for international insurance premiums. While China does feature near the more expensive end of our rankings, Singapore has finally moved one spot ahead of it to take second place for the first time in three years. The most expensive Asian country for international insurance continues to be Hong Kong, who also retains its place as the second most expensive country in the world.

On the other end of the spectrum, we see Pakistan rank as the least expensive Asian nation for international insurance, with Laos and the Philippines its closest rivals.

Most Expensive

Least Expensive
Hong Kong

Average premium cost:

USD 12,585

Pakistan

Average premium cost:

USD 7,391

Africa

Africa is a region where many of the lowest international insurance prices exist. This may be because of lower numbers of expats, the lower cost of healthcare, or a great unfamiliarity of the region’s health capabilities for insurers. In fact, the region’s country with the highest insurance premium average, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, has a cost that’s little higher than the lowest average country in Asia. Côte d’Ivoire is the second most expensive country in Africa, followed by Cameroon as the third most expensive location.

The countries with lowest average international insurance in Africa are tied, with all three countries possessing the lowest prices worldwide. Ethiopia, Angola, and Mali may be similar as insurers may assess them similarly in terms of risk and apply a blanket premium price among them.

Most Expensive

Least Expensive
Democratic Republic of the Congo

Average premium cost:

USD 8,226

Ethiopia, Angola & Mali

Average premium cost:

USD 7,027

The Americas

With the Americas, it’s inevitable that the United States will leave the rest behind in terms of insurance costs. The country has the most expensive healthcare in the world. Canada, for the average cost of international plans, sits at second place with just over half the cost of the US. Argentina rounds out the top three.

The least expensive country in the Americas for international health insurance is Panama, though it should be said that there is very little difference in the cost of insurance in South American countries.

Most Expensive

Least Expensive
United States of America

Average premium cost:

USD 19,274

Panama

Average premium cost:

USD 8,137

The Middle East

Regional insurance comparisons in the Middle East have been significantly impacted by legal changes in one of the region’s most popular expatriate locations; Dubai. New mandatory insurance laws have made predicting where premiums might head for the Emirate tricky, although Dubai still sits as second most expensive behind Israel. Israel itself is the 5th most expensive country in the world for international health insurance.

Azerbaijan, however, is the region’s least expensive country for insurance premiums.

Most Expensive

Least Expensive
Israel

Average premium cost:

USD 9,989

Azerbaijan

Average premium cost:

USD 7,248

Europe

Considering the number of countries included in the Europe comparisons (25 in total), there is a wide variety of international insurance plan prices across the board. The United Kingdom stands as the most expensive location for international health insurance in Europe, and is also the 7th highest overall in the world. Greece and Russia take spots two and three for most expensive.

At the other end of the scale, Poland, Ukraine, and Serbia make up the least expensive locations, with Serbia the lowest ranked overall and 79th when compared globally.

Most Expensive

Least Expensive
United Kingdom

Average premium cost:

USD 12,585

Serbia

Average premium cost:

USD 7,077

Pacific Prime: simplifying insurance

At Pacific Prime, we’re committed to ensuring that our clients get the best service possible. This means also proving that we’re market leaders in not just selling insurance, but in understanding the market and the people within it. As a result, there are a range of guides and infographics we’ve produced to help you make the best insurance decision possible for yourself, your family, or your company.

If you want to see the Cost of International Health Insurance Report 2017 for yourself, click here to download. There you can find out more about the countries we’ve analysed, the international insurance companies we’ve used for our comparisons, and the drivers we think are impacting the costs of insurance worldwide. For a free quote or some helpful advice, contact the team at Pacific Prime today.

Key metrics for the success of your group health plan

Group of people discussing their group health plan

Regardless of your industry, there are a number of components that make up the core of the most successful employment benefits packages, one of the most important (and in demand) being health insurance. The question here is how can you or your HR team judge the success of your plan while ensuring it is meeting the needs of your employees? Here, we discuss 7 key metrics that you can employ to help you gauge the success of your group health plan.

Metric 1 – Loss ratio

Calculated by taking the amount you pay (your premium) and dividing it by the amount the insurer pays out in claims, this ratio is essential in determining the health of your plan and is often used in calculating premium increases.

As an HR professional, knowing the ratio of your health plan and comparing it with industry standards can help provide you with a sound negotiation tool when it comes to negotiating premium increases or even coverage elements. In some cases, your current and historical loss ratio can even be used to provide a ballpark estimate on future premiums or premium increases.

Learn more about loss ratios in this article from Pacific Prime Hong Kong.  

Metric 2 – Average claims per member

Calculated by taking the number of claims submitted by the number of employees covered this will tell you, on average, how many claims are submitted each year by your employees. Comparing this to either an industry benchmark or historical average, this can gauge the overall utilization and satisfaction with your group health insurance plan.  

Tracking this metric also generates a wealth of useful group health plan data that can be used to help you not only better understand plan utilization. It also acts as a litmus test that can help to identify problems. For example, by tracking and analyzing the claims submitted by each person we are often able to help HR identify individuals who claim more than average along with individuals who are submitting costly claims.

From there, we help HR teams to work with these employees to help ensure they are receiving the support they need while ensuring claims do not massively impact the loss ratio.

Beyond that, this data can also help to uncover where your employees prefer to receive care. This information can be used to try to steer employees away from certain high-cost providers, or to identify whether the plan is actually meeting their health needs.

Metric 3 – Insurer/broker response time and claims processing time

Time, as you know, is money. Spending hours a day or month on chasing insurers or brokers for information or replying to employees who are having issues with plans can be not only frustrating but also take you away from working on other, possibly more important tasks. This is where this metric can help.

In truth, this metric can actually be made up of a number of similar metrics that when combined help you judge the overall level of service you are getting from an insurer. You can then compare this to your company and employee’s needs and judge whether the plan you have is actually working.

For example, many companies we work with will track things like number of claims vs broker/insurer response time, number of claims vs average time to settle a claim, number of claims vs employee complaints, and most importantly, when the insurer broker communicates.

Generally speaking, insurers with lower premiums will tend to have lower levels of service. Securing a plan like this will often save you money upfront, but if you have to spend half your day calling the insurer, not getting answers, waiting weeks for claims to be settled, waiting weeks for new members to be added, or old members to be removed, etc, you could end up actually paying more in the long run.

It is important to measure when the insurer or broker communicates important information to allow you to make timely decisions. For example, if they take a long time to provide claims details or renewal information this could leave you with little to no breathing room to find better coverage or negotiate for better premiums.

Metric 4 – The number of people covered by the group health plan

Commonly referred to by insurers as ‘participation rate’, this metric looks at the number of employees insured by a plan versus the number of employees eligible for the plan (achieved by dividing number of employees insured by number of eligible employees) and will often compare this percentage with a benchmark for similar businesses. In practice, this metric will actually vary for each company and is normally adapted to meet the type of insurance plan you have selected.

For example, in our experience, many companies are securing group health plans that cover inpatient care only. If an employee wants additional coverage for outpatient care the company will usually cover a percentage of the premium, say 50-80%.

Looking at the number of people who are securing additional coverage or have utilized extra coverage then comparing this to industry benchmarks can be a solid indicator as to the overall success of your plan. If you find that a higher percentage of employees are selecting to add additional coverage than the benchmark this will likely point to the fact that your plan is not being perceived by employees as useful. This, in turn, means it might be worth looking into upping benefits offered by your plan.  

Metric 5 – The ratio of dependents covered by your group health plan

This is certainly a metric that will not be used by all companies, but that said, it is an incredibly important metric for companies who extend their health insurance plan to employee’s dependents.

Calculated by taking the total number of participants and dividing it by the number of employees covered, this ratio can help determine whether you are covering more or less employee’s dependents.

It is important as, in our experience, it is often dependents who have the highest number of claims. This is especially true for children who are covered by the plan as children will statistically have to visit the doctor more often. In turn, this could have adverse effects on premiums your company pays.

If you find that you are ensuring more dependents per employee than is standard it might be worth looking into your plan and seeing whether this is having an impact on your premiums or claims.

Metric 6 – Employee demographics

This metric, calculated by looking at the number of employees and breaking them down into groups such as age, sex, location, etc., can be a major help in the search for group health plans and determining the overall satisfaction with it.

For example, knowing your the age groups of your employees can help you determine what types of cover will be most utilized and the potential medical issues your staff may seek care for. You can then search for plans that meet some of these needs or work to set expectations with existing plans.

Metric 7 – Questions asked  

Like some of the above metrics, this is really more of a series of different related measurements that can be tracked to help you with your plan. For example, by tracking the number of questions asked by new plan joiners, the number of questions asked by more senior staff, etc. you can gauge exactly how engaged people are with the plan.

If you see that new employees ask a fair number of questions regarding health benefits then it is probably a good indicator that there is confusion with the plan and better explanations/onboarding is needed.

It would also pay to track the types of questions asked and by whom. For example, if your team is getting a lot of questions about claims or benefit limits you this indicates that you might be spending an inordinate amount of time answering questions that could be avoided through better documentation. Beyond that, certain questions like “Can I keep my own doctor” could point to demand for a better provider network or potential areas where employees could be unhappy with the plan.

How can I set benchmarks and implement these group health plan metrics?

One of the best ways you or your HR team can implement and track the above metrics is to actually work with a broker like Pacific Prime. In truth, the majority of the above metrics are actually part of our corporate insurance service that we offer to all companies. Our team of corporate insurance experts strive to work with your business to ensure you and your employees have the most optimal coverage while reducing the amount of time you spend managing the plan and answering questions.

To learn more about our group health plan service, visit our new corporate site today.

New report focuses on the average cost of international health insurance

2017 Cost of International Health Insurance Report

Pacific Prime is excited to announce the release of our latest report: The 2017 Cost of International Health Insurance. Now in its third iteration, this free report takes an in depth look at the average cost of international health insurance in 100 countries around the globe. Download your copy from our website today.

As with previous versions, this year’s report is divided into sections that together provide an important overview of the current state of international health insurance and the factors contributing to the costs seen in 2017. This information, in turn, has proven to be a useful tool for both companies and individuals looking to get the most out of their health insurance.

Open version of the cost of international health insurance report

Section 1: Ranking the top 20 most expensive and bottom 5 least expensive locations

The first section of this report provides a brief overview of the average cost of health insurance and ranks the 20 most expensive locations along with the 5 least expensive locations. Before we look at this ranking, it is important to explain the data used to generate this report.

To generate these averages and provide readers with a sound benchmark we have combined data from 10 of the top international health insurers who each offer three levels of plan:

  • Plan 1: Inpatient cover only
  • Plan 2: Inpatient + outpatient cover
  • Plan 3: Inpatient + outpatient + maternity

For each plan we have pulled premiums for four major demographics:

  • Individuals: Male, aged 36
  • Couples: Male aged 36, Female aged 35
  • Families: Male aged 46, Female aged 35, and two children aged 10 and 5  
  • Retirees: Male, aged 60

By taking the premiums for each of the demographics above along with the three levels of plan and averaging them together for each country we have come up with our ranking for 2017.

This year, average premiums are spread out from between USD 19,724 and USD 7,027 with the US again taking top spot as the most expensive country for international health insurance: Angola, Ethiopia, and Mali are all tied as having the least expensive average premiums.

Click here to view the ranking on our website. We have also provided the full ranking based on the demographics above in the Appendix section of the PDF, which can be downloaded here.

Section 2: In-depth analysis on the cost of international health insurance

When analyzing this year’s premiums we uncovered six major findings, which are discussed in-depth in the Analysis section of the report:

  1. Premiums in the US increased by an average of nearly 14% from 2016 to 2017.
  2. Singapore has replaced China as having the third highest average premiums.
  3. South East Asia has seen a marked increase in ranking in 2017, with 5 countries ranked in the top 20.
  4. Average premiums in Dubai actually decreased in ranking slightly in 2017.
  5. A number of countries saw a decrease in average cost between 2016 and 2017.
  6. Many countries have the same average premium.

For each of these six major findings, we have included an analysis of why these are important and the factors behind them.

Aside from that, we have also included an update on the four primary global drivers behind the cost of health insurance. These four drivers being:

  • There is an increasing demand for international quality health care.
  • Almost every country in this report has seen an increase in the cost of health care.
  • There is a trend of increasing regulation in many countries and regions included in this report.
  • Many countries and insurers face continuing challenges related to fraud.

Two versions of the report

We have two versions of this report available. The first is the online version which presents a paired down look at the ranking and first part of the Analysis sections along with an interactive overview of the average costs in different regions.

The second is the full written report in PDF format which can be downloaded. This version includes our full analysis (the four drivers along with the six findings) along with a complete ranking of the average cost of international health insurance in each of the 100 countries for each of the demographics.

Where to get your copy of the 2017 Cost of International Health Insurance Report

As mentioned above, there are two versions of the report available. Both are free and can be found on our website, or by clicking the links below:

Download the PDF – https://www.pacificprime.com/cohi-2017/download/

Read the online version – https://www.pacificprime.com/cohi-2017/

Should you have any questions about the cost of health insurance, or your premiums, please do contact us. Our expert staff can help you find the best plan for your budget today.

What makes a good group health insurance company?

Tick boxes for a good group health insurance company

So you’ve set out to find a truly great group health insurance company to handle your organization’s insurance needs. Your team is focused on securing the absolute best possible group health insurance plan both for themselves, their colleagues and the company as a whole, but they begin to realize that finding the right group health insurance company can make all the difference in the world when it comes to finding great long term value from any potential insurance policy.  We all know generally that providing excellent customer service should be a priority for any company that we work with, but what specifically should you be looking for in an insurer? To aid anyone who is in a situation similar to the one above, Pacific Prime is proud to present this feature on what you should look out for when it comes to finding the best group health insurance company.

Group health insurance company experience

If there’s one characteristic that is common among the best group health insurance companies in the world, it’s experience. Putting in leg work and elbow grease over an entire career’s worth of time can really give an insurance agent the know how to get just about any task accomplished efficiently. The relationships that are forged with other insurance professionals can really help an agent’s clients out of some sticky situations. Now, take this individual experience and spread it across an entire company and it’s easy to see where the collective knowledge of a group health insurance company can be a force to be reckoned with. Here are some additional points with regards to experience:

Familiarity with industry

When you’re shopping for group health insurance, it will come as no surprise that you will be better off choosing an insurer that has knowledge and experience within your organization’s particular sector. This is because the group health insurance company will then be familiar with the specific problems that organizations like yours faces on a regular basis. As well, an insurer should be versed in handling an organization of the same size as yours. If they mostly have experience with individual medical insurance policies, they may not be able to handle the workload that a large group policy may require.

For instance, an insurer that is familiar with insuring schools will know all the in and outs of insuring teachers, as well as the importance of addressing your policy requirements at specific times of the year. After all, schools run on a schedule that other businesses don’t, so getting insurance needs done and dusted before the summer break is important. There are many small aspects like this that need to be considered for every industry, and an insurer unfamiliar with yours is much more likely to overlook something that a more experienced insurer would not.

Claims data analytics

Once you’ve actually secured your policy from your group health insurance company, that isn’t the end of the transaction. A group health policy requires regular communication with your insurer combined with ongoing maintenance. This is because the policy will inevitably be used, and claims will be made on it by your members. The thing about these claims is that they can be studied to give insight into the future of your policy. By establishing claims trends, an experienced insurer can then determine if your benefits are serving you as well as they should, and clue you into any potential premium rises way before they actually happen. As well, plan administrators can be notified by the insurer if your employees aren’t using their insurance enough, or if the plan is used far more than originally thought.

Benchmarking

Once enough data has been collected about your organization, how will you know how you stack up versus similar or competing organizations? A competent group health insurance company or broker will be able to provide exactly this type of information. Pacific Prime, for example, has established such a large portfolio of clients over 17+ years of operation that we can confidently explain to our potential members exactly what kinds of benefits they should have to keep up with competitors or how their plan is performing vis-à-vis others in their sector.

Group health insurance company approach

Despite the above section, even a newer group health insurance company can be effective. Sometimes it’s all about their approach to the market and how they regard their clients that makes all the difference. With this in mind, you should be looking for an insurer with some of the following qualities:

Negotiation

When renewal time comes up for your group health insurance policy, negotiations can be tough. This is one of the main points where utilizing an insurance broker will be of special value to you, as they can help you negotiate terms of your next policy with your group health insurance company. Negotiating on your own, you will not have the unbiased advice that comes with a broker, and it will be on your staff to analyze your claims data to try to recognize if you’re getting a good value with your current plan. Pacific Prime’s mantra during the negotiating process is to always look out for our members’ best interests, and not those of the insurance provider.

Manage premium cost and stability

Going right along with negotiations are managing premium costs. At negotiation time, most of the time a group health insurance company is going to want to raise premiums, as medical costs tend to raise year-over-year and other factors are taken into account. What your organization will want is proof that a premium rise is justified, and that it’s not time to switch to another insurer.

Fortunately for Pacific Prime members, they will be able to address potential premium increases armed with knowledge. They will either know that the increase is appropriate, or they will be able to dispute the rise, backed up with facts and statistics that support their argument. Thereby keeping premiums low and, hopefully, avoiding switching insurers on too frequent a basis.

Customized service teams

Many times people will find that they do not get the service they need from a group health insurance company for one of two reasons. The first is that they are assigned a single person to assist them with their insurance plan. While this person may have all the experience and knowledge in the world, sometimes having only a single point of contact to work with will be overwhelming for them, and your plan performance may suffer as a result.

On the other hand, you could be given access to the entirety of the staff that an insurance company has, yet be left without a particular person to hold accountable. This means that, when you’re in need of insurance advice, you may have to explain who you are and what your problem is to somebody that is not familiar with your organization at all.

To avoid both of these issues, it’s best to find a company to work with that will provide you with a bespoke team that will be very familiar with your organization’s specifics. By having a number of people assigned to you, but also limiting the people responsible for your plan’s performance, a balance between knowledge and responsibility can be maintained.

With all of the above points in mind, we are confident that you will find that Pacific Prime are the insurance experts that you should be working with. Not only do we have all of the points above in spades, as a broker we are also in a unique position to offer you plans from the industry’s top insurers. This will save you much time and energy when searching for a new group health insurance plan, because you will not have to sift through all of the insurers and plans on the market to determine which fits you the best. Our agents will find and present the best available options to you, combined with the advice that you can only get from an experienced, multinational insurance broker.

Our agents are available today to help you find the best possible group health insurance company. Contact us today for a plan comparison and free quote!

Pacific Prime launches new corporate section for global businesses

corporate section

Never ones to rest on our laurels, Pacific Prime Insurance Brokers is proud to announce the launch of a new section on our website, PacificPrime.com! The new corporate section is an enhanced one-stop shop for all business insurance needs! If your company has any questions related to group health insurance, international health insurance or any other related topic, be sure to check out this new section, the homepage of which can be found here.

So what’s on offer? Let’s find out:

Insurance solutions

What kind of group health insurance coverages are out there? In the insurance solutions portion of the corporate section, find out about the various facets of group health insurance plans and why you might want to consider each for your employees. Medical insurance does not just mean coverage for medicine, hospital stays and surgeries. There are a number of other benefits that you can consider. This includes dental, vision, wellness, maternity, disability and life insurances, and more!

Outside of these above solutions that will address the needs of your employees, Pacific Prime also provides in this section information about some of the business-specific benefits that every company should know about, including:

  • Property insurance
  • Liability insurances
  • Group travel and accident insurance
  • Professional indemnity insurance
  • Business interruption insurance

With information on comprehensive medical and corporate insurance solutions, this page is a great place to start when searching for group and corporate insurance information.

Our approach

Lots of companies sell insurance for businesses and other organizations. Where Pacific Prime really shines, however, is in our methodology. With over 17 years of insurance broking experience, we now have the various processes that our members use down pat. Not only in assisting with making claims, but also when going through other planning and analysis. Not only do we provide policy broking service, but also consulting and plan administration, which you may not get with other brokers.

Even our closest competitors cannot match the technological advantages that Pacific Prime provides, including:

  • Census and premium management/accounting tools
  • A claims management tool
  • A document management platform

These in-house systems are all yours to take advantage of at zero additional costs versus going with an insurance company directly.  Check the ‘Our approach’ page to start to find out about why Pacific Prime will be your preferred choice.

Partners

As a corporate insurance broker, everything that we offer is one consideration, but it’s still only one piece of the equation where your insurance needs are concerned. We work with a good number of the world’s best global insurance companies, as well as the most highly regarded local insurers in the countries where our offices are located. Our ‘Partners’ section is the place where corporate members can go to find out more about our relationships with insurers.

Beyond the insurers we work with, you can also find out about some of the prestigious members that have made Pacific Prime their choice for group health and corporate insurance benefits. Learn some of the industries that we have the most experience with, such as professional service firms and schools. Then dig a little deeper to find out how our experience translates to advantages for our members when it comes to negotiating plans with insurers at renewal time or analyzing claims data.

Corporate section resources

The last part of the corporate section to mention is our resources page. Here, for corporate members that like to stay up to date on the latest in international insurance data, Pacific Prime regularly publishes reports related to various important industry trends including the cost of health insurance, international medical insurance inflation, and industry trends. Want to know how insurance in the countries in which your organization operates compares to policies found in other areas? Look no further!

Purchasing corporate insurance is no small decision. Pacific Prime recognizes this and wants to make sure that you are delivered the plan which best fits your needs, at a value that fits your budget. We have created the new corporate section to give a great introduction to what we can offer you, but there really is no better way to figure that out today than to contact us! Do so now and get advice directly from one of our insurance advisors. They can provide you with a plan comparison and free quote.

Health insurance claims: Should you submit them on your own?

health insurance claims

Have you ever had to make health insurance claims on your own? If so, then you likely know how much of a hassle the process of being reimbursed by your insurer can be. If not, then you have a great opportunity to learn about making health insurance claims by checking out Pacific Prime’s new infographic!

‘The Claim Train’ infographic and your health insurance claims

When it comes time to make a claim with your insurance company, in the absence of direct billing you basically have two options for being reimbursed for medical expenses. The first of these is to handle the claim on your own, which will leave you to deal with the insurance company on your own. The other option is to utilize an insurance broker like Pacific Prime. Using a broker has numerous possible benefits that you can find out more about by reading the infographic. In the end, the goal of the infographic is to express the differences among these two claims processes and allow the reader to decide for themselves which method for processing a claim is right for them.

Click here to read ‘The Claim Train’ infographic!

About Pacific Prime Guides

Home to our various infographics, guides and reports, PacificPrime.com’s Guides section is your home for insurance information made for a number of different audiences, be it our members, un-insured individuals, corporations, human resources managers or insurance industry professionals. This section has a little something for everyone:

  • For those new to the ins and outs of insurance, our infographics are great places to learn the basics in a visually appealing way that will aid in achieving full comprehension of important insurance terms and features.
  • Pacific Prime publishes annual reports that are read by insurance professionals around the globe on topics relevant to the international insurance market. These include the Cost of Health Insurance Report, the International Private Medical Insurance Inflation Report, and the Medical Insurance Trends report.
  • Our various regional websites also have guides that are specific to each location. These guides provide solid background information for consumers on topics including maternity insurance, IVF treatment, public and private hospitals, and top-up insurance.

Click here to visit our Prime Guides page!

Or click below for guides for you specific country:
China
Hong Kong
Singapore