Allianz is also changing its premium zones with the inclusion of three new areas titled K, L, and M, to provide more targeted and relevant premiums to customers. This is good news for many with over 70 countries going down in price zone (with an average reduction of 10 percent) and only 3 countries going up in price zone (see appendix A below). The zonal pricing reflects the relative price of healthcare in countries and regions which have similar medical costs. A bulk of the countries affected have been moved from the J zone of Allianz plans and are now grouped together in the K zone - the result of which will see policyholders in countries such as Belarus, Czech Republic, and Egypt (for example) have lower premium increases than they would have been hit with should those countries have remained within their previous pricing areas.
While the shakeup of the zonal pricing of Allianz plans will affect policyholders, in a majority of customer's cases this will actually be to their benefit. One of the reasons that Allianz has a lower rate of premium inflation than many other insurers within the international health insurance industry is due to the different price structure resident expatriates will see dependent on where they are residing.
Claude Daboul, Director of Sales, Marketing and Operations at Allianz Worldwide Care stated, "As a client-focused business, we work very hard to restrict the impact of medical inflation on client premiums, across all markets. Proactively monitoring and managing the cost of medical treatment and associated services enables us to contain costs for our clients and maintain affordable premiums."
Further to ensuring that policy premiums are more targeted towards the relative risk associated with healthcare costs in countries around the world, Allianz is also expanding policy flexibility through the inclusion of six new deductible (excess) options for In-patient Core Plans. This will enable customers to ensure that their policy is able to further meet their individual needs by providing a more comprehensive range of options with regards to healthcare payment.
Additionally, under an Allianz Worldwide Care policy it is now possible to add a newborn child to the plan where the child is the product of a surrogate pregnancy. This change also includes full medical underwriting for the infant, and comes with the ability to add a child to either the mother's or father's plan after 6 months from purchase in order to waive any medical underwriting which may have an impact on issues like pre-existing or congenital birth conditions.
However, it should be noted that Allianz has changed the language on its plan with respect to some exclusions and benefits. For example, Allianz Worldwide Care policies will continue to exclude coverage for treatment related to Sleep Disorders, including treatment for insomnia, but from November 2012 investigations into the causation of sleep disorders will be covered.
Additionally, coverage for the Care or Treatment of drug addiction or alcoholism will remain to be excluded and from November 2012, smoking cessation treatments will also be excluded.
Furthermore, the language on Prescription Drug coverage has been tightened to ensure that medication received by the policyholder must be effective for the condition being treated - which may pose some concerns for policyholders currently using medications for off-label treatments. The exact scope of this change is yet to be realized, and the impact on policyholders is currently unknown, but Pacific Prime analysts forecast that any detrimental effects (should they exist) are likely to be relatively small.
Finally, it should be noted that Allianz Worldwide Care policyholders whose plans are settled with Swiss Francs (CHF) will experience a decrease of 13 percent across their premiums and deductibles largely due to currency fluctuations.
Allianz is continuing the strong wave of innovation which has been seen in the company's products over the last 5 years, and is proving that as a company it is committed to providing policyholders with the best coverage and highest levels of service possible.
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