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MSH China Releases Steady Premium Adjustments and Increased Benefits for 2013

Posted on Apr 03, 2013 by Sergio Ulloa ()

With the release of the MSH China's April 1st premium rate adjustments, Pacific Prime is pleased to report a stable increase of 10.5% across the board of all plan options. While this increase is in line with the market average, coverage adjustments have been made to certain benefits. These adjustments should not have a large impact on plan renewability, but Pacific Prime analysts expect that in many cases, the renewal rate will increase for affected plans.

MSH China have recently become one of the largest providers of both individual and corporate medical insurance in China, primarily due to the release of their Advance plan that was specifically designed for expatriates and high net worth locals in China. Today, MSH China has continued to improve the plan and is still finding ways in which to make benefits more in line with internationally based plans, as opposed to those based just in China. 

Pacific Prime regularly carries out in depth benefits analysis with all of the insurers it works with so as to ensure all products maintain their value in the current market. MSH China have specifically sought advice regarding ways in which to make their plans more successful internationally and some minor changes were recommended. As a result, many of Pacific Prime clients paired with MSH China policies are enjoying increased coverage levels.

One of the biggest changes that has occurred so far this year involves the overall maximum annual benefit that has now been extended to cover RMB 16M for the higher International Plus and Worldwide plans. Further to this, clients can now enjoy an Outpatient Maximum benefit that has been extended from RMB 60,000 to RMB 80,000 along with an extension of the benefit for maintenance of a chronic condition to RMB 200,000 per year instead of the previous RMB 500,000 lifetime limit. A similar change has also been made to the Inpatient Mental health benefit which now has an annual financial limit of RMB 50,000, though this will only apply on a 180 day maximum basis for treatment.

MSH China have also altered their Traditional Chinese Medicine benefit to vary in coverage and, depending on which hospital is chosen when receiving treatment at local government run facilities, it may be possible to receive full cover. However, coverage for treatment received in private facilities not listed, as well as other more costly facilities, will be limited to RMB 300 per year and a maximum of 20 visits.

For China based policies, such as MSH China's Advance Plan, it is very common to give clients the option to place restrictions on receiving treatment at high cost providers so as to try and bring the premium down for those who do not need to attend expensive foreign facilities. In China, some of the most expensive hospitals in the world operate right alongside those with incredibly low costs, sometimes even within the same building.

Generally speaking, internationally based plans will cover treatment in full at any facility without specific exclusions or limits at the more expensive medical providers. One of the more popular options with the MSH China Advance plan, is the ability to place a 20% co-payment on high cost providers to lower a clients overall premium. However, if MSH China wishes to offer this plan at an international level, they will need to consider inclusion of full cover at all facilities and factor this into their costing matrix.

With MSH China's current Advance plan, in order to include cover for maternity treatment, there must be two adults on the plan both paying maternity rates. This design feature helps to ensure protection in China against exorbitantly high costs for maternity treatment at the popular western facilities. However, despite this, MSH China have still increased rates for the maternity benefit up to RMB 68,000 and have removed any further co-payments to be paid by the client after the routine benefit of RMB 68,000 has been exhausted. Previously, MSH China would cover 50% of the maternity benefit past the routine limit, but this will no longer be the case after April 1st.

Another popular feature of the MSH China Advance plan is the ability to restrict coverage within the Greater China region only, referring to cover in Mainland China, Hong Kong,Taiwan and Macau only. Whilst beneficial to many residing in the area, this option contradicts one of the most important features of internationals private medical insurance: portability. With this feature, a client could move with their plan while in China with restricted area of cover, though if they were to later move to another area of the world, they would need to upgrade their plan to include the wider area of cover. This would also unfortunately result in new medical underwriting, so they would not have continuation of cover for any conditions they may have developed during their previous plan. This will be an issue of key importance to consider should MSH China wish to attract the international market.

Pacific Prime spoke very closely with MSH China regarding these points of consideration and clients should be pleased to know that these issues are of great importance to MSH China who hope to make their plans as sustainable for the future as possible. MSH China have already begun looking for an external partner to process plans for clients not living in China, and with the experience of MSH France (the parent company of the MSH China plans) on their side, access to their international network of hospitals will ensure comfort for MSH China clients going forward, knowing they will receive the level of international cover that has come to be expected from such a prolific insurer. 
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