International Insurer Globality Health recently announced some changes in their YouGenio, YouGenio World and CoGenio plans, including adjustments on premiums and updated waiting periods for maternity benefits. However, the most important change is the significant premium increases that are mainly affecting clients based in Asia. Several updates for individual plans are effective immediately and others take effect on January 1st 2014. The changes for corporate plans will take effect in 2014.
Globality's YouGenio World is an international private insurance health plan suitable for individuals and families. YouGenio World offers four plan levels according to the type and amount of benefits: Essential, Classic, Plus and Top. The plan was previously known only as Globality YouGenio, but early this year it was replaced with Globality YouGenio World and Globality YouGenio for Germany.
The most recent change for this year is that, starting in October 1st, 2013 and until January 2014, YouGenio World Plus and Top plans will no longer be made available for expatriates of whose host country is located within pricing Zone 2, including China, Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Macau. Globality suggests that clients in Zone 2 could consider purchasing Essential or Classic cover (their availability is unchanged) or using the Zone 1 option (worldwide including USA) which includes enhanced benefits. However, if the client starts a worldwide (excluding USA) plan outside and later moves into Zone 2, they can still continue with the policy there.
This suspension is due to Globality reviewing pricing and benefits for the Top and Plus level in Zone 2. Two changes which start from January 1st stand out for this specific pricing zone: Israel will be in pricing Zone 2 and the premium increase for the two upper plan levels on YouGenio World plans will be 85%.
Why such a significant increase in Asia?
Effective 1st January, 2014, the YouGenio World plan in Plus and Top levels will have a premium increase of 85%. At the same time the Classic level will have a premium increase of 12%, and the Essential level with 18%. The old YouGenio plan for Zone B (worldwide excluding USA) will increase the premiums by 100%. The general benchmark for premiums increase in the international health insurance industry is only 10% annually, meaning that Globality's changes here are indeed unusual. The company itself has stated that "premium increases in significant excess of medical inflation are never welcome, but often necessary". Let's try to explain why these were necessary in this particular case.
YouGenio and CoGenio are the core products of Globalty, both of which launched in 2009, designed for clients in Europe. With the plans having performed well in the European region, Globality launched YouGenio and CoGenio in Asian markets, though without adjusting the products to the particular characteristics of clients in this region. Globality extended their platform to meet the Asian markets and the benefits of their plan were really attractive. Eventually, however, these benefits were not sustainable over time. They started to have serious claims problems in China and the medical costs in the region began to increase. Afterward, Globality made several changes to the policies, including a recent drastic premium increase of 35%.
Currently the company is restructuring internally with an extreme IT/software upgrade for their service platform. Additionally, in the near future they will launch a plan specially targeted to the Asian market. Re-designing the Top and Plus level to fit the requirements of countries within Pricing Zone 2 is a major priority for the insurer.
At the same time, Globality understands that the 100% YouGenio Zone B price increase will encourage policyholders to consider other options. To counteract this, Globality has stated that if old clients migrate to YouGenio World plans available in their residence zone at equivalent or lower level and with no additional underwriting, "underwriting-free migration on renewal remains available and prior years will be credited towards the new waiting periods".
The changes for 2014
Effective in January 1st, 2014, YouGenio World plan in Classic, Essential, Plus and Top levels will increase 30% in Zone 3 and 9.5% in Zones 1, 4 and 5.
For clients renewing the old YouGenio plans, the price increases will be 9.5% for Zones A and C. As we already mentioned, the premiums within Zone B will increase 100%. The YouGenio plan has two Geographical Areas (I and II). The Area I contains the pricing zone A (worldwide including USA). The Area II has the pricing zone B (worldwide excluding USA) and zone C (worldwide excluding USA, Hong Kong, China, Singapore and Taiwan). YouGenio provides lifetime benefit and renewability guarantees, which all remain in place.
This year Globality re-set the YouGenio product range policy review from 1st December to 1st January. As a result, any premium and product adjustments will be applied to any YouGenio and YouGenio World renewal occurring on or after 1st January 2014 opposite to its normal December increase. This means that clients with renewal in December will actually have 0% increase. Of course, the next year they won't be safe from higher premiums.
Waiting period for Maternity will be 12 or 24 months
One of the most attractive benefits for customers when the YouGenio was launched was the no waiting period for maternity cover. However, through the years, Globality have had to make adjustments to the plan, and have placed higher restrictions on the eligibility to receive this benefit. Starting January 1st, 2014 the waiting period for maternity will be extended from 10 months to 12 months where two persons over the age of 18 are insured under the same policy. If there is only one adult on the plan, the maternity waiting period will be 24 months.
Germany and corporate plan adjustments
YouGenio for Germany is the individual health insurance option designed by Globality and specifically targeted for citizens in this country. The pricing Zone A and C will be increased by 9.5% on average. Premiums for pricing Zone B will increase 16%.
Globality CoGenio is a healthcare insurance plan with flexible underwriting solutions for companies. CoGenio contracts with a renewal date after December 31st, 2013 will increase by 9%.