The Greek national debt is never very far from the headlines, with reports of officials fiddling budget figures, youths rioting in the streets and what seems like a endless increase in the number of unemployed. While all this all seems like a shocking and unacceptable situation for a member of the European Union, a recently published open letter addressed to the Greek Government and written by Greek scholars and physicians, has drawn even more negative attention to the situation and highlighted the number of Greek people suffering due to the increasingly strict measures applied to the Greek Health Care service.
As an expatriate, making sure your health and wellness needs are adequately met is one of the most important things to consider when planning your move abroad. Depending on the country, often times medical facilities and their practices can be very different than what many people are used to in their home country.
One of the best ways to make sure that you are not put in the overwhelming situation of trying to navigate a foreign country’s healthcare system, is by protecting yourself with international health insurance coverage. This will usually cover doctor’s visits, vaccinations, health checks and prescriptions. There are even options to cover other items like chiropractor visits or physiotherapy treatment.
Mosquitoes. Barely larger than a kidney bean and yet responsible for more than half a million deaths every year. Why? Because mosquitoes carry malaria.
There is no malaria vaccine, and it is not possible to eradicate every insect carrier from the face of the earth. These facts alone make malaria an important issue in the world of science and health care, but recently, malaria has been getting even more media coverage – both in terms of positive scientific developments, as well as threatening trends in drug-resistant malaria infections.
By most accounts, now is a great time to be a young person on the health insurance marketplace. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, children can stay on their parents’ insurance plans until the age of 26; state insurance exchanges will make it easier for young people without a job to purchase individual insurance online; and many new insurance plans will be specifically tailored to suit the market of young, healthy buyers looking to pay lower premiums. Read more
The year 2012 may not have been the most flourishing of years for some health insurance companies around the globe, but data for the first quarter of 2013 looks promising for many of the world’s largest, most well-established medical insurance providers. Among those releasing encouraging figures, Cigna, AXA, Munich Health and Allianz, some of the biggest players in the industry are all showing healthy signs of growth.
The 53 European nations of the World Health Organization (WHO) have pledged to combat the spread of measles across the continent and aim to achieve the total elimination of measles by 2015. Experts at the WHO, however, warn that new outbreaks of the disease, as well as too few inoculations across the continent, put this target under threat. The WHO insists that intensive catch-up vaccination campaigns across Europe are necessary to combat recent epidemics and curtail the spread of measles.
In many ways, the Middle East has become, and is becoming, one of the most exciting regions for economic and financial development.
Dubai is in position to not only have the world’s largest Ferris Wheel but also the world’s largest mall. In addition to large commercial attractions, Qatar will also be hosting the 2022 World Cup, another feather in the hat for the region that has seen marked instability during the last few years. However, one of the biggest indicators that show the region is in prime position for substantial growth can be found within the insurance industry, particularly in the health insurance sector.
Global health giant, Aetna, are in the process of making several changes to group plan products and the services that can be offered by employers providing health benefits for their employees.
The first changes will involve Aetna’s WorldTravelerSM plans and will affect both new and existing plans. Firstly, Aetna has done away with its medical maximum payout for prescription drugs. The insurer has also eliminated the annual medical maximum payout for those on the Premier Plus plans. Along with these lifts, for all plans with a dependent care option, dependents can now be included on the policy until they are 26 years old, rather than 18.
As the United Kingdom copes with an aging workforce, employers are becoming more aware of the needs of older workers – especially in terms of health and insurance. According to a 2012 Health of the Workplace report by insurance provider Aviva, 29 percent of UK employers have seen a rise in the average age of employees, and 37 percent expect this trend to continue. The report also found that employers are concerned about giving these older workers access to health care.
Although the United Kingdom has a free, universal health system for all citizens, some people choose to invest in private insurance. UK residents over 55, for example, often opt to purchase a separate health plan in order to cope with a chronic condition such as diabetes or heart disease. By using private insurance rather than relying on the National Health Service, a customer can enjoy shorter waiting times for treatments, schedule doctor appointments in a more timely fashion, and exercise more choice in finding a physician or hospital.
Some employers already offer workers private health insurance, as part of a workplace package to encourage higher caliber employees to join the company. A promise of private health insurance will be even more enticing to potential employees who bring much maturity, skills and experience, but due to their age, want a job that will provide a strong safety net in terms of health care benefits.
One reason for the increasingly older workforce in the UK has been the end of compulsory retirement. Before October 2011, employers could mandate that any workers 65 years of age or older leave the workplace. With the end of compulsory retirement, along with an unstable European economy, more and more employees in the UK are choosing to stay with their jobs past the age of sixty-five. These are exactly the workers to whom private medical insurance will often appeal.
Indeed, private insurance for employees can benefit their employers as well. The Aviva Health of the Workplace study found that 39 percent of employers surveyed had experienced workers unable to function at full capacity due to long waits for medical treatment. With private insurance, a shorter wait time to see a doctor or receive a treatment can mean a more functional employee. This situation is especially true for older workers. The chances of being diagnosed with a chronic disease increase with age, and the group UK Cancer Research has found that more than 50 percent of all cancers occur in people aged 50 to 70 years old.
In a report entitled, “An Aging Workforce: The Employer’s Perspective,” researchers from the Institute for Employment Studies also took a look at the issues surrounding an older workforce. The study points out that around one half of people who decide to retire early do so because of poor health. Many of these people may be managing a chronic illness or suffering from a musculoskeletal disorder; afflictions which can often be improved with access to better health care or a change in working conditions.
The Institute for Employment Studies also notes the need for better information about how employers can help their older employees deal with potential health issues. Older workers can often provide a valuable resource in terms of experience and tacit knowledge, but will often choose jobs that allow for more flexibility when a health problem arises. When employers are more aware of older workers’ needs, the company can run more smoothly.
The issue of an aging workforce in the United Kingdom is becoming especially pronounced thanks to a warning last year from Britain’s CIPD, also known as the world’s largest human resource association. CIPD (the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development) has warned that although around 13.5 million jobs will be created during the next decade, a mere 7 million young people will be entering the workforce. What’s more, estimates from the UK government indicate that by 2020, 36 percent of workers in Great Britain will be 50 years of age or older. With a greater amount of older people in the workforce, and indeed a greater need for older people to stay in the workforce, the question of private medical insurance may become even more important to employers in the near future.
After the recent merge of HTH with Blue Cross Blue Shield, the latest product from the growing company has been launched. It is hoped that the new “GeoBlue” product line, which will replace HTH’s “Global Citizen” plan, will allow for increased brand recognition and the merge is expected to be especially promising for clients in the USA, who will now be able to benefit from Blue Cross Blue Shields vast network of hospitals. Read more
This week, an article published by Kaiser Health News called attention to the issue of colon cancer. Excluding lung cancer, colorectal cancers are responsible for the most cancer-related deaths in the United States; however, the recent media interest in colon cancer has nothing to do with fatality rates – it has to do with health insurance.
In many ways, Europe is more connected than ever: most countries use the same currency, visa-free travel is a breeze, and the presence of the European Union means that legislative decisions are made as a collective. However, when it comes to health care and insurance, every country maintains its own system. Indeed, a slew of recent news stories have served as an important reminder for expats and travelers alike that it is essential to understand the care and insurance situation outside of one’s own country. Read more
With the release of MSH China’s April 1st premium rate adjustments, Globalsurance 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 Gloabalsurance analysts expect that in many cases, the renewal rate will increase for affected plans.
In addition to Bupa’s April 1st premium adjustments for their Premier Worldwide Health Option plan (PWHO), which caters to the China market, the leading health insurance provider has also announced major changes to their child coverage.
Some of these changes have left Globalsurance parents with Bupa plans feeling concerned. Children have typically been separated into two brackets based on age, a 0-6 bracket and a 7-20 bracket. Children that fall into the first bracket are likely to see premium increases of about 25-50%, while children in the older bracket will only see premium increases of around 6%. The result of this decision now makes it more costly to insure a child that is under the age of 6 than one in the 7 to 20 age range.
As more companies look to send employees abroad and as globalization expands across all industries, one issue that exists for all expatriates is the ever-changing healthcare industry. Healthcare is undoubtedly a need for all, yet healthcare facilities and services differ greatly across continents and even countries, resulting in varied healthcare costs all over the world.
The International Federation of Health Plans, or iFHP, recently released its 2012 Comparative Price Report, which offers a comprehensive look at healthcare costs around the globe. The iFHP is an international insurance trade association, which includes more than 100 insurers in 25 countries. Each year, the survey offers a clear, yet surprising look into the real cost of different drugs, services and devices among the 25 represented countries, and this year marks the fourth year of the study. Research is compiled using data from iFHP member plans and helps those in the industry understand why healthcare costs can so greatly vary between countries. Read more
For many Americans, especially healthy and young Americans, health insurance doesn’t exactly make sense. Why pay hundreds of dollars every month for the unlikely eventuality that a sudden illness or injury will occur? Surely there must be a better way; a health insurance system to provide preventative care and a dash of emergency coverage, designed for people who don’t often need to go to the doctor.
Actually, there is such a system – it’s called consumer-directed health care.
The Middle East continues to garner attention as one of the next frontiers for healthcare development, and with it the development of the health insurance industry. As more and more expatriates are relocated to the region, Middle Eastern countries are looking for ways to cope with the new demands that increased foreigners have created. Read more
The Asia Pacific region continues to be the focus for many researchers of the insurance industry, and will even be “the dominant driver of world insurance growth by 2020,” according to a study published by Munich Re’s Economic Research Department. The study predicts that premium income in the insurance industry in the Asia Pacific region is likely to “double by 2020, with more than €1 trillion [$1.292 trillion], nearly half of the estimated additional global primary insurance premiums being generated in Asia-Pacific until 2020 (worldwide €2.2 trillion [$2.8424 trillion]).” Two of the largest contributors to this trend are China and India, which are expected to contribute about 70 percent to these figures.