Posted on Apr 19, 2013 by Sergio Ulloa
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.
Blue Cross Blue Shield is one of the most recognized and largest PPOs (preferred provider oganizations) in the USA, making it one of the country's most successful health insurance companies. There have been only small changes made to HTH's original Global Citizen plan, allowing the new GeoBlue range of products to expand both internationally, and domestically in the USA.
Previously, HTH worked with Aetna for PPO services in the USA
. Despite the fact that Aetna is also well-established in the country, the policies did not see the same success and recognition as other established competitors. This is believed to be because of the labelling of internationals plans under the HTH label, which is still a relatively new name in the industry. Now, as HTH begins its collaboration with Blue Cross Blue Shield, many analysts expect that the brand will now be more recognizable. This is seen as a key component to ensuring strong international growth.
With this merger, the GeoBlue plan is set to compete with other top US health insurance products from companies that are also looking to expand internationally, mainly Aetna and Cigna. With the purchase of the UK-based health insurer "Goodhealth" in 2007, Aetna began expanding its product offerings to individuals internationally about 6 years ago.
While Cigna has been offering international corporate plans since the 1970s, they have only recently entered the IPMI, or individual private medical insurance sector. The company's "Global Health Options" product range only entered the market in 2011, followed by the launch of their more cost-friendly "Advance" plan just last year.
The Blue Cross Blue Shield brand is an association that includes more than 38 companies and competes with some of the best and most widely trusted health insurance companies in the USA. The company has a long history that dates back to the 1920s, when the launch of "prepaid hospital plans was originally launched by Blue Cross Blue Shield's predecessor, Blue Health.
Blue Cross and Blue Shield merged in 1982, which resulted in a company that has experienced great success and now covers more than 100 million Americans today. Blue Cross Blue Shield now provides health coverage for 76% of fortune 500 companies, 86% of fortune 100 companies. In addition, the company is a main provider for many US government programs, including Medicare and Medicaid, which covers the elderly and low-income people. Other government programs that the company services includes the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program, the State Children's Health Insurance Program, the Military Health system and the Veterans health Administration among others.
HTH's rebranding of the GeoBlue plan will not be an easy task, yet those within the company feel confident the hard work will be well worth the payoff in the long run.
Brendan Sharkey from HTH commented: "...the re-branding is a complex process that involves a lot of work to comply on a state-by-state basis. This is the price we pay for marketing superior international health insurance products that meet state mandates and offer consumers and brokers the protection they value."
The HTH/GeoBlue products that are on offer have many distinctive and unique features when compared with other private expatriate-oriented health insurers, in that the GeoBlue line is well-suited for the US market. The GeoBlue products cover US nationals outside the USA, or non-US citizens who legally reside in the USA. This is very helpful for HTH's customers, as the company is one of the few insurance providers that completely comply with US laws and legislation. Many other US-based insurers opt to base their international plans in other countries.
Globalsurance analysts feel positive about the recent merger and believe that the new GeoBlue plan will meet the needs of many customers as well as help HTH to significantly develop its portfolio, thanks to the brand recognition associated with one of the world's biggest insurance companies.