The global mobility of people shifted the definition of expatriation which is becoming obsolete.
In fact, people move globally because they move from country to country because they travel for business or leisure and for their needs are becoming more and more global.
In addition to this, there is a visible trend towards the regionalization of centers of excellence. Whereby people know that if they incur in need to recieve any specific medical treatment, there are a number of recognized centers of excellence around the world that they need to have access to.
As a result, the traditional concept of health insurance for expatriates in itself is becoming global.
The evolution of international health insurance
If you think about it, there are several forms of insurance today which are already global by definition. In that, if you have your life insurance or your disability insurance in case of an event that triggers that particular insurance, you are covered worldwide.
Healthcare is following the same trend. We are witnessing a transitional private medical insurance. It is a market that keeps growing because the needs of the customers keep evolving and because a wider class of customers are entering this market. They are not defined by their nationality status by the domicile status or by their assignment. They are defined by their needs. Since they live globally and they need a health insurance that follows them and their families wherever they are.
In fact, statistics expect an important growth in the internationally mobile population, an increase from the current 66 million expatriate to 87.5 million by the year 2020.
Moreover, it is imperative that international health insurances advice and assist their clients in navigating the local language and customs and insure comfort at times of stress. They have to provide comprehensive and portable plans for the expat.
In a market of more than 57 million expats, international plans are much more suitable for expats living aborad.
Price is generally higher but when value is considered, this disadvantage quickly recedes. In that, some expats may tempt instead to opt for a local travel policy believing it to offer similar benefits.
Expats have needs and expectations both locally and globally. So integrating global cover and services with the best local options is the ideal solution.
Do you know the difference ?
Travel insurance covers lost luggage, flight cancellations and emergency and /or short term medical treatment.
In fact, international health insurance covers a multitude of areas including medical emergency cover, doctor’s visits, maternity care and the treatment of on-going or chronic conditions.
On the other hand, it covers non-medical costs such as transportation or repatriation.
In fact, it is a service tailored for individuals and their families living abroad. Inevitably it costs more but this reflects the level of cover it provides.
Knowing that healthcare costs vary from country to country, some countries impose a clear healthcare plan for the visa application such as UK, Australia or the USA.
Moreover, each country imposes its own economic sanctions and most financial sanctions regimes are more complex than a simple embargo. International Health Plan must comply with local laws and regulations and local needs that differ considerably from country to country.
Technology is the new key
A new trend is booming : the intervention of technology and innovation as well as the entry of the digital tools are considered as an innovation in the health treatment processes, thus the future of health insurance.
The digitalisation of the insurance sector catalized the development of the market. As a result, it facilitated the access to information and care through mobile applications and innovations such as virtual health, telemedicine and virtual GP services. Data will also drive more accurate underwriting and wellness solutions at an individual customer level. The days of the fully personalised cover are not far off.
One of the key changes is forshadowed in the proactive approach that is the focus on keeping the customer well and healthy within a proactive engagement with customers to lead them towards long and healthy lives. Which is absolutely not the case with Travel Insurance.
Global mobility needs international medical insurance irrespective of people’s national status or residency. Local nationals, expats, and global nomads are driving demand for International Health insurance products well beyond any residency classification.
Compulsory insurance, voluntary top-up covers, differences between what you can sell to locals and expatriates, rules on overseas investors, compulsory local partnerships and economic sanctions are all things that insurers and brokers must understand.
Technology, innovation in health treatment and digitisation of processes are also powerful shapers of the future of international health insurance.