As a result, more and more workforces are becoming globally mobile. It is therefore more important now than ever for employers to think carefully about the healthcare requirements of their employees, particularly as this can be a key differentiator in recruitment and talent retention.
Below, I’ll outline some of the challenges and changes that we’re seeing in the international private medical insurance (IPMI) market from now, to 2018 and beyond.
Around the world, ageing populations and a rise in lifestyle related diseases, among other things, means that healthcare costs are rising. Market change is also impacting the structure of many insurance schemes, based on the evolving needs of the customer audience and a variety of changes to legislation.
For example, in Dubai new legislation has recently been introduced making it a requirement for all private businesses to provide health insurance to their employees. Consequently, we expect this trend to continue and anticipate a rise in the regulation of mandatory insurance.
Customer needs are evolving and our business with them. Whilst treatment for ill health is a core component of our offering, employees are seeking value whilst they’re healthy – through tools and services that help them to maintain and improve their wellbeing.
At Bupa Global, we take a holistic approach and offer features and complementary initiatives to help employers provide a healthy working environment for their employees, like regular health checks.
Businesses and employees are also changing their attitudes towards how treatment is delivered abroad. In the past, the expectation was that employees were flown home to receive treatment. But people want access to treatment and additional wellbeing tools, wherever they are. This means that insurers need to offer a large network of providers; giving them access to the right care at the right time and place.
In addition, areas of healthcare cover are changing too. There is now much more awareness and focus on mental health. Having access to flexible, tailored packages that provides support for any health challenges – mental or physical – is key for customers.
Whilst IPMI is more in demand than ever before, providers increasingly face issues from a legislative, socioeconomic and geopolitical perspective; meaning the industry must flex and adapt to meet these challenges head-on.
Insurers can support their customers and help them to meet increased employee expectations, for example by providing workplace wellbeing initiatives which encourage staff to take an active role in their own health and well-being. In addition to this, maintaining a truly global network of providers means that employees know they can access the same standard of care, no matter where they are.
As we look ahead to 2018, our main challenge is that globally mobile, globally minded people will demand cover that meets their needs and fits their lifestyles. Insurers need to consider the varied needs of customers and offer tailored policies rather than having a one-size-fits-all approach, if they want to capitalise on the growing demand for IPMI, and continue to provide expert support for their clients.
We also expect to see customers continuing to seek health cover and additional wellbeing benefits close to where they are based, rather than wanting to travel back home for care. Healthcare providers will have to continue providing innovative products that meet these ever-changing needs.