Aiming for more balanced relationships with healthcare networks

By on 19 November 2018

Every moment of life is based on insurance and this is undoubtedly even truer internationally. Global citizens (expatriates, globe trotters, students, high-income individuals…) are sometimes far from the well formalized framework of health care of their country of origin, from their country of residence and from their coverage. They evolve in countries whose codes and systems they do not necessarily yet master well, and where care is not always easily accessible, high-qualitative or is above all often extremely expensive.

In the event of an accident or illness, the insured is vulnerable. He is far from home and wants to quickly find a solution for himself and his family. He is also unaware of the health costs that will be incurred. In some countries, health professionals take advantage of this occasional “fragility” to sometimes recommend interventions or treatments that are not medically necessary, and charge inappropriate fees.

That is why we have gradually developed our approach over the years, thus to advise our policyholders on the best institutions and establish a balance in our relations with healthcare professionals. For the planned in advance treatments, we analyze the patient’s situation. If relevant, we propose an alternative solution by recommending a second medical opinion, to provide the best possible support.

Many high-priced hospitalizations, finally proved to be non-medically necessary, were avoided thanks to the intervention of a second (or even a third) medical opinion in the patient’s country. The encouraging results we have obtained with this new approach led us to focus on the implementation of adapted solutions for our customers, beyond simple partnerships with hospitals. That has enabled us to foster lasting and trustworthy relationships with them.

There is still some way to go so that we can clearly be identified by the insured as a privileged contact orienting them and not to give in to the attractive speeches of some healthcare institutions. The ease of word-of-mouth must also be avoided, as it tends to recommend and promote the same healthcare networks, which thus take advantage of the expatriate community to practice abuse.

We definitely are positioning ourselves as a neutral third party of trust between policyholders and healthcare networks, offering objective (counter-)medical advice in order to promote mutual accountability and control of healthcare costs for the benefit of all.

Thanks to this approach, we want to provide the most appropriated care and we present reasonable rates. On the other hand, we want to make the insured aware that controlled consumption of care is part of a responsible approach.

Any insured, internationally especially, must be involved in its health costs by promoting rational consumption of both medical procedures and associated costs. This allows us to control insurance policy costs for the benefit of our policyholders. Let’s remind that international medical inflation has been approaching 10% per year for several years.

Would advice and cost containment lead to a virtuous circle? We answer yes with no hesitation! Saying cost control for the insured is saying balance of the technical results of the contract, therefore better cost control for the insurer. Ultimately, it means better control of the tariff evolutions of this same contract. We’ve come full circle. Rethinking this equation, we are simply calling for the profession to become what we strive to be on a daily basis for our clients. We are their trusted partner, at their side for all their travels wherever in the world.

 

Isabelle Moins