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Global Health Lines Redrawn



The radical growth of emerging economies has forced international healthcare countries to reorganize the way the world has been divided up into different patterns.

Pre 2000 the majority of insurance companies would have separated the world into two sections.  One way was the world without the USA and the other was the entire world which included the USA and it was also a regular occurrence that Europe would be treated as a separate entity also.  The rise of China has changed this outlook.

Once dwellers of the globe economic backwater, China is now set to rival the US as a leading economy.  It is also likely to rival the US in terms of medical expenses too – at least for the ex-pat community living there.  The medicine bills whilst living in China far surpass the other BRIC countries such as Brazil, Russia, and India.

The rise of the Far East has been distinct and quick and is mostly highlighted in the expectant levels of care that ex-pats expect.  People expect the same level of care that they receive in their home nations – especially on the current rates that some are forced into paying.

In the United Arab Emirates (UAE) it is the norm that customers expected that they have their medical bills settled in full, it wouldn’t be the policyholder but the insurance company who would pay the medical facility directly.  Whereas in other places, such as Asia, the patient would be responsible for paying the medical bills and they would be reimbursed by the insurance provider.

Insurers have to adapt, and quickly, to these situations and make payment arrangements with hospitals and clinicians.  In addition, premiums have been increased for people living out of Beijing and other Eastern locations.

The size of a company’s database largely determines the level of which it can set premiums in accordance with risk also.  The greater an insurance company’s base means it can be easier to establish settlement teams, who take care of customers’ claims etc.

Hospitals, like hotels, need a constant flow of people through their doors in order to make money.  To do this they reward insurers accordingly so this means that smaller insurance companies will have to depend on using traditional methods such as great customer service and niche benefits.

The international health markets have never been more competitive and are continually looking at ways to improve the health of their foreign-based subscribers.  Although the prices of ex-pat health insurance packages are becoming more expensive it can be argued that the quality of care received in formerly known ‘lesser’ countries is improving.