Business Times – 17 May 2008
Schemes let insured access clinics, hospitals globally
By GENEVIEVE CUA
RAFFLES Medical Group has tied up with Bupa International, one of the world’s largest international health insurers, to offer co-branded health plans for mobile executives.The partnership is with Raffles subsidiary International Medical Insurers (IMI), which offers group and individual health plans. The bulk of IMI’s 70,000 clients or members are insured under its group health schemes. About 10-15 per cent are in individual schemes.
IMI has secured a life insurance licence, which allows it to offer long-term health plans that are guaranteed renewable. The firm plans to enter the Shield market this year.
On international health plans, IMI general manager Dr Yii Hee Seng said: ‘Demand is increasing, as growing affluence in the region has made transnational mobility more common. We want to provide customers with peace of mind and the flexibility of having insurance coverage anywhere in the world.’
Through Bupa’s plans, the insured can have access to a global network of 5,500 hospitals and clinics. Treatment can be on a cashless basis unlike most other insurance plans, where the patient must pay upfront and seek reimbursement later.
Bupa International global sales director Tim Slee said Asia accounts for 10-15 per cent of the group’s international business. ‘But in terms of the percentage growth, it’s the fastest-growing region.’
Bupa and IMI plan to launch new plans for individuals next year. Dr Yii said: ‘The plans will be more modular offerings. People will have the ability to build their own solutions.’
On whether Bupa’s plans are guaranteed renewable, Mr Slee said: ‘The way Bupa operates is we don’t use those words in our contracts. But in our years of business, Bupa has never refused to reinsure an existing member if (he or she) was not acting fraudulently.’