Mercer Marsh Benefits, a partnership between global professional services firms, Mercer and Marsh, launches International Health First™ today in Hong Kong, Singapore and China to allow employers to work with dedicated specialists to determine the best approach on the design and delivery of benefit solutions for their employees. In conjunction, Mercer Marsh Benefits also launches International Health First™ for Small Groups, a high-end medical solution for companies with fewer than 50 employees, looking to insure their staff with comprehensive coverage and provide access to the best quality medical services.
As globalization continues to evolve, organizations are pooling their talent from where the expertise is, which can be from anywhere across the globe causing a very diverse employee population across Asia. “With this shift in the makeup of employee profiles, offering traditional local packages may not be a sufficient differentiation for employers to attract and retain talent and also to meet both the current and future needs of employees,” said Arthur Lee, Hong Kong Business Leader, Mercer Marsh Benefits.
Providing competitive and cost-effective benefit programs for globally mobile employees, or expats, who have increasingly high expectations of their employers when it comes to providing quality health care benefits, is challenging. For example, in Singapore, expats currently need to cover extra costs themselves given they do not qualify for local schemes and end up paying 50% more on medical coverage over locals. According to Mercer’s 2016 Alternative International Assignments and Policies (AIA) Survey, the medical plans provided to local nationals and foreign nationals do not differ, with nearly all survey respondents stating that they provide the same type of coverage for both groups. Expats are looking to their employers to adopt a consistent approach to their benefits offerings in all countries in which they operate.
Additionally, locals also expect higher quality coverage providing more options, in terms of access to private hospitals/ specialists and coverage when working abroad. Currently, many local schemes do not provide complete cover for their employees, implementing imposed limits and co-pay arrangements which can have a material financial impact if they suffer from major medical conditions.
“Health care consumption rates are increasing at an alarming speed, driving up premiums and creating new challenges for international employers seeking to manage their benefits spend effectively,” said Neil Narale, Singapore Business Leader, Mercer Marsh Benefits. “International Health First™ assesses companies’ data to create a customized program that meets the needs of their globally mobile workforce while ensuring that the program is sustainable and delivers value” added Neil.
An instrumental component of both International Health First™ programs is dedicated and proactive relationship management. It provides employers with regular analytical scheme and performance management meetings, with experts in customer service and dispute resolution, ensuring the international program meets expectation and the employees receive the care they deserve.
Key features of International Health First™:
- Solutions That Meet Employees’ Health Needs: Tailored health solutions and products that meet the needs of a globally mobile workforce, helping employers create a well-structured benefits program that consistently delivers the value the employees expect.
- Dedicated International Benefits Experts: With more than 700 employee benefits experts in 17 countries across Asia — matching requirements with select high-quality partners.
- Data Analytics: Conduct deep-dive claims analyses of the international high-end medical plans against a number of metrics, including employee demographics, working locations, health risk profiles and travel patterns — making utilization more transparent.
- Cost Containment: Using the results from the claims data analysis to make strategic recommendations for plan design, wellness innovations and vendor management — all aimed at keeping costs down.
- Strategic Partnerships with Insurers: An established network of partnerships with top vendors and insurers gives companies access to a higher level of international health care.
“For small to midsize employers, it will be even more challenging to provide competitive and cost-effective benefits programs that protect globally mobile employees or non-resident employees against such out-of-pocket costs in Asia,” added Neil. “International Health First™ for Small Groups is a comprehensive and flexible benefits solution that can meet a variety of budgets and needs, delivering employee choice while providing necessary expertise. The solution offers coverage both at home and abroad, with a choice of private hospitals.”
Key features of International Health First™ for Small Groups:
- Choice: Comprehensive flexible benefits solution to meet a variety of employee needs.
- Enhanced Underwriting Terms: New coverage criteria options to cater to a variety of employee population types.
- Improved Claims Processing: Electronic claims filing for a more enhanced user experience.
- Portability: Option to convert to an individual plan.
- Competitive Pricing: Balance of price and quality of coverage to protect employees against out-of-pocket costs.
- Trustworthy Provider: World class underwriting support.
“Mercer Marsh Benefits works with insurers on an ongoing basis to enhance their approach to capturing data and identify gaps in their reporting processes. These regular reviews not only result in higher-quality data and analysis, but also lead to better management of the services delivered by insurers and improved program outcomes. With globalization, companies need to be ready for a competitive health plan for their employees who are likely to travel and relocate on a regular basis,” concluded Michel Faucher, Growth Markets Health Leader, Mercer Marsh Benefits.
For more information about International Health First™ visit www.international-health-first.com