Healthcare and well-being will be the focus of companies and HR departments in 2014, predicts Jelf Employee Benefits. Companies with auto-enrollment (AE) behind them will switch their focus from pensions to other benefits, particularly health and well-being.
Cash plan and iPMI sectors will also see continued growth as companies seek to provide benefits for those who do not receive private medical insurance (PMI). However, Jelf also expects to see fewer excess discounts for PMI schemes were companies also provide cash plans.
Areas of dissatisfaction among the mobile workforce could jeopardise the success of their overseas assignment and lessen the return on investment for employers, says a new report out this week.
The survey from Cigna and the National Foreign Trade Council (NFTC) has highlighted the fact many expat workers are unaware of the benefits and assistance available to help them with their overseas assignment. It is estimated up to a third of international assignments fail due to family stress, burn-out, increased workloads, and cultural differences. These problems occur despite significant investment from multinational companies, estimated at almost three to five times that of the employee’s salary.
World Aids Day was on Sunday (1 December), so what better time to reflect on how far the fight against HIV/AIDS has come in recent decades. A disease that once signified a death-sentence is slowly but surely in decline and an end to the most destructive pandemic in human history is no longer unimaginable.
On the whole, HIV sufferers are living longer, more fulfilled lives. However, those most at risk of contracting the virus; sex workers, users of intravenous drugs and homosexual men, still face daily stigma from society at large.
Maybe surprisingly, it has been reported that the number of new cases in some European countries has actually been increasing. In the current period of austerity challenging much of the continent, treatment and services have fallen victim to government cuts.
International health news
- Blood test to detect bowel cancer – Bowel cancer is the third most common cancer in the UK, a new blood test can detect 85% of cases.
- Infant HIV decreases, teen AIDS deaths rise – A UNICEF study reveals thousands of children have been saved from contracting HIV in low- and middle-income countries.
- Morning after pill “fails in obese” – Concerns have been raised after a study showed the emergency contraceptive pill may be ineffective in women over 80kg.
A new law has made it compulsory for all companies to provide health insurance for employees in Dubai. The new plans which will be introduced over the next three years will mean all companies must provide at least an “essential benefits package” for employees.
The Health Insurance Law, passed this week by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, has been widely applauded by the medical industry.
“I think the insurance scheme is a giant leap forward for the country,” David Hadley, chief executive of health provider Mediclinic Middle East told The National. “It is going to give greater access to affordable healthcare for more people.”
The government will remain responsible for local citizens, who are estimated to make up less than a fifth of the population. Official estimates say only 40-50% of Dubai’s population are currently covered by private or state health insurance.
Jelf Employee Benefits is focusing its international business with the launch of Jelf International. While Jelf currently provides international support, this new business will be a stand-alone entity rather than a supplement to its UK benefits consultancy.
Jelf International has been created in response to the growth and increasing complexity of international employee benefits, explained Jelf in a release. The aims of the new business are to emphasise the range of holistic options available to employees, broaden the range of products available, and underline the importance of specialist international advice.
Aetna International has announced it has agreed to acquire UK-based InterGlobal from a group led by its majority shareholder, Alchemy Partner.
The acquisition will expand Aetna’s reach in growing markets and boost their current international membership of 500,000. InterGlobal has over 65,000 members around the world, and specializes in both group and individual iPMI plans in the Middle East, Europe, Asia, and Africa.
“The addition of InterGlobal to Aetna’s international business will expand our footprint in fast-growing geographies, increase our membership and enhance our international penetration with individual, small and mid-sized business customers,” said Mark T. Bertolini, Aetna chairman, CEO and president.
International health news
- Bats are a “disease reservoir” - Fruit bats harbour more deadly diseases than previously thought, several deadly outbreaks can be traced back to bats.
- Amazon workers “increased mental illness risk”- Employee stress levels in an Amazon warehouse over the Christmas period raise the risk of illness.
- Cataracts leading blindness cause in poor countries - In high-income countries cataracts were reported as being the least common cause of blindness.
The Ingle Group has announced the opening of a new office in Sao Paulo, Brazil. This will be a welcome addition to the Group’s recent expansion into Chile and Argentina.
The South American offices will run alongside Ingle International’s existing operations in Canada, the US, and Mexico in the Americas, as well as France, Germany, the UK, and Malta in Europe. Ingle International has been providing international insurance options to travellers, students, and expats for nearly 60 years.
Luxembourg’s Globality Health and Copenhagen-based corporate travel insurers Europaeiske ERV have formed a new partnership. The deal looks set to expand their geographical reach and product range.
The collaboration, based on client requirements, will expand the travel and expat insurance portfolios of both companies. Listening to their clients, who often require corporate expatriate insurance and corporate travel insurance packages, both providers are working together to create a combined expat and travel insurance product.