New health insurance covers risky NGO work

Cigna NGO plans

Cigna launches its new international insurance product for NGO workers.

Cigna has launched a new coverage plan for North American non-governmental organisations (NGOs) with employees who work around the world. The new plan, ProtectN’GO, will give NGO workers access to one million doctors and hospitals around the globe.

ProtectN’GO also offers 24/7 multilingual support centres located in three time zones. This is in addition to access to local care, and a range of wellness programmes including an international Employee Assistance Programme (EAP). Cigna also offers CoverN’GO, a European benefits plan for European NGOs.

Workers covered by ProtectN’GO have access to a customized online resource, Cigna Envoy. Clients can easily find a doctor in their area, make and track claims, look up and translate medical terms, and sign up for electronic funds transfers to deposit and pay claim reimbursements. There is also a directory of useful information for 200 regions worldwide.

The launch of this product comes after a recent study highlighted the health risks many NGO workers face. The study, from the University of Glasgow, discovered a significant proportion of the rats and mice in Nairobi’s Kibera slum – one of the largest in the world – were carrying Leptospira bacteria in their kidneys.

The bacteria can be passed to humans through contact with urine causing the disease leptospirosis which in mild forms results in fever, headache and nausea, or in serious cases can cause organ damage – when it is more commonly known as Weil’s disease.

Over half (60%) of the households in Kibera reported seeing groups of five or more rodents in their houses every day. Studies such as these highlight the importance of work being carried out by NGOs in developing countries such as Kenya. They also demonstrate how vital robust health insurance is for NGO employees.

Commenting on the research Debbie Purser, managing director of international medical insurance specialists MediCare International said, “For NGO teams, ready access to good quality international private healthcare for front line staff is essential, as the speed with which a patient is treated is often a factor in how quickly and fully they can recover.”