UnitedHealth continues aggressive international expansion

international insurer expansion

As the US insurance market gets squeezed, providers look to international opportunities.

UnitedHealthcare International is a part of the American insurer, UnitedHealth Group Inc. UnitedHealth has been partnering with local insurance groups to expand its operations around the world.

To help drive this expansion, UnitedHealthcare International has announced a global health insurance programme, Global Solutions. The programme will be available for all employers, big and small, based internationally.

In the Czech Republic, UnitedHealth has teamed up with Maxima Insurance to provide international health coverage in the region. They aim to target expats who need medical insurance as part of their visa requirements.

In addition to this partnership, the group is also making headway in Africa. Joining with the Medical Services Organisation in South Africa, UnitedHealth will provide a cashless claims service. This service will be extended over 30 African countries.

The trend continues in South America; UnitedHealth bought Amil Participações S.A of Brazil in 2012. The deal, worth US$4.9 billion, was seen as a “bold move into a fast-growing market” by analysts. Amil is Brazil’s largest insurance provider and hospital operator.

The long-term strategy of UnitedHealth is to continue its expansion into international markets, which provide a healthy margin. While in the U.S. domestic market, growth is facing pressure from new regulations, in international markets there is less competition. In the future more international deals look set to appear as domestic insurers seek to achieve greater top line growth.

New health regulations stemming from the healthcare reforms has also led to other insurers, Aetna, Cigna, and Humana to look for business overseas.