‘Wellness’ is now a real focus for international health insurance providers. The last decade has seen a gradual shift from insurers moving from simply paying healthcare claims to offering a more holistic solution aimed at helping their members to stay fit and healthy. Find out what’s on offer to support your physical and mental well being.

But what do we mean by wellness in the context of international health insurance and why is it beneficial? David Eline, founder of Riviera Expat, investigates.

Not just paying claims

A decade ago, international health insurers offered a simple proposition to their customers: pay your health insurance premiums and we’ll pay for your medical treatment, with no consideration for wellness. The same core offer applies today and insurers are even better at providing this service. They have more extensive medical networks, digital tools and online information make it even easier for policyholders to access the help they need.

And yet, international private medical insurance has moved on. Insurers have recognised that paying for treatment isn’t enough. They now go further to help members make the right lifestyle choices – to stay fitter and healthier.

What wellness options are available on international health insurance plans?

Most insurers have extended their offers to include wellness. Below are just a few examples of the how they go about doing this.

Health risk assessments

Firstly, insurance providers will usually offer members access to a health risk assessment. This is a medical test that identifies if there the patient is experiencing any underlying health issues. The test might spot signs of high blood pressure, cholesterol or another condition that is perhaps more serious – or point to the fact that something might become an issue if the patient does not change their behaviour.

Tests of this nature are very useful for the member. They provide advanced warning of looming health risks, and the opportunity to make changes.

Fitness apps

Smartphone apps are all the rage and health and fitness is one area where they are very popular. Apps can cover many aspects of the wellness spectrum. They can provide members with healthy eating and exercise information, and intelligent tools that facilitate the tracking of progress towards health.

As apps develop, they are also getting smarter. Users can match progress against friends or colleagues, get involved with performance league tables, track their personal data and much more – all features designed to boost motivation.

Allianz Care has recently announced the introduction of a new app called Olive. According to the company, Olive is a fundamental shift from reactive to proactive care, with wellness as one of three focus areas:

  • Empowered health and wellbeing – through digital health and wellbeing tools members can get relevant information, support, set personal health goals and arrange team-wide fitness challenges.
  • Active prevention – identifying the signs of a chronic disease such as diabetes or heart disease, before the condition progresses.
  • Proactive treatment – ‘at risk’ members can attend talks by medical professionals, and be guided to the appropriate care and treatment where progress can be monitored.

It’s not all about physical wellbeing, of course. Mental health has rapidly risen to the top of people’s minds these days too, and some insurers have launched apps to specifically address the challenges people have in this area.

Aetna International has launched Wysa, an app that gives members access to guided mental well-being support. The app features an AI-driven chat function, allowing members to ‘chat’ about their mental well-being via text. Wysa can help people self-manage anxiety, stress and isolation, and direct them toward self-help content. 

It’s worth noting that some apps will only be available to company employees. However, where this is the case, insurers may be tempted to extend access to individual plans where it can be demonstrated they make a real difference to member health outcomes.

Other services to keep you well

Insurers have worked hard to provide a range of other services that, while not as obvious as health risk assessments and wellness apps, all help to provide additional support and keep members fit and healthy.

Medicine translations, for example, are now available in digital forms from many insurance providers. These help to ensure members are getting the correct medication when abroad. Providers also create libraries of self-help information for members on healthy eating and fitness, but also highly authoritative medical information so members know what they are reading is from a trustworthy source.

Summing up…

Wellness is a major focus these days for most international private medical insurers as they pivot their businesses away from simply paying claims to offering a more holistic level of support. So when it comes to choosing the right international health insurance plan, make sure you are getting the support you need.

About Us

Riviera-Expat is a specialist insurance broker operating in the International Private Medical Insurance market. We source quality health insurance cover for expatriates around the world every day. Contact us today to find out more about international health insurance and find the right plan for you and your family.