Industry News: Volume 9, Issue 11

Hello Alvin and epay Launch Direct 24/7 Access to Healthcare via Any Mobile Device: Nation’s 1st Mobile Healthcare Option In Retail Targeting 22,000+ Retailers

  • First mobile healthcare retail offering of its kind to consumers
  • Includes access to Teladoc (NYSE: TDOC) telehealth physician network
  • Includes unlimited use of Registered Nurse Line and Email-a-Doctor services

NEW YORK & LEAWOOD, Kan.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Hello Alvin, a mobile healthcare network providing consumers and their families direct access to quality, affordable healthcare through any mobile device, announces a partnership with epay, a Division of Euronet Worldwide, Inc. (NASDAQ: EEFT), a global product processor and distributor serving a network of approximately 294,000 retailer locations and 664,000 points of sale. This partnership brings the Hello Alvin secure, HIPAA-compliant suite of mobile healthcare tools to select epay retail partners, beginning with over 1,200 truck stops and travel centers in May, Love’s Travel Stops & Country Stores in June, and rapidly expanding to thousands of distribution points throughout epay’s extensive distribution network.

“Designed to meet consumer and family needs for 24-hour convenient access to healthcare, Hello Alvin empowers individuals and families – especially those with limited benefits or little to no insurance coverage – to significantly reduce out-of-pocket medical expenses,” says Arif Razvi, president and co-founder, Hello Alvin.

Through its point-of-sale (POS) terminals, Web-based POS solution, integrated POS systems and digital channel retailers, epay distributes a supply of prepaid products from many well-known prepaid brands to retailers of all sizes. The Hello Alvin healthcare product will be sold to consumers as prepaid codes, priced at $100 annually and merchandised alongside other popular prepaid products which epay distributes via its retail distribution network. The annual subscription price includes unlimited Hello Alvin Nurse Line and Email-a-Doctor services and covers the entire family.

This first-time in retail offering also provides direct-to-consumer connectivity to the Teladoc physician telehealth network, allowing convenient and bilingual access to care for a wide range of non-emergent conditions ranging from the common cold to acute respiratory infections and the flu. The cost to the patient is a $45 co-pay, significantly less than the cost of treating these conditions in an urgent care or emergency room setting.

Bryan Zingg, president, epay North America, says, “This partnership brings to our retail partners an opportunity to offer a unique service previously unavailable at their point of sale. We are proud to be at the forefront of this important paradigm shift that will transform access to care for millions of Americans.”

Hello Alvin CEO and co-founder Joey Truscelli is no stranger to the healthcare technology industry, credited with developing one of the largest healthcare transaction clearinghouses in the United States – ENS Health, now part of United Healthcare/Optum.

About Hello Alvin

Hello Alvin is a mobile healthcare network providing consumers direct access to healthcare through its secure, HIPAA-compliant suite of mobile telehealth tools. Visit https://helloalvin.com.

About epay

epay, a Division of Euronet Worldwide, Inc. (NASDAQ: EEFT), is a global prepaid product processor and distribution network, enabling product providers to maximize the sale of their products and services. epay delivers innovative and tailored electronic payment services, cash collection solutions, POS systems integration, settlement and reporting services, and full marketing and distribution service support. Visit http://www.epayworldwide.com/

 

Sirius Acquires International Medical Group

Source: Newswire, 5/26/2017

HAMILTON, Bermuda and INDIANAPOLIS — Sirius International Insurance Group, Ltd. (“Sirius”), a global (re)insurance company with a leading position in Accident & Health insurance, is pleased to announce the acquisition of International Medical Group® (IMG®), a market leading and award-winning provider of global medical insurance products and assistance services.

Allan Waters, Sirius Group Chairman, commented, “We are proud to have our long-time business partner IMG join the Sirius family of companies. Over the course of our relationship that has spanned over 20 years, we have witnessed IMG grow and evolve, while consistently delivering innovative products and superior service to its clients. This acquisition is a natural fit within Sirius’s specialty insurance segment that further enhances our global Accident & Health offerings and supports our long-term growth strategy.”

IMG will be run by President & CEO Brian Barwick, who has been with IMG for 23 years and has worked with Sirius throughout his tenure. “We know Brian and the IMG management team well and are lucky to have such a quality team leading IMG,” Waters said.

Barwick commented, “Today we celebrate our long-lasting partnership. As our underwriting partner since 1997, Sirius has worked with IMG on almost all of our international and domestic products. Sirius understands and values the work we do each day, and our passion to ‘be there’ for our constituents. This transaction was a natural next step for IMG, and we look forward to continuing to work with Sirius long into the future.”

Commensurate with the transaction, IMG’s subsidiary IMG-Stop LossSM, a managing general underwriter dedicated to medical stop loss insurance products for self-funded employers, has been spun off and acquired by the management team that currently runs this business unit.

“We wish the stop loss team continued success and are very grateful for the contributions that they have made to IMG over the years,” Barwick said.

Sirius purchased IMG from private equity investment firm ABRY Partners. A substantial portion of the transaction consideration is in the form of Sirius Preference Shares. These shares are convertible into Sirius common shares. As a result, on a fully converted basis an entity controlled by ABRY would own up to approximately 6 percent of Sirius’s common shares following the transaction. Waters commented, “We are pleased to welcome ABRY as a cornerstone owner of Sirius stock. We look forward to working with their talented team to further develop IMG’s business.”

About Sirius

Sirius is a global (re)insurance company founded in Stockholm in 1945 with its group corporate headquarters in Hamilton, Bermuda. Sirius Group has $2.6 billion of GAAP capital and wrote $1.3 billion of premiums in 2016, $435 million of which related to Accident & Health. Its largest offices are in Stockholm, New York City and London. Visit www.siriusgroup.com.

IMG is the second Accident & Health addition to Sirius’s specialty insurance platform in as many months. In April, Sirius acquired ArmadaGlobal, a market-leading insurance services and healthcare technology business that creates specialty health and benefit products, delivered with its hallmark world-class service excellence. Click here to learn more.

About IMG

International Medical Group® (IMG®), an award-winning provider of global insurance benefits and assistance services for more than 25 years, enables our members to worry less and experience more by delivering the protection they need, backed by the support they deserve. IMG offers a full line of international medical insurance products, as well as trip cancellation programs, medical management services and 24/7 emergency medical and travel assistance — all designed to provide members Global Peace of Mind® while they’re away from home. Visit www.imglobal.com.

 

China’s ‘THAAD retaliation’ hurts medical tourism, lowers brand value

by Marian Chu

koreabiomed.com – China’s economic retaliation in the aftermath of South Korea’s deployment of the U.S. antimissile system will lead to the lowering of Korean healthcare industry’s brand value, an expert said Monday.

Medical institutions here had made a massive investment in anticipation of the rush of Chinese patients. However, the abrupt drop in Chinese visitors for medical treatment has led local hospitals to slash medical fees, and the dumping has, in turn, resulted in the downgrading of healthcare services, said Ahn Gun-young안건영, chairman of Korea Brand Hospital Association브랜드병의원협회.

Ahn and other experts discussed ways to revive medical tourism sector, severely hurt by the Chinese retaliation against the installation here of the U.S. missile shield called the Thermal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) battery, at a symposium hosted by Rep. Jeon Hyun-hee전현희 of the ruling Democratic Party더불어민주당.

Korea’s medical tourism industry had steadily grown since 2013 but turned downward last year amid the controversy over THAAD. Ahn called for the government to take responsibility and establish countermeasures to make up for the losses inflicted on domestic medical institutions.

Ahn noted the healthcare industry had been a major economic player and job creator, citing large hospitals had hired Chinese translators and overseas marketers, invested in advertisements and established foreign branches to keep up with the international demand for local medical services.

Ahn added that the rise of medical tourism also helped related industries, such as hotels, restaurants, and medical goods, make profits since tourists purchased other products and services during their stay.

“The medical industry in this regard was ‘totally unprepared’ for the aftereffects of THAAD, witnessing a drastic fall in patient numbers despite having invested heavily in various areas to accommodate foreign patients,” Ahn said, “Now hospitals are to downsizing rapidly, leading to job and revenue losses and remaining unable to cover the costs of previous investment.”

He urged the government to take action, suggesting several methods starting with the more efficient marketing of Korean healthcare industry by mobilizing Korean stars and celebrities. Ahn also cited speeding up of visa approval process and providing follow-up care in the patient’s home country through partnering with hospitals in foreign countries.

Professor Jin Ki-nam진기남 of Yonsei University expressed more optimistic views, saying “Expanding the Chinese market should not be the only focus.” Jin noted undue reliance on Chinese patients could make the domestic industry vulnerable and called for the government to differentiate services, diversify target countries and increase professionalism. Jin pointed out that the fall in the number of Chinese patients should not necessarily be “a matter of total despair,” but rather an opportunity to recuperate and strengthen weaknesses in the Korean health care industry.

Jin also noted that the Korean government had poured a large sum of money into ineffective advertising, which not only contributed to the stagnation of the medical industry but also to the creation of a weak global brand. Jin called for hospitals and government to market their brand more creatively from the standpoint of foreign countries. He emphasized the importance of tailoring advertisements to each country after extensive and thorough market research.

Baek Hyun-gi백현기, director of the Healthcare Business Division at the Ministry of Health and Welfare, also stressed the need to increase medical safety and diversify strategies in attracting foreign patients, optimistically noting that this is an “opportunity to bring our healthcare industry to maturity.”

“Even though we suffered some losses after THAAD, it was not all negative; in fact, a survey revealed two out of the top five hospitals saw a rise in the number of foreign patients.”

To view the original article, click here.

 

For Turkey’s Medical Tourists, Sightseeing and Hair Transplants

by Tan Cetin

voanews.com – ISTANBUL — When you walk around Istanbul’s famous Taksim Square, men with bands around their heads are not an uncommon sight. The locals know by now that the men have just received hair transplants.

Even though general tourism has suffered in Turkey due to recent terrorist attacks, medical tourism continues to thrive. In 2016, more than 152,000 people came to Turkey for medical tourism, according to statistics from the Turkish Health Ministry.

Jordanian Khaled Saleh is one of the thousands of people who came to Turkey not only for a visit, but also to get a hair transplant.

“If I want to make the same surgery in my country, it’s going to cost me $5,000. I spent $1,100 here,” says Saleh. “It was very cheap and helpful. The team was very helpful. We also come here for tourism. We feel safe in Turkey. Police is everywhere, helping us. Also, the tourism — Istanbul is a magnificent city.”

A hair transplant procedure in Istanbul, Turkey.

Medical tourism consultant Emre Ali Kodan lists the reasons why Turkey is one of the top medical tourism destinations.

“High quality service, affordable prices, surpassing Europe in medical technology, cultural proximity to Middle East, experience of doctors,” he says.

Kodan says about 5,000 people received hair transplants each month in 2016, and up to 80,000 people are projected to receive hair transplants in 2017.

WATCH: video from Istanbul

Medical Tourism on the Rise in Turkey

The men with bands around their heads are the most visible medical tourists in Turkey. But the top medical procedures tourists came to Turkey for in 2016 involved obstetrics and gynecology, ophthalmology and orthopedics. Plastic surgery and cancer treatment were also in the top 10.

“Our doctors are top notch,” says Kodan. “We have competitive advantage in terms of fees. These reasons are why even Europeans chose to come here for medical treatments.”

In 2016, most of Turkey’s medical tourists were Libyans, Azerbaijanis and Iraqis. But Europeans choose Turkey as well.

German Jan Bourcevet, 23, (right) came to Istanbul for a hair transplant.

German Jan Bourcevet, 23, found the Turkish hair transplant clinic he used after researching online.

“In Germany where I come from, it’s like [one] fourth of the price. I sent my pictures to them and they made me an offer. It sounded great, so I did it,” says Bourcevet.

Like Jordanian Khaled Saleh, Bourcevet also plans to use the opportunity to be a traditional tourist. He’s happy that, thanks to his hair transplant procedure, he gets to explore another country.

To view the original article, click here.

 

Large gap in perceptions of health and healthcare between rich and poor in U.S.

by  Matt Kuhrt

fiercehealthcare.com – The difference in how high- and low-income individuals see health and healthcare in the United States is larger than in most other countries, per a new study.

Writing in Health Affairs, Joachim O. Hero, a doctoral candidate in health policy, Alan M. Zaslavsky, Ph.D., and Robert J. Blendon, all of Harvard University, described their examination of income gaps in 32 middle- and high-income countries between 2011 and 2013. They reported that the difference between high-income and low-income Americans when it comes to their history with the healthcare system and their confidence in continuing access to care proved to be among the highest in any country they surveyed.

To view the original article in its entirety, click here.

 

 

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