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Blogs | Health

Expat guide to vaccinations in Thailand

Thailand is a world of opportunity for ambitious professionals. But it’s important to remember that you or your family could be exposed to health issues that you’ve never had to think about before.

Understanding which vaccinations you need in Thailand is essential when planning your move. Try to seek advice and start receiving any relevant vaccines up to six weeks before moving.

What vaccines do I need in Thailand?

This will depend on which part of Thailand you are going to, how you’re travelling, and how long you plan to stay.

 

 

All travellers need vaccines for: Tetanus, Hepatitis A & Typhoid

 

However you could need others, depending on your plans when you arrive in Thailand. The following extra vaccines should be received for anyone travelling to rural areas:

• Tuberculosis
• Japanese Encephalitis

If your work, lifestyle or underlying health means you are at increased risk of infections, you need to be up to date with any additional vaccines. Living in a crowded urban area, for example, could leave you more at risk of becoming infected with diphtheria, so you may consider whether you are protected against this condition and seek further vaccination if necessary.

 

rab-copy

7 deaths from Rabies in Thailand – Jan-Aug 2016

If you want to go trekking, you will need jabs for Hepatitis B given the increased chance of water-borne infection. You will also be more likely to encounter wild animals, so a Rabies vaccine is advised. But even with a Rabies vaccine, urgent medial attention should be sought after any animal bite.

thai-copy

Keep an eye on children’s vaccines – they need various jabs at different life stages

 

It is worth assessing which of the above diseases children could be more at risk to, for example Hepatitis B given the increased risks involved.

It’s worth closely monitoring the vaccination schedule for children up to the age of 12. They need the standard child vaccines at various stages in their development, in addition to any additional jabs for moving to Thailand. It can be easy to lose track and miss one.

Any family member over the age of nine months will need a certificate of Yellow Fever vaccination if you have either came from a country at risk, or transited through one for more than 12 hours.

You should also speak to a GP before leaving if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. Pregnant women are often advised to consider postponing travel to places that require vaccines.

If this is unavoidable, you need to weigh up the risks. Catching a disease could be much more harmful to you and your baby than the vaccine itself.

 

Malaria

Although there is no risk of malaria in Thailand’s major cities, there is a low risk in certain rural areas. Travellers visiting the following regions should take a course of malaria tablets:

• Rural and forested areas at the border to Burma, Cambodia and Laos
• Rural and forested areas in Phang Nga and Phuket

 

Other considerations

There are other circumstances in which you will be advised against having vaccines. For example, if you are receiving chemotherapy or have recently had a bone marrow or organ transplant. The impact on your immune system can make vaccines too risky.

It is worth remembering to be up to date on all vaccines required in your home country, too. Try not to assume that any vaccinations are still effective if you’ve had them before. Check that they are all still valid and arrange for boosters if necessary.

 

Blogs | Health

Call our UK experts on

+44 (0) 1276 486477

Customers in over 160 countries have relied on us since 1992. How can we help you?

Get an estimate online

Blogs | Health

Living with asthma and COPD

Any sort of change in weather, be it a spike in temperature, a dust storm or a thunderstorm, could trigger an asthma attack for some of the world’s 235 million sufferers. It’s essential to know the triggers and some of the ways to minimise symptoms.

How air quality impacts COPD

Weather and air pollution are two of the most common triggers for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and asthma symptoms, but unfortunately are also the most difficult to control.

Research by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America shows that four in 10 asthmatics are more likely to have an acute episode on high pollution summer days than on other normal days. Asthma UK reports that two-thirds of asthmatics say poor air quality makes their condition worse.

 

166651939

 

Unfortunately, the climates in Thailand, Hong Kong and Dubai, UAE, are not ideal for people with respiratory conditions, and all three have other causes of asthma, such as high pollution levels. “The weather conditions in the UAE can trigger and aggravate asthma because of the high level of humidity and extensive use of uncleaned central air-conditioning systems in houses or offices that haven’t been cleaned,” says Dr Trilok Chand, of Burjeel Hospital, UAE.

Humidity is thought to carry more pollutants and moulds into the air and also make it more difficult to breath because the air itself is heavier. Industrial growth is another factor; the government of Hong Kong says street-level pollution and regional smog are its biggest pollution challenges, and urges people to check its live air quality index before going outside. In urban parts of Thailand, factory and vehicle pollution create a layer of smog that irritates the airways and lungs.

Sandstorms are another issue, especially in desert environments like Dubai. Dr Chand says the number of asthma patients visiting hospitals spikes during and after a sandstorm, when the quality of air is at its worst.

 

15375949

 

How to minimise and manage your symptoms

Make sure air-conditioning units are professionally cleaned and invest in an air purifier for the home or office.

Unfortunately, there’s little to be done about the quality of outdoor air and some experts say protective face masks do more harm than good for asthmatics because they make it more difficult to breath.

There are many websites providing live readings of a city’s air quality so check these before spending time outside.

When you do go out, try to limit moving from hot and humid outdoor areas to cool, air-conditioned indoor areas or cars as this irritates the airways. Reducing soft furnishings in your home will reduce the number of dust mites, a common asthma trigger.

Always carry your inhaler and asthma medications, and if you’re travelling somewhere new, take enough supplies to last the trip.

 

78265353

 

How to help someone in trouble

An asthma attack can take days to build so it’s important to know the symptoms.

These include chest tightness, wheezing, coughing and shortness of breath. If you’re with someone who’s having an attack it’s important to stay calm and keep the person sat upright with an open chest.

If there are any obvious triggers around such as pets or smokers, or you know of any other allergies they might have, remove the person from that situation. Asthma UK recommends taking one puff of a reliever inhaler every 30 to 60 seconds, up to a maximum of 10 puffs, and if things don’t improve, call an ambulance.

Where to find more information

Check local websites for up-to-date weather reports and air quality information. Thailand, Hong Kong and Dubai all have good public and private hospitals, so if you’re concerned about your asthma, see a doctor straight away.

Blogs | Health

Call our UK experts on

+44 (0) 1276 486477

Customers in over 160 countries have relied on us since 1992. How can we help you?

Get an estimate online

Blogs | Insurance Insights

What affects the cost of health insurance?

For those without inside knowledge of the actuary industry, health insurance premiums can seem something of a minefield.

But the calculations behind them can just depend on a few key factors, the rate of claims being one of the most important.

The insurance premiums need to be high enough to cover the cost of claims. This doesn’t mean your own insurance premium needs to cover the exact cost of your own claims, it means the total cost of those premiums need to cover the total cost of claims by people with those premiums.

If the cost of healthcare increases year on year, and the number of people making claims increases, this will push up the cost of health insurance.

Net effect of hospital visits cost and frequency:

2016 1 hospital visit at US$50 = US$50

2017 2 hospital visits at US$55 = US$110

So even though the healthcare cost hasn’t increased significantly, the increased number of visits pushed the total cost up by 120%. Insurance companies need to take these increases into account, however small they might appear to the individual.

Claim trends

In recent years, countries such as Hong Kong and Dubai have seen increases in their populations, alongside significant investment in their health infrastructure. There’s a wider range of treatments available, as well as a more expensive range of treatments.

Statistics have shown that medical trend – the term used to describe the change in claims cost per insured person – is rising, pushing up the insurance premiums that need to cover these costs.

According to risk management consultancy Aon Hewitt’s 2016 Global Medical Trend Report, the gross global medical trend rate was 8.7% in 2015, and 9.1% in 2016. This demonstrates the increase in claim costs around the world.

 

Factors that affect the cost of health insurance

 

Cost of healthcare

Number of insurance claims

Fraudulent claims

Regulations and taxes

Chronic diseases

Ageing population

Cost factors

As well as the increasing cost of healthcare and greater number of claims, there are a number of other factors that influence insurance premiums: fraud, regulation and taxes, ageing populations and chronic diseases.

Fraudulent claims give a false impression to insurance companies of the rate of claims, contributing to a misleading – and ultimately more costly – medical trend prediction.

Changing regulations and taxes also affects medical insurance companies. New rules (such as mandatory coverage of chronic conditions in Dubai) can make it much more costly to insure people in a particular country or region because the claim costs are likely to be much, much higher.

 

Countries with the highest health insurance costs in 2016

(shows average cost)

 

Impact of chronic conditions

The International Diabetes Federation estimates that the cost of treating someone with diabetes is up to four times the cost of treating a healthy person. If an insurance company must shoulder this cost and a significant portion of the population has diabetes, it increases premium costs for everyone.

There has been a significant increase in these type of illnesses, and this has a corresponding impact on the cost of healthcare.

You will also pay more for your insurance premium as you get older and your healthcare needs increase. The older an individual is, the more likely they are to suffer from certain conditions – such as cancer, cardiovascular disease and respiratory problems – that are expensive to treat.

The premium is calculated in age brackets for example: 25 to 30 years, 30 to 35 years etcetera. So the premium will therefore increase each year to reflect health cost inflation and, when the member’s age reaches the next age band, it will go up to reflect the additional risk of age.

Sources:

Pacific Prime – Cost of International Health Insurance Report – 2016 – https://www.pacificprime.com/cohi-2016/

Aon Hewitt – 2016 Global Medical Trend Report – www.aon.com

International Diabetes Federation – www.idf.org

Blogs | Insurance Insights

Call our UK experts on

+44 (0) 1276 486477

Customers in over 160 countries have relied on us since 1992. How can we help you?

Get an estimate online

Blogs | Health

Expat guide to vaccinations in Thailand

Thailand is a world of opportunity for ambitious professionals. But it’s important to remember that you or your family could be exposed to health issues that you’ve never had to think about before.

Understanding which vaccinations you need in Thailand is essential when planning your move. Try to seek advice and start receiving any relevant vaccines up to six weeks before moving.

What vaccines do I need in Thailand?

This will depend on which part of Thailand you are going to, how you’re travelling, and how long you plan to stay.

 

 

All travellers need vaccines for: Tetanus, Hepatitis A & Typhoid

 

However you could need others, depending on your plans when you arrive in Thailand. The following extra vaccines should be received for anyone travelling to rural areas:

• Tuberculosis
• Japanese Encephalitis

If your work, lifestyle or underlying health means you are at increased risk of infections, you need to be up to date with any additional vaccines. Living in a crowded urban area, for example, could leave you more at risk of becoming infected with diphtheria, so you may consider whether you are protected against this condition and seek further vaccination if necessary.

 

rab-copy

7 deaths from Rabies in Thailand – Jan-Aug 2016

If you want to go trekking, you will need jabs for Hepatitis B given the increased chance of water-borne infection. You will also be more likely to encounter wild animals, so a Rabies vaccine is advised. But even with a Rabies vaccine, urgent medial attention should be sought after any animal bite.

thai-copy

Keep an eye on children’s vaccines – they need various jabs at different life stages

 

It is worth assessing which of the above diseases children could be more at risk to, for example Hepatitis B given the increased risks involved.

It’s worth closely monitoring the vaccination schedule for children up to the age of 12. They need the standard child vaccines at various stages in their development, in addition to any additional jabs for moving to Thailand. It can be easy to lose track and miss one.

Any family member over the age of nine months will need a certificate of Yellow Fever vaccination if you have either came from a country at risk, or transited through one for more than 12 hours.

You should also speak to a GP before leaving if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. Pregnant women are often advised to consider postponing travel to places that require vaccines.

If this is unavoidable, you need to weigh up the risks. Catching a disease could be much more harmful to you and your baby than the vaccine itself.

 

Malaria

Although there is no risk of malaria in Thailand’s major cities, there is a low risk in certain rural areas. Travellers visiting the following regions should take a course of malaria tablets:

• Rural and forested areas at the border to Burma, Cambodia and Laos
• Rural and forested areas in Phang Nga and Phuket

 

Other considerations

There are other circumstances in which you will be advised against having vaccines. For example, if you are receiving chemotherapy or have recently had a bone marrow or organ transplant. The impact on your immune system can make vaccines too risky.

It is worth remembering to be up to date on all vaccines required in your home country, too. Try not to assume that any vaccinations are still effective if you’ve had them before. Check that they are all still valid and arrange for boosters if necessary.

 

Blogs | Health

Call our UK experts on

+44 (0) 1276 486477

Customers in over 160 countries have relied on us since 1992. How can we help you?

Get an estimate online

Blogs | Health

Living with asthma and COPD

Any sort of change in weather, be it a spike in temperature, a dust storm or a thunderstorm, could trigger an asthma attack for some of the world’s 235 million sufferers. It’s essential to know the triggers and some of the ways to minimise symptoms.

How air quality impacts COPD

Weather and air pollution are two of the most common triggers for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and asthma symptoms, but unfortunately are also the most difficult to control.

Research by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America shows that four in 10 asthmatics are more likely to have an acute episode on high pollution summer days than on other normal days. Asthma UK reports that two-thirds of asthmatics say poor air quality makes their condition worse.

 

166651939

 

Unfortunately, the climates in Thailand, Hong Kong and Dubai, UAE, are not ideal for people with respiratory conditions, and all three have other causes of asthma, such as high pollution levels. “The weather conditions in the UAE can trigger and aggravate asthma because of the high level of humidity and extensive use of uncleaned central air-conditioning systems in houses or offices that haven’t been cleaned,” says Dr Trilok Chand, of Burjeel Hospital, UAE.

Humidity is thought to carry more pollutants and moulds into the air and also make it more difficult to breath because the air itself is heavier. Industrial growth is another factor; the government of Hong Kong says street-level pollution and regional smog are its biggest pollution challenges, and urges people to check its live air quality index before going outside. In urban parts of Thailand, factory and vehicle pollution create a layer of smog that irritates the airways and lungs.

Sandstorms are another issue, especially in desert environments like Dubai. Dr Chand says the number of asthma patients visiting hospitals spikes during and after a sandstorm, when the quality of air is at its worst.

 

15375949

 

How to minimise and manage your symptoms

Make sure air-conditioning units are professionally cleaned and invest in an air purifier for the home or office.

Unfortunately, there’s little to be done about the quality of outdoor air and some experts say protective face masks do more harm than good for asthmatics because they make it more difficult to breath.

There are many websites providing live readings of a city’s air quality so check these before spending time outside.

When you do go out, try to limit moving from hot and humid outdoor areas to cool, air-conditioned indoor areas or cars as this irritates the airways. Reducing soft furnishings in your home will reduce the number of dust mites, a common asthma trigger.

Always carry your inhaler and asthma medications, and if you’re travelling somewhere new, take enough supplies to last the trip.

 

78265353

 

How to help someone in trouble

An asthma attack can take days to build so it’s important to know the symptoms.

These include chest tightness, wheezing, coughing and shortness of breath. If you’re with someone who’s having an attack it’s important to stay calm and keep the person sat upright with an open chest.

If there are any obvious triggers around such as pets or smokers, or you know of any other allergies they might have, remove the person from that situation. Asthma UK recommends taking one puff of a reliever inhaler every 30 to 60 seconds, up to a maximum of 10 puffs, and if things don’t improve, call an ambulance.

Where to find more information

Check local websites for up-to-date weather reports and air quality information. Thailand, Hong Kong and Dubai all have good public and private hospitals, so if you’re concerned about your asthma, see a doctor straight away.

Blogs | Health

Call our UK experts on

+44 (0) 1276 486477

Customers in over 160 countries have relied on us since 1992. How can we help you?

Get an estimate online

Blogs | Insurance Insights

What affects the cost of health insurance?

For those without inside knowledge of the actuary industry, health insurance premiums can seem something of a minefield.

But the calculations behind them can just depend on a few key factors, the rate of claims being one of the most important.

The insurance premiums need to be high enough to cover the cost of claims. This doesn’t mean your own insurance premium needs to cover the exact cost of your own claims, it means the total cost of those premiums need to cover the total cost of claims by people with those premiums.

If the cost of healthcare increases year on year, and the number of people making claims increases, this will push up the cost of health insurance.

Net effect of hospital visits cost and frequency:

2016 1 hospital visit at US$50 = US$50

2017 2 hospital visits at US$55 = US$110

So even though the healthcare cost hasn’t increased significantly, the increased number of visits pushed the total cost up by 120%. Insurance companies need to take these increases into account, however small they might appear to the individual.

Claim trends

In recent years, countries such as Hong Kong and Dubai have seen increases in their populations, alongside significant investment in their health infrastructure. There’s a wider range of treatments available, as well as a more expensive range of treatments.

Statistics have shown that medical trend – the term used to describe the change in claims cost per insured person – is rising, pushing up the insurance premiums that need to cover these costs.

According to risk management consultancy Aon Hewitt’s 2016 Global Medical Trend Report, the gross global medical trend rate was 8.7% in 2015, and 9.1% in 2016. This demonstrates the increase in claim costs around the world.

 

Factors that affect the cost of health insurance

 

Cost of healthcare

Number of insurance claims

Fraudulent claims

Regulations and taxes

Chronic diseases

Ageing population

Cost factors

As well as the increasing cost of healthcare and greater number of claims, there are a number of other factors that influence insurance premiums: fraud, regulation and taxes, ageing populations and chronic diseases.

Fraudulent claims give a false impression to insurance companies of the rate of claims, contributing to a misleading – and ultimately more costly – medical trend prediction.

Changing regulations and taxes also affects medical insurance companies. New rules (such as mandatory coverage of chronic conditions in Dubai) can make it much more costly to insure people in a particular country or region because the claim costs are likely to be much, much higher.

 

Countries with the highest health insurance costs in 2016

(shows average cost)

 

Impact of chronic conditions

The International Diabetes Federation estimates that the cost of treating someone with diabetes is up to four times the cost of treating a healthy person. If an insurance company must shoulder this cost and a significant portion of the population has diabetes, it increases premium costs for everyone.

There has been a significant increase in these type of illnesses, and this has a corresponding impact on the cost of healthcare.

You will also pay more for your insurance premium as you get older and your healthcare needs increase. The older an individual is, the more likely they are to suffer from certain conditions – such as cancer, cardiovascular disease and respiratory problems – that are expensive to treat.

The premium is calculated in age brackets for example: 25 to 30 years, 30 to 35 years etcetera. So the premium will therefore increase each year to reflect health cost inflation and, when the member’s age reaches the next age band, it will go up to reflect the additional risk of age.

Sources:

Pacific Prime – Cost of International Health Insurance Report – 2016 – https://www.pacificprime.com/cohi-2016/

Aon Hewitt – 2016 Global Medical Trend Report – www.aon.com

International Diabetes Federation – www.idf.org

Blogs | Insurance Insights

Call our UK experts on

+44 (0) 1276 486477

Customers in over 160 countries have relied on us since 1992. How can we help you?

Get an estimate online

Blogs | Health

Expat guide to vaccinations in Thailand

Thailand is a world of opportunity for ambitious professionals. But it’s important to remember that you or your family could be exposed to health issues that you’ve never had to think about before.

Understanding which vaccinations you need in Thailand is essential when planning your move. Try to seek advice and start receiving any relevant vaccines up to six weeks before moving.

What vaccines do I need in Thailand?

This will depend on which part of Thailand you are going to, how you’re travelling, and how long you plan to stay.

 

 

All travellers need vaccines for: Tetanus, Hepatitis A & Typhoid

 

However you could need others, depending on your plans when you arrive in Thailand. The following extra vaccines should be received for anyone travelling to rural areas:

• Tuberculosis
• Japanese Encephalitis

If your work, lifestyle or underlying health means you are at increased risk of infections, you need to be up to date with any additional vaccines. Living in a crowded urban area, for example, could leave you more at risk of becoming infected with diphtheria, so you may consider whether you are protected against this condition and seek further vaccination if necessary.

 

rab-copy

7 deaths from Rabies in Thailand – Jan-Aug 2016

If you want to go trekking, you will need jabs for Hepatitis B given the increased chance of water-borne infection. You will also be more likely to encounter wild animals, so a Rabies vaccine is advised. But even with a Rabies vaccine, urgent medial attention should be sought after any animal bite.

thai-copy

Keep an eye on children’s vaccines – they need various jabs at different life stages

 

It is worth assessing which of the above diseases children could be more at risk to, for example Hepatitis B given the increased risks involved.

It’s worth closely monitoring the vaccination schedule for children up to the age of 12. They need the standard child vaccines at various stages in their development, in addition to any additional jabs for moving to Thailand. It can be easy to lose track and miss one.

Any family member over the age of nine months will need a certificate of Yellow Fever vaccination if you have either came from a country at risk, or transited through one for more than 12 hours.

You should also speak to a GP before leaving if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. Pregnant women are often advised to consider postponing travel to places that require vaccines.

If this is unavoidable, you need to weigh up the risks. Catching a disease could be much more harmful to you and your baby than the vaccine itself.

 

Malaria

Although there is no risk of malaria in Thailand’s major cities, there is a low risk in certain rural areas. Travellers visiting the following regions should take a course of malaria tablets:

• Rural and forested areas at the border to Burma, Cambodia and Laos
• Rural and forested areas in Phang Nga and Phuket

 

Other considerations

There are other circumstances in which you will be advised against having vaccines. For example, if you are receiving chemotherapy or have recently had a bone marrow or organ transplant. The impact on your immune system can make vaccines too risky.

It is worth remembering to be up to date on all vaccines required in your home country, too. Try not to assume that any vaccinations are still effective if you’ve had them before. Check that they are all still valid and arrange for boosters if necessary.

 

Blogs | Health

Call our UK experts on

+44 (0) 1276 486477

Customers in over 160 countries have relied on us since 1992. How can we help you?

Get an estimate online

Blogs | Health

Living with asthma and COPD

Any sort of change in weather, be it a spike in temperature, a dust storm or a thunderstorm, could trigger an asthma attack for some of the world’s 235 million sufferers. It’s essential to know the triggers and some of the ways to minimise symptoms.

How air quality impacts COPD

Weather and air pollution are two of the most common triggers for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and asthma symptoms, but unfortunately are also the most difficult to control.

Research by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America shows that four in 10 asthmatics are more likely to have an acute episode on high pollution summer days than on other normal days. Asthma UK reports that two-thirds of asthmatics say poor air quality makes their condition worse.

 

166651939

 

Unfortunately, the climates in Thailand, Hong Kong and Dubai, UAE, are not ideal for people with respiratory conditions, and all three have other causes of asthma, such as high pollution levels. “The weather conditions in the UAE can trigger and aggravate asthma because of the high level of humidity and extensive use of uncleaned central air-conditioning systems in houses or offices that haven’t been cleaned,” says Dr Trilok Chand, of Burjeel Hospital, UAE.

Humidity is thought to carry more pollutants and moulds into the air and also make it more difficult to breath because the air itself is heavier. Industrial growth is another factor; the government of Hong Kong says street-level pollution and regional smog are its biggest pollution challenges, and urges people to check its live air quality index before going outside. In urban parts of Thailand, factory and vehicle pollution create a layer of smog that irritates the airways and lungs.

Sandstorms are another issue, especially in desert environments like Dubai. Dr Chand says the number of asthma patients visiting hospitals spikes during and after a sandstorm, when the quality of air is at its worst.

 

15375949

 

How to minimise and manage your symptoms

Make sure air-conditioning units are professionally cleaned and invest in an air purifier for the home or office.

Unfortunately, there’s little to be done about the quality of outdoor air and some experts say protective face masks do more harm than good for asthmatics because they make it more difficult to breath.

There are many websites providing live readings of a city’s air quality so check these before spending time outside.

When you do go out, try to limit moving from hot and humid outdoor areas to cool, air-conditioned indoor areas or cars as this irritates the airways. Reducing soft furnishings in your home will reduce the number of dust mites, a common asthma trigger.

Always carry your inhaler and asthma medications, and if you’re travelling somewhere new, take enough supplies to last the trip.

 

78265353

 

How to help someone in trouble

An asthma attack can take days to build so it’s important to know the symptoms.

These include chest tightness, wheezing, coughing and shortness of breath. If you’re with someone who’s having an attack it’s important to stay calm and keep the person sat upright with an open chest.

If there are any obvious triggers around such as pets or smokers, or you know of any other allergies they might have, remove the person from that situation. Asthma UK recommends taking one puff of a reliever inhaler every 30 to 60 seconds, up to a maximum of 10 puffs, and if things don’t improve, call an ambulance.

Where to find more information

Check local websites for up-to-date weather reports and air quality information. Thailand, Hong Kong and Dubai all have good public and private hospitals, so if you’re concerned about your asthma, see a doctor straight away.

Blogs | Health

Call our UK experts on

+44 (0) 1276 486477

Customers in over 160 countries have relied on us since 1992. How can we help you?

Get an estimate online

Blogs | Insurance Insights

What affects the cost of health insurance?

For those without inside knowledge of the actuary industry, health insurance premiums can seem something of a minefield.

But the calculations behind them can just depend on a few key factors, the rate of claims being one of the most important.

The insurance premiums need to be high enough to cover the cost of claims. This doesn’t mean your own insurance premium needs to cover the exact cost of your own claims, it means the total cost of those premiums need to cover the total cost of claims by people with those premiums.

If the cost of healthcare increases year on year, and the number of people making claims increases, this will push up the cost of health insurance.

Net effect of hospital visits cost and frequency:

2016 1 hospital visit at US$50 = US$50

2017 2 hospital visits at US$55 = US$110

So even though the healthcare cost hasn’t increased significantly, the increased number of visits pushed the total cost up by 120%. Insurance companies need to take these increases into account, however small they might appear to the individual.

Claim trends

In recent years, countries such as Hong Kong and Dubai have seen increases in their populations, alongside significant investment in their health infrastructure. There’s a wider range of treatments available, as well as a more expensive range of treatments.

Statistics have shown that medical trend – the term used to describe the change in claims cost per insured person – is rising, pushing up the insurance premiums that need to cover these costs.

According to risk management consultancy Aon Hewitt’s 2016 Global Medical Trend Report, the gross global medical trend rate was 8.7% in 2015, and 9.1% in 2016. This demonstrates the increase in claim costs around the world.

 

Factors that affect the cost of health insurance

 

Cost of healthcare

Number of insurance claims

Fraudulent claims

Regulations and taxes

Chronic diseases

Ageing population

Cost factors

As well as the increasing cost of healthcare and greater number of claims, there are a number of other factors that influence insurance premiums: fraud, regulation and taxes, ageing populations and chronic diseases.

Fraudulent claims give a false impression to insurance companies of the rate of claims, contributing to a misleading – and ultimately more costly – medical trend prediction.

Changing regulations and taxes also affects medical insurance companies. New rules (such as mandatory coverage of chronic conditions in Dubai) can make it much more costly to insure people in a particular country or region because the claim costs are likely to be much, much higher.

 

Countries with the highest health insurance costs in 2016

(shows average cost)

 

Impact of chronic conditions

The International Diabetes Federation estimates that the cost of treating someone with diabetes is up to four times the cost of treating a healthy person. If an insurance company must shoulder this cost and a significant portion of the population has diabetes, it increases premium costs for everyone.

There has been a significant increase in these type of illnesses, and this has a corresponding impact on the cost of healthcare.

You will also pay more for your insurance premium as you get older and your healthcare needs increase. The older an individual is, the more likely they are to suffer from certain conditions – such as cancer, cardiovascular disease and respiratory problems – that are expensive to treat.

The premium is calculated in age brackets for example: 25 to 30 years, 30 to 35 years etcetera. So the premium will therefore increase each year to reflect health cost inflation and, when the member’s age reaches the next age band, it will go up to reflect the additional risk of age.

Sources:

Pacific Prime – Cost of International Health Insurance Report – 2016 – https://www.pacificprime.com/cohi-2016/

Aon Hewitt – 2016 Global Medical Trend Report – www.aon.com

International Diabetes Federation – www.idf.org

Blogs | Insurance Insights

Call our UK experts on

+44 (0) 1276 486477

Customers in over 160 countries have relied on us since 1992. How can we help you?

Get an estimate online

Blogs | Health

Expat guide to vaccinations in Thailand

Thailand is a world of opportunity for ambitious professionals. But it’s important to remember that you or your family could be exposed to health issues that you’ve never had to think about before.

Understanding which vaccinations you need in Thailand is essential when planning your move. Try to seek advice and start receiving any relevant vaccines up to six weeks before moving.

What vaccines do I need in Thailand?

This will depend on which part of Thailand you are going to, how you’re travelling, and how long you plan to stay.

 

 

All travellers need vaccines for: Tetanus, Hepatitis A & Typhoid

 

However you could need others, depending on your plans when you arrive in Thailand. The following extra vaccines should be received for anyone travelling to rural areas:

• Tuberculosis
• Japanese Encephalitis

If your work, lifestyle or underlying health means you are at increased risk of infections, you need to be up to date with any additional vaccines. Living in a crowded urban area, for example, could leave you more at risk of becoming infected with diphtheria, so you may consider whether you are protected against this condition and seek further vaccination if necessary.

 

rab-copy

7 deaths from Rabies in Thailand – Jan-Aug 2016

If you want to go trekking, you will need jabs for Hepatitis B given the increased chance of water-borne infection. You will also be more likely to encounter wild animals, so a Rabies vaccine is advised. But even with a Rabies vaccine, urgent medial attention should be sought after any animal bite.

thai-copy

Keep an eye on children’s vaccines – they need various jabs at different life stages

 

It is worth assessing which of the above diseases children could be more at risk to, for example Hepatitis B given the increased risks involved.

It’s worth closely monitoring the vaccination schedule for children up to the age of 12. They need the standard child vaccines at various stages in their development, in addition to any additional jabs for moving to Thailand. It can be easy to lose track and miss one.

Any family member over the age of nine months will need a certificate of Yellow Fever vaccination if you have either came from a country at risk, or transited through one for more than 12 hours.

You should also speak to a GP before leaving if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. Pregnant women are often advised to consider postponing travel to places that require vaccines.

If this is unavoidable, you need to weigh up the risks. Catching a disease could be much more harmful to you and your baby than the vaccine itself.

 

Malaria

Although there is no risk of malaria in Thailand’s major cities, there is a low risk in certain rural areas. Travellers visiting the following regions should take a course of malaria tablets:

• Rural and forested areas at the border to Burma, Cambodia and Laos
• Rural and forested areas in Phang Nga and Phuket

 

Other considerations

There are other circumstances in which you will be advised against having vaccines. For example, if you are receiving chemotherapy or have recently had a bone marrow or organ transplant. The impact on your immune system can make vaccines too risky.

It is worth remembering to be up to date on all vaccines required in your home country, too. Try not to assume that any vaccinations are still effective if you’ve had them before. Check that they are all still valid and arrange for boosters if necessary.

 

Blogs | Health

Call our UK experts on

+44 (0) 1276 486477

Customers in over 160 countries have relied on us since 1992. How can we help you?

Get an estimate online

Blogs | Health

Living with asthma and COPD

Any sort of change in weather, be it a spike in temperature, a dust storm or a thunderstorm, could trigger an asthma attack for some of the world’s 235 million sufferers. It’s essential to know the triggers and some of the ways to minimise symptoms.

How air quality impacts COPD

Weather and air pollution are two of the most common triggers for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and asthma symptoms, but unfortunately are also the most difficult to control.

Research by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America shows that four in 10 asthmatics are more likely to have an acute episode on high pollution summer days than on other normal days. Asthma UK reports that two-thirds of asthmatics say poor air quality makes their condition worse.

 

166651939

 

Unfortunately, the climates in Thailand, Hong Kong and Dubai, UAE, are not ideal for people with respiratory conditions, and all three have other causes of asthma, such as high pollution levels. “The weather conditions in the UAE can trigger and aggravate asthma because of the high level of humidity and extensive use of uncleaned central air-conditioning systems in houses or offices that haven’t been cleaned,” says Dr Trilok Chand, of Burjeel Hospital, UAE.

Humidity is thought to carry more pollutants and moulds into the air and also make it more difficult to breath because the air itself is heavier. Industrial growth is another factor; the government of Hong Kong says street-level pollution and regional smog are its biggest pollution challenges, and urges people to check its live air quality index before going outside. In urban parts of Thailand, factory and vehicle pollution create a layer of smog that irritates the airways and lungs.

Sandstorms are another issue, especially in desert environments like Dubai. Dr Chand says the number of asthma patients visiting hospitals spikes during and after a sandstorm, when the quality of air is at its worst.

 

15375949

 

How to minimise and manage your symptoms

Make sure air-conditioning units are professionally cleaned and invest in an air purifier for the home or office.

Unfortunately, there’s little to be done about the quality of outdoor air and some experts say protective face masks do more harm than good for asthmatics because they make it more difficult to breath.

There are many websites providing live readings of a city’s air quality so check these before spending time outside.

When you do go out, try to limit moving from hot and humid outdoor areas to cool, air-conditioned indoor areas or cars as this irritates the airways. Reducing soft furnishings in your home will reduce the number of dust mites, a common asthma trigger.

Always carry your inhaler and asthma medications, and if you’re travelling somewhere new, take enough supplies to last the trip.

 

78265353

 

How to help someone in trouble

An asthma attack can take days to build so it’s important to know the symptoms.

These include chest tightness, wheezing, coughing and shortness of breath. If you’re with someone who’s having an attack it’s important to stay calm and keep the person sat upright with an open chest.

If there are any obvious triggers around such as pets or smokers, or you know of any other allergies they might have, remove the person from that situation. Asthma UK recommends taking one puff of a reliever inhaler every 30 to 60 seconds, up to a maximum of 10 puffs, and if things don’t improve, call an ambulance.

Where to find more information

Check local websites for up-to-date weather reports and air quality information. Thailand, Hong Kong and Dubai all have good public and private hospitals, so if you’re concerned about your asthma, see a doctor straight away.

Blogs | Health

Call our UK experts on

+44 (0) 1276 486477

Customers in over 160 countries have relied on us since 1992. How can we help you?

Get an estimate online

Blogs | Insurance Insights

What affects the cost of health insurance?

For those without inside knowledge of the actuary industry, health insurance premiums can seem something of a minefield.

But the calculations behind them can just depend on a few key factors, the rate of claims being one of the most important.

The insurance premiums need to be high enough to cover the cost of claims. This doesn’t mean your own insurance premium needs to cover the exact cost of your own claims, it means the total cost of those premiums need to cover the total cost of claims by people with those premiums.

If the cost of healthcare increases year on year, and the number of people making claims increases, this will push up the cost of health insurance.

Net effect of hospital visits cost and frequency:

2016 1 hospital visit at US$50 = US$50

2017 2 hospital visits at US$55 = US$110

So even though the healthcare cost hasn’t increased significantly, the increased number of visits pushed the total cost up by 120%. Insurance companies need to take these increases into account, however small they might appear to the individual.

Claim trends

In recent years, countries such as Hong Kong and Dubai have seen increases in their populations, alongside significant investment in their health infrastructure. There’s a wider range of treatments available, as well as a more expensive range of treatments.

Statistics have shown that medical trend – the term used to describe the change in claims cost per insured person – is rising, pushing up the insurance premiums that need to cover these costs.

According to risk management consultancy Aon Hewitt’s 2016 Global Medical Trend Report, the gross global medical trend rate was 8.7% in 2015, and 9.1% in 2016. This demonstrates the increase in claim costs around the world.

 

Factors that affect the cost of health insurance

 

Cost of healthcare

Number of insurance claims

Fraudulent claims

Regulations and taxes

Chronic diseases

Ageing population

Cost factors

As well as the increasing cost of healthcare and greater number of claims, there are a number of other factors that influence insurance premiums: fraud, regulation and taxes, ageing populations and chronic diseases.

Fraudulent claims give a false impression to insurance companies of the rate of claims, contributing to a misleading – and ultimately more costly – medical trend prediction.

Changing regulations and taxes also affects medical insurance companies. New rules (such as mandatory coverage of chronic conditions in Dubai) can make it much more costly to insure people in a particular country or region because the claim costs are likely to be much, much higher.

 

Countries with the highest health insurance costs in 2016

(shows average cost)

 

Impact of chronic conditions

The International Diabetes Federation estimates that the cost of treating someone with diabetes is up to four times the cost of treating a healthy person. If an insurance company must shoulder this cost and a significant portion of the population has diabetes, it increases premium costs for everyone.

There has been a significant increase in these type of illnesses, and this has a corresponding impact on the cost of healthcare.

You will also pay more for your insurance premium as you get older and your healthcare needs increase. The older an individual is, the more likely they are to suffer from certain conditions – such as cancer, cardiovascular disease and respiratory problems – that are expensive to treat.

The premium is calculated in age brackets for example: 25 to 30 years, 30 to 35 years etcetera. So the premium will therefore increase each year to reflect health cost inflation and, when the member’s age reaches the next age band, it will go up to reflect the additional risk of age.

Sources:

Pacific Prime – Cost of International Health Insurance Report – 2016 – https://www.pacificprime.com/cohi-2016/

Aon Hewitt – 2016 Global Medical Trend Report – www.aon.com

International Diabetes Federation – www.idf.org

Blogs | Insurance Insights

Call our UK experts on

+44 (0) 1276 486477

Customers in over 160 countries have relied on us since 1992. How can we help you?

Get an estimate online

Blogs | Health

Expat guide to vaccinations in Thailand

Thailand is a world of opportunity for ambitious professionals. But it’s important to remember that you or your family could be exposed to health issues that you’ve never had to think about before.

Understanding which vaccinations you need in Thailand is essential when planning your move. Try to seek advice and start receiving any relevant vaccines up to six weeks before moving.

What vaccines do I need in Thailand?

This will depend on which part of Thailand you are going to, how you’re travelling, and how long you plan to stay.

 

 

All travellers need vaccines for: Tetanus, Hepatitis A & Typhoid

 

However you could need others, depending on your plans when you arrive in Thailand. The following extra vaccines should be received for anyone travelling to rural areas:

• Tuberculosis
• Japanese Encephalitis

If your work, lifestyle or underlying health means you are at increased risk of infections, you need to be up to date with any additional vaccines. Living in a crowded urban area, for example, could leave you more at risk of becoming infected with diphtheria, so you may consider whether you are protected against this condition and seek further vaccination if necessary.

 

rab-copy

7 deaths from Rabies in Thailand – Jan-Aug 2016

If you want to go trekking, you will need jabs for Hepatitis B given the increased chance of water-borne infection. You will also be more likely to encounter wild animals, so a Rabies vaccine is advised. But even with a Rabies vaccine, urgent medial attention should be sought after any animal bite.

thai-copy

Keep an eye on children’s vaccines – they need various jabs at different life stages

 

It is worth assessing which of the above diseases children could be more at risk to, for example Hepatitis B given the increased risks involved.

It’s worth closely monitoring the vaccination schedule for children up to the age of 12. They need the standard child vaccines at various stages in their development, in addition to any additional jabs for moving to Thailand. It can be easy to lose track and miss one.

Any family member over the age of nine months will need a certificate of Yellow Fever vaccination if you have either came from a country at risk, or transited through one for more than 12 hours.

You should also speak to a GP before leaving if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. Pregnant women are often advised to consider postponing travel to places that require vaccines.

If this is unavoidable, you need to weigh up the risks. Catching a disease could be much more harmful to you and your baby than the vaccine itself.

 

Malaria

Although there is no risk of malaria in Thailand’s major cities, there is a low risk in certain rural areas. Travellers visiting the following regions should take a course of malaria tablets:

• Rural and forested areas at the border to Burma, Cambodia and Laos
• Rural and forested areas in Phang Nga and Phuket

 

Other considerations

There are other circumstances in which you will be advised against having vaccines. For example, if you are receiving chemotherapy or have recently had a bone marrow or organ transplant. The impact on your immune system can make vaccines too risky.

It is worth remembering to be up to date on all vaccines required in your home country, too. Try not to assume that any vaccinations are still effective if you’ve had them before. Check that they are all still valid and arrange for boosters if necessary.

 

Blogs | Health

Call our UK experts on

+44 (0) 1276 486477

Customers in over 160 countries have relied on us since 1992. How can we help you?

Get an estimate online

Blogs | Health

Living with asthma and COPD

Any sort of change in weather, be it a spike in temperature, a dust storm or a thunderstorm, could trigger an asthma attack for some of the world’s 235 million sufferers. It’s essential to know the triggers and some of the ways to minimise symptoms.

How air quality impacts COPD

Weather and air pollution are two of the most common triggers for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and asthma symptoms, but unfortunately are also the most difficult to control.

Research by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America shows that four in 10 asthmatics are more likely to have an acute episode on high pollution summer days than on other normal days. Asthma UK reports that two-thirds of asthmatics say poor air quality makes their condition worse.

 

166651939

 

Unfortunately, the climates in Thailand, Hong Kong and Dubai, UAE, are not ideal for people with respiratory conditions, and all three have other causes of asthma, such as high pollution levels. “The weather conditions in the UAE can trigger and aggravate asthma because of the high level of humidity and extensive use of uncleaned central air-conditioning systems in houses or offices that haven’t been cleaned,” says Dr Trilok Chand, of Burjeel Hospital, UAE.

Humidity is thought to carry more pollutants and moulds into the air and also make it more difficult to breath because the air itself is heavier. Industrial growth is another factor; the government of Hong Kong says street-level pollution and regional smog are its biggest pollution challenges, and urges people to check its live air quality index before going outside. In urban parts of Thailand, factory and vehicle pollution create a layer of smog that irritates the airways and lungs.

Sandstorms are another issue, especially in desert environments like Dubai. Dr Chand says the number of asthma patients visiting hospitals spikes during and after a sandstorm, when the quality of air is at its worst.

 

15375949

 

How to minimise and manage your symptoms

Make sure air-conditioning units are professionally cleaned and invest in an air purifier for the home or office.

Unfortunately, there’s little to be done about the quality of outdoor air and some experts say protective face masks do more harm than good for asthmatics because they make it more difficult to breath.

There are many websites providing live readings of a city’s air quality so check these before spending time outside.

When you do go out, try to limit moving from hot and humid outdoor areas to cool, air-conditioned indoor areas or cars as this irritates the airways. Reducing soft furnishings in your home will reduce the number of dust mites, a common asthma trigger.

Always carry your inhaler and asthma medications, and if you’re travelling somewhere new, take enough supplies to last the trip.

 

78265353

 

How to help someone in trouble

An asthma attack can take days to build so it’s important to know the symptoms.

These include chest tightness, wheezing, coughing and shortness of breath. If you’re with someone who’s having an attack it’s important to stay calm and keep the person sat upright with an open chest.

If there are any obvious triggers around such as pets or smokers, or you know of any other allergies they might have, remove the person from that situation. Asthma UK recommends taking one puff of a reliever inhaler every 30 to 60 seconds, up to a maximum of 10 puffs, and if things don’t improve, call an ambulance.

Where to find more information

Check local websites for up-to-date weather reports and air quality information. Thailand, Hong Kong and Dubai all have good public and private hospitals, so if you’re concerned about your asthma, see a doctor straight away.

Blogs | Health

Call our UK experts on

+44 (0) 1276 486477

Customers in over 160 countries have relied on us since 1992. How can we help you?

Get an estimate online

Blogs | Insurance Insights

What affects the cost of health insurance?

For those without inside knowledge of the actuary industry, health insurance premiums can seem something of a minefield.

But the calculations behind them can just depend on a few key factors, the rate of claims being one of the most important.

The insurance premiums need to be high enough to cover the cost of claims. This doesn’t mean your own insurance premium needs to cover the exact cost of your own claims, it means the total cost of those premiums need to cover the total cost of claims by people with those premiums.

If the cost of healthcare increases year on year, and the number of people making claims increases, this will push up the cost of health insurance.

Net effect of hospital visits cost and frequency:

2016 1 hospital visit at US$50 = US$50

2017 2 hospital visits at US$55 = US$110

So even though the healthcare cost hasn’t increased significantly, the increased number of visits pushed the total cost up by 120%. Insurance companies need to take these increases into account, however small they might appear to the individual.

Claim trends

In recent years, countries such as Hong Kong and Dubai have seen increases in their populations, alongside significant investment in their health infrastructure. There’s a wider range of treatments available, as well as a more expensive range of treatments.

Statistics have shown that medical trend – the term used to describe the change in claims cost per insured person – is rising, pushing up the insurance premiums that need to cover these costs.

According to risk management consultancy Aon Hewitt’s 2016 Global Medical Trend Report, the gross global medical trend rate was 8.7% in 2015, and 9.1% in 2016. This demonstrates the increase in claim costs around the world.

 

Factors that affect the cost of health insurance

 

Cost of healthcare

Number of insurance claims

Fraudulent claims

Regulations and taxes

Chronic diseases

Ageing population

Cost factors

As well as the increasing cost of healthcare and greater number of claims, there are a number of other factors that influence insurance premiums: fraud, regulation and taxes, ageing populations and chronic diseases.

Fraudulent claims give a false impression to insurance companies of the rate of claims, contributing to a misleading – and ultimately more costly – medical trend prediction.

Changing regulations and taxes also affects medical insurance companies. New rules (such as mandatory coverage of chronic conditions in Dubai) can make it much more costly to insure people in a particular country or region because the claim costs are likely to be much, much higher.

 

Countries with the highest health insurance costs in 2016

(shows average cost)

 

Impact of chronic conditions

The International Diabetes Federation estimates that the cost of treating someone with diabetes is up to four times the cost of treating a healthy person. If an insurance company must shoulder this cost and a significant portion of the population has diabetes, it increases premium costs for everyone.

There has been a significant increase in these type of illnesses, and this has a corresponding impact on the cost of healthcare.

You will also pay more for your insurance premium as you get older and your healthcare needs increase. The older an individual is, the more likely they are to suffer from certain conditions – such as cancer, cardiovascular disease and respiratory problems – that are expensive to treat.

The premium is calculated in age brackets for example: 25 to 30 years, 30 to 35 years etcetera. So the premium will therefore increase each year to reflect health cost inflation and, when the member’s age reaches the next age band, it will go up to reflect the additional risk of age.

Sources:

Pacific Prime – Cost of International Health Insurance Report – 2016 – https://www.pacificprime.com/cohi-2016/

Aon Hewitt – 2016 Global Medical Trend Report – www.aon.com

International Diabetes Federation – www.idf.org

Blogs | Insurance Insights

Call our UK experts on

+44 (0) 1276 486477

Customers in over 160 countries have relied on us since 1992. How can we help you?

Get an estimate online

Blogs | Health

Expat guide to vaccinations in Thailand

Thailand is a world of opportunity for ambitious professionals. But it’s important to remember that you or your family could be exposed to health issues that you’ve never had to think about before.

Understanding which vaccinations you need in Thailand is essential when planning your move. Try to seek advice and start receiving any relevant vaccines up to six weeks before moving.

What vaccines do I need in Thailand?

This will depend on which part of Thailand you are going to, how you’re travelling, and how long you plan to stay.

 

 

All travellers need vaccines for: Tetanus, Hepatitis A & Typhoid

 

However you could need others, depending on your plans when you arrive in Thailand. The following extra vaccines should be received for anyone travelling to rural areas:

• Tuberculosis
• Japanese Encephalitis

If your work, lifestyle or underlying health means you are at increased risk of infections, you need to be up to date with any additional vaccines. Living in a crowded urban area, for example, could leave you more at risk of becoming infected with diphtheria, so you may consider whether you are protected against this condition and seek further vaccination if necessary.

 

rab-copy

7 deaths from Rabies in Thailand – Jan-Aug 2016

If you want to go trekking, you will need jabs for Hepatitis B given the increased chance of water-borne infection. You will also be more likely to encounter wild animals, so a Rabies vaccine is advised. But even with a Rabies vaccine, urgent medial attention should be sought after any animal bite.

thai-copy

Keep an eye on children’s vaccines – they need various jabs at different life stages

 

It is worth assessing which of the above diseases children could be more at risk to, for example Hepatitis B given the increased risks involved.

It’s worth closely monitoring the vaccination schedule for children up to the age of 12. They need the standard child vaccines at various stages in their development, in addition to any additional jabs for moving to Thailand. It can be easy to lose track and miss one.

Any family member over the age of nine months will need a certificate of Yellow Fever vaccination if you have either came from a country at risk, or transited through one for more than 12 hours.

You should also speak to a GP before leaving if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. Pregnant women are often advised to consider postponing travel to places that require vaccines.

If this is unavoidable, you need to weigh up the risks. Catching a disease could be much more harmful to you and your baby than the vaccine itself.

 

Malaria

Although there is no risk of malaria in Thailand’s major cities, there is a low risk in certain rural areas. Travellers visiting the following regions should take a course of malaria tablets:

• Rural and forested areas at the border to Burma, Cambodia and Laos
• Rural and forested areas in Phang Nga and Phuket

 

Other considerations

There are other circumstances in which you will be advised against having vaccines. For example, if you are receiving chemotherapy or have recently had a bone marrow or organ transplant. The impact on your immune system can make vaccines too risky.

It is worth remembering to be up to date on all vaccines required in your home country, too. Try not to assume that any vaccinations are still effective if you’ve had them before. Check that they are all still valid and arrange for boosters if necessary.

 

Blogs | Health

Call our UK experts on

+44 (0) 1276 486477

Customers in over 160 countries have relied on us since 1992. How can we help you?

Get an estimate online

Blogs | Health

Living with asthma and COPD

Any sort of change in weather, be it a spike in temperature, a dust storm or a thunderstorm, could trigger an asthma attack for some of the world’s 235 million sufferers. It’s essential to know the triggers and some of the ways to minimise symptoms.

How air quality impacts COPD

Weather and air pollution are two of the most common triggers for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and asthma symptoms, but unfortunately are also the most difficult to control.

Research by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America shows that four in 10 asthmatics are more likely to have an acute episode on high pollution summer days than on other normal days. Asthma UK reports that two-thirds of asthmatics say poor air quality makes their condition worse.

 

166651939

 

Unfortunately, the climates in Thailand, Hong Kong and Dubai, UAE, are not ideal for people with respiratory conditions, and all three have other causes of asthma, such as high pollution levels. “The weather conditions in the UAE can trigger and aggravate asthma because of the high level of humidity and extensive use of uncleaned central air-conditioning systems in houses or offices that haven’t been cleaned,” says Dr Trilok Chand, of Burjeel Hospital, UAE.

Humidity is thought to carry more pollutants and moulds into the air and also make it more difficult to breath because the air itself is heavier. Industrial growth is another factor; the government of Hong Kong says street-level pollution and regional smog are its biggest pollution challenges, and urges people to check its live air quality index before going outside. In urban parts of Thailand, factory and vehicle pollution create a layer of smog that irritates the airways and lungs.

Sandstorms are another issue, especially in desert environments like Dubai. Dr Chand says the number of asthma patients visiting hospitals spikes during and after a sandstorm, when the quality of air is at its worst.

 

15375949

 

How to minimise and manage your symptoms

Make sure air-conditioning units are professionally cleaned and invest in an air purifier for the home or office.

Unfortunately, there’s little to be done about the quality of outdoor air and some experts say protective face masks do more harm than good for asthmatics because they make it more difficult to breath.

There are many websites providing live readings of a city’s air quality so check these before spending time outside.

When you do go out, try to limit moving from hot and humid outdoor areas to cool, air-conditioned indoor areas or cars as this irritates the airways. Reducing soft furnishings in your home will reduce the number of dust mites, a common asthma trigger.

Always carry your inhaler and asthma medications, and if you’re travelling somewhere new, take enough supplies to last the trip.

 

78265353

 

How to help someone in trouble

An asthma attack can take days to build so it’s important to know the symptoms.

These include chest tightness, wheezing, coughing and shortness of breath. If you’re with someone who’s having an attack it’s important to stay calm and keep the person sat upright with an open chest.

If there are any obvious triggers around such as pets or smokers, or you know of any other allergies they might have, remove the person from that situation. Asthma UK recommends taking one puff of a reliever inhaler every 30 to 60 seconds, up to a maximum of 10 puffs, and if things don’t improve, call an ambulance.

Where to find more information

Check local websites for up-to-date weather reports and air quality information. Thailand, Hong Kong and Dubai all have good public and private hospitals, so if you’re concerned about your asthma, see a doctor straight away.

Blogs | Health

Call our UK experts on

+44 (0) 1276 486477

Customers in over 160 countries have relied on us since 1992. How can we help you?

Get an estimate online

Blogs | Insurance Insights

What affects the cost of health insurance?

For those without inside knowledge of the actuary industry, health insurance premiums can seem something of a minefield.

But the calculations behind them can just depend on a few key factors, the rate of claims being one of the most important.

The insurance premiums need to be high enough to cover the cost of claims. This doesn’t mean your own insurance premium needs to cover the exact cost of your own claims, it means the total cost of those premiums need to cover the total cost of claims by people with those premiums.

If the cost of healthcare increases year on year, and the number of people making claims increases, this will push up the cost of health insurance.

Net effect of hospital visits cost and frequency:

2016 1 hospital visit at US$50 = US$50

2017 2 hospital visits at US$55 = US$110

So even though the healthcare cost hasn’t increased significantly, the increased number of visits pushed the total cost up by 120%. Insurance companies need to take these increases into account, however small they might appear to the individual.

Claim trends

In recent years, countries such as Hong Kong and Dubai have seen increases in their populations, alongside significant investment in their health infrastructure. There’s a wider range of treatments available, as well as a more expensive range of treatments.

Statistics have shown that medical trend – the term used to describe the change in claims cost per insured person – is rising, pushing up the insurance premiums that need to cover these costs.

According to risk management consultancy Aon Hewitt’s 2016 Global Medical Trend Report, the gross global medical trend rate was 8.7% in 2015, and 9.1% in 2016. This demonstrates the increase in claim costs around the world.

 

Factors that affect the cost of health insurance

 

Cost of healthcare

Number of insurance claims

Fraudulent claims

Regulations and taxes

Chronic diseases

Ageing population

Cost factors

As well as the increasing cost of healthcare and greater number of claims, there are a number of other factors that influence insurance premiums: fraud, regulation and taxes, ageing populations and chronic diseases.

Fraudulent claims give a false impression to insurance companies of the rate of claims, contributing to a misleading – and ultimately more costly – medical trend prediction.

Changing regulations and taxes also affects medical insurance companies. New rules (such as mandatory coverage of chronic conditions in Dubai) can make it much more costly to insure people in a particular country or region because the claim costs are likely to be much, much higher.

 

Countries with the highest health insurance costs in 2016

(shows average cost)

 

Impact of chronic conditions

The International Diabetes Federation estimates that the cost of treating someone with diabetes is up to four times the cost of treating a healthy person. If an insurance company must shoulder this cost and a significant portion of the population has diabetes, it increases premium costs for everyone.

There has been a significant increase in these type of illnesses, and this has a corresponding impact on the cost of healthcare.

You will also pay more for your insurance premium as you get older and your healthcare needs increase. The older an individual is, the more likely they are to suffer from certain conditions – such as cancer, cardiovascular disease and respiratory problems – that are expensive to treat.

The premium is calculated in age brackets for example: 25 to 30 years, 30 to 35 years etcetera. So the premium will therefore increase each year to reflect health cost inflation and, when the member’s age reaches the next age band, it will go up to reflect the additional risk of age.

Sources:

Pacific Prime – Cost of International Health Insurance Report – 2016 – https://www.pacificprime.com/cohi-2016/

Aon Hewitt – 2016 Global Medical Trend Report – www.aon.com

International Diabetes Federation – www.idf.org

Blogs | Insurance Insights

Call our UK experts on

+44 (0) 1276 486477

Customers in over 160 countries have relied on us since 1992. How can we help you?

Get an estimate online

Blogs | Health

Expat guide to vaccinations in Thailand

Thailand is a world of opportunity for ambitious professionals. But it’s important to remember that you or your family could be exposed to health issues that you’ve never had to think about before.

Understanding which vaccinations you need in Thailand is essential when planning your move. Try to seek advice and start receiving any relevant vaccines up to six weeks before moving.

What vaccines do I need in Thailand?

This will depend on which part of Thailand you are going to, how you’re travelling, and how long you plan to stay.

 

 

All travellers need vaccines for: Tetanus, Hepatitis A & Typhoid

 

However you could need others, depending on your plans when you arrive in Thailand. The following extra vaccines should be received for anyone travelling to rural areas:

• Tuberculosis
• Japanese Encephalitis

If your work, lifestyle or underlying health means you are at increased risk of infections, you need to be up to date with any additional vaccines. Living in a crowded urban area, for example, could leave you more at risk of becoming infected with diphtheria, so you may consider whether you are protected against this condition and seek further vaccination if necessary.

 

rab-copy

7 deaths from Rabies in Thailand – Jan-Aug 2016

If you want to go trekking, you will need jabs for Hepatitis B given the increased chance of water-borne infection. You will also be more likely to encounter wild animals, so a Rabies vaccine is advised. But even with a Rabies vaccine, urgent medial attention should be sought after any animal bite.

thai-copy

Keep an eye on children’s vaccines – they need various jabs at different life stages

 

It is worth assessing which of the above diseases children could be more at risk to, for example Hepatitis B given the increased risks involved.

It’s worth closely monitoring the vaccination schedule for children up to the age of 12. They need the standard child vaccines at various stages in their development, in addition to any additional jabs for moving to Thailand. It can be easy to lose track and miss one.

Any family member over the age of nine months will need a certificate of Yellow Fever vaccination if you have either came from a country at risk, or transited through one for more than 12 hours.

You should also speak to a GP before leaving if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. Pregnant women are often advised to consider postponing travel to places that require vaccines.

If this is unavoidable, you need to weigh up the risks. Catching a disease could be much more harmful to you and your baby than the vaccine itself.

 

Malaria

Although there is no risk of malaria in Thailand’s major cities, there is a low risk in certain rural areas. Travellers visiting the following regions should take a course of malaria tablets:

• Rural and forested areas at the border to Burma, Cambodia and Laos
• Rural and forested areas in Phang Nga and Phuket

 

Other considerations

There are other circumstances in which you will be advised against having vaccines. For example, if you are receiving chemotherapy or have recently had a bone marrow or organ transplant. The impact on your immune system can make vaccines too risky.

It is worth remembering to be up to date on all vaccines required in your home country, too. Try not to assume that any vaccinations are still effective if you’ve had them before. Check that they are all still valid and arrange for boosters if necessary.

 

Blogs | Health

Call our UK experts on

+44 (0) 1276 486477

Customers in over 160 countries have relied on us since 1992. How can we help you?

Get an estimate online

Blogs | Health

Living with asthma and COPD

Any sort of change in weather, be it a spike in temperature, a dust storm or a thunderstorm, could trigger an asthma attack for some of the world’s 235 million sufferers. It’s essential to know the triggers and some of the ways to minimise symptoms.

How air quality impacts COPD

Weather and air pollution are two of the most common triggers for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and asthma symptoms, but unfortunately are also the most difficult to control.

Research by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America shows that four in 10 asthmatics are more likely to have an acute episode on high pollution summer days than on other normal days. Asthma UK reports that two-thirds of asthmatics say poor air quality makes their condition worse.

 

166651939

 

Unfortunately, the climates in Thailand, Hong Kong and Dubai, UAE, are not ideal for people with respiratory conditions, and all three have other causes of asthma, such as high pollution levels. “The weather conditions in the UAE can trigger and aggravate asthma because of the high level of humidity and extensive use of uncleaned central air-conditioning systems in houses or offices that haven’t been cleaned,” says Dr Trilok Chand, of Burjeel Hospital, UAE.

Humidity is thought to carry more pollutants and moulds into the air and also make it more difficult to breath because the air itself is heavier. Industrial growth is another factor; the government of Hong Kong says street-level pollution and regional smog are its biggest pollution challenges, and urges people to check its live air quality index before going outside. In urban parts of Thailand, factory and vehicle pollution create a layer of smog that irritates the airways and lungs.

Sandstorms are another issue, especially in desert environments like Dubai. Dr Chand says the number of asthma patients visiting hospitals spikes during and after a sandstorm, when the quality of air is at its worst.

 

15375949

 

How to minimise and manage your symptoms

Make sure air-conditioning units are professionally cleaned and invest in an air purifier for the home or office.

Unfortunately, there’s little to be done about the quality of outdoor air and some experts say protective face masks do more harm than good for asthmatics because they make it more difficult to breath.

There are many websites providing live readings of a city’s air quality so check these before spending time outside.

When you do go out, try to limit moving from hot and humid outdoor areas to cool, air-conditioned indoor areas or cars as this irritates the airways. Reducing soft furnishings in your home will reduce the number of dust mites, a common asthma trigger.

Always carry your inhaler and asthma medications, and if you’re travelling somewhere new, take enough supplies to last the trip.

 

78265353

 

How to help someone in trouble

An asthma attack can take days to build so it’s important to know the symptoms.

These include chest tightness, wheezing, coughing and shortness of breath. If you’re with someone who’s having an attack it’s important to stay calm and keep the person sat upright with an open chest.

If there are any obvious triggers around such as pets or smokers, or you know of any other allergies they might have, remove the person from that situation. Asthma UK recommends taking one puff of a reliever inhaler every 30 to 60 seconds, up to a maximum of 10 puffs, and if things don’t improve, call an ambulance.

Where to find more information

Check local websites for up-to-date weather reports and air quality information. Thailand, Hong Kong and Dubai all have good public and private hospitals, so if you’re concerned about your asthma, see a doctor straight away.

Blogs | Health

Call our UK experts on

+44 (0) 1276 486477

Customers in over 160 countries have relied on us since 1992. How can we help you?

Get an estimate online

Blogs | Insurance Insights

What affects the cost of health insurance?

For those without inside knowledge of the actuary industry, health insurance premiums can seem something of a minefield.

But the calculations behind them can just depend on a few key factors, the rate of claims being one of the most important.

The insurance premiums need to be high enough to cover the cost of claims. This doesn’t mean your own insurance premium needs to cover the exact cost of your own claims, it means the total cost of those premiums need to cover the total cost of claims by people with those premiums.

If the cost of healthcare increases year on year, and the number of people making claims increases, this will push up the cost of health insurance.

Net effect of hospital visits cost and frequency:

2016 1 hospital visit at US$50 = US$50

2017 2 hospital visits at US$55 = US$110

So even though the healthcare cost hasn’t increased significantly, the increased number of visits pushed the total cost up by 120%. Insurance companies need to take these increases into account, however small they might appear to the individual.

Claim trends

In recent years, countries such as Hong Kong and Dubai have seen increases in their populations, alongside significant investment in their health infrastructure. There’s a wider range of treatments available, as well as a more expensive range of treatments.

Statistics have shown that medical trend – the term used to describe the change in claims cost per insured person – is rising, pushing up the insurance premiums that need to cover these costs.

According to risk management consultancy Aon Hewitt’s 2016 Global Medical Trend Report, the gross global medical trend rate was 8.7% in 2015, and 9.1% in 2016. This demonstrates the increase in claim costs around the world.

 

Factors that affect the cost of health insurance

 

Cost of healthcare

Number of insurance claims

Fraudulent claims

Regulations and taxes

Chronic diseases

Ageing population

Cost factors

As well as the increasing cost of healthcare and greater number of claims, there are a number of other factors that influence insurance premiums: fraud, regulation and taxes, ageing populations and chronic diseases.

Fraudulent claims give a false impression to insurance companies of the rate of claims, contributing to a misleading – and ultimately more costly – medical trend prediction.

Changing regulations and taxes also affects medical insurance companies. New rules (such as mandatory coverage of chronic conditions in Dubai) can make it much more costly to insure people in a particular country or region because the claim costs are likely to be much, much higher.

 

Countries with the highest health insurance costs in 2016

(shows average cost)

 

Impact of chronic conditions

The International Diabetes Federation estimates that the cost of treating someone with diabetes is up to four times the cost of treating a healthy person. If an insurance company must shoulder this cost and a significant portion of the population has diabetes, it increases premium costs for everyone.

There has been a significant increase in these type of illnesses, and this has a corresponding impact on the cost of healthcare.

You will also pay more for your insurance premium as you get older and your healthcare needs increase. The older an individual is, the more likely they are to suffer from certain conditions – such as cancer, cardiovascular disease and respiratory problems – that are expensive to treat.

The premium is calculated in age brackets for example: 25 to 30 years, 30 to 35 years etcetera. So the premium will therefore increase each year to reflect health cost inflation and, when the member’s age reaches the next age band, it will go up to reflect the additional risk of age.

Sources:

Pacific Prime – Cost of International Health Insurance Report – 2016 – https://www.pacificprime.com/cohi-2016/

Aon Hewitt – 2016 Global Medical Trend Report – www.aon.com

International Diabetes Federation – www.idf.org

Blogs | Insurance Insights

Call our UK experts on

+44 (0) 1276 486477

Customers in over 160 countries have relied on us since 1992. How can we help you?

Get an estimate online

Blogs | Health

Expat guide to vaccinations in Thailand

Thailand is a world of opportunity for ambitious professionals. But it’s important to remember that you or your family could be exposed to health issues that you’ve never had to think about before.

Understanding which vaccinations you need in Thailand is essential when planning your move. Try to seek advice and start receiving any relevant vaccines up to six weeks before moving.

What vaccines do I need in Thailand?

This will depend on which part of Thailand you are going to, how you’re travelling, and how long you plan to stay.

 

 

All travellers need vaccines for: Tetanus, Hepatitis A & Typhoid

 

However you could need others, depending on your plans when you arrive in Thailand. The following extra vaccines should be received for anyone travelling to rural areas:

• Tuberculosis
• Japanese Encephalitis

If your work, lifestyle or underlying health means you are at increased risk of infections, you need to be up to date with any additional vaccines. Living in a crowded urban area, for example, could leave you more at risk of becoming infected with diphtheria, so you may consider whether you are protected against this condition and seek further vaccination if necessary.

 

rab-copy

7 deaths from Rabies in Thailand – Jan-Aug 2016

If you want to go trekking, you will need jabs for Hepatitis B given the increased chance of water-borne infection. You will also be more likely to encounter wild animals, so a Rabies vaccine is advised. But even with a Rabies vaccine, urgent medial attention should be sought after any animal bite.

thai-copy

Keep an eye on children’s vaccines – they need various jabs at different life stages

 

It is worth assessing which of the above diseases children could be more at risk to, for example Hepatitis B given the increased risks involved.

It’s worth closely monitoring the vaccination schedule for children up to the age of 12. They need the standard child vaccines at various stages in their development, in addition to any additional jabs for moving to Thailand. It can be easy to lose track and miss one.

Any family member over the age of nine months will need a certificate of Yellow Fever vaccination if you have either came from a country at risk, or transited through one for more than 12 hours.

You should also speak to a GP before leaving if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. Pregnant women are often advised to consider postponing travel to places that require vaccines.

If this is unavoidable, you need to weigh up the risks. Catching a disease could be much more harmful to you and your baby than the vaccine itself.

 

Malaria

Although there is no risk of malaria in Thailand’s major cities, there is a low risk in certain rural areas. Travellers visiting the following regions should take a course of malaria tablets:

• Rural and forested areas at the border to Burma, Cambodia and Laos
• Rural and forested areas in Phang Nga and Phuket

 

Other considerations

There are other circumstances in which you will be advised against having vaccines. For example, if you are receiving chemotherapy or have recently had a bone marrow or organ transplant. The impact on your immune system can make vaccines too risky.

It is worth remembering to be up to date on all vaccines required in your home country, too. Try not to assume that any vaccinations are still effective if you’ve had them before. Check that they are all still valid and arrange for boosters if necessary.

 

Blogs | Health

Call our UK experts on

+44 (0) 1276 486477

Customers in over 160 countries have relied on us since 1992. How can we help you?

Get an estimate online

Blogs | Health

Living with asthma and COPD

Any sort of change in weather, be it a spike in temperature, a dust storm or a thunderstorm, could trigger an asthma attack for some of the world’s 235 million sufferers. It’s essential to know the triggers and some of the ways to minimise symptoms.

How air quality impacts COPD

Weather and air pollution are two of the most common triggers for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and asthma symptoms, but unfortunately are also the most difficult to control.

Research by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America shows that four in 10 asthmatics are more likely to have an acute episode on high pollution summer days than on other normal days. Asthma UK reports that two-thirds of asthmatics say poor air quality makes their condition worse.

 

166651939

 

Unfortunately, the climates in Thailand, Hong Kong and Dubai, UAE, are not ideal for people with respiratory conditions, and all three have other causes of asthma, such as high pollution levels. “The weather conditions in the UAE can trigger and aggravate asthma because of the high level of humidity and extensive use of uncleaned central air-conditioning systems in houses or offices that haven’t been cleaned,” says Dr Trilok Chand, of Burjeel Hospital, UAE.

Humidity is thought to carry more pollutants and moulds into the air and also make it more difficult to breath because the air itself is heavier. Industrial growth is another factor; the government of Hong Kong says street-level pollution and regional smog are its biggest pollution challenges, and urges people to check its live air quality index before going outside. In urban parts of Thailand, factory and vehicle pollution create a layer of smog that irritates the airways and lungs.

Sandstorms are another issue, especially in desert environments like Dubai. Dr Chand says the number of asthma patients visiting hospitals spikes during and after a sandstorm, when the quality of air is at its worst.

 

15375949

 

How to minimise and manage your symptoms

Make sure air-conditioning units are professionally cleaned and invest in an air purifier for the home or office.

Unfortunately, there’s little to be done about the quality of outdoor air and some experts say protective face masks do more harm than good for asthmatics because they make it more difficult to breath.

There are many websites providing live readings of a city’s air quality so check these before spending time outside.

When you do go out, try to limit moving from hot and humid outdoor areas to cool, air-conditioned indoor areas or cars as this irritates the airways. Reducing soft furnishings in your home will reduce the number of dust mites, a common asthma trigger.

Always carry your inhaler and asthma medications, and if you’re travelling somewhere new, take enough supplies to last the trip.

 

78265353

 

How to help someone in trouble

An asthma attack can take days to build so it’s important to know the symptoms.

These include chest tightness, wheezing, coughing and shortness of breath. If you’re with someone who’s having an attack it’s important to stay calm and keep the person sat upright with an open chest.

If there are any obvious triggers around such as pets or smokers, or you know of any other allergies they might have, remove the person from that situation. Asthma UK recommends taking one puff of a reliever inhaler every 30 to 60 seconds, up to a maximum of 10 puffs, and if things don’t improve, call an ambulance.

Where to find more information

Check local websites for up-to-date weather reports and air quality information. Thailand, Hong Kong and Dubai all have good public and private hospitals, so if you’re concerned about your asthma, see a doctor straight away.

Blogs | Health

Call our UK experts on

+44 (0) 1276 486477

Customers in over 160 countries have relied on us since 1992. How can we help you?

Get an estimate online

Blogs | Insurance Insights

What affects the cost of health insurance?

For those without inside knowledge of the actuary industry, health insurance premiums can seem something of a minefield.

But the calculations behind them can just depend on a few key factors, the rate of claims being one of the most important.

The insurance premiums need to be high enough to cover the cost of claims. This doesn’t mean your own insurance premium needs to cover the exact cost of your own claims, it means the total cost of those premiums need to cover the total cost of claims by people with those premiums.

If the cost of healthcare increases year on year, and the number of people making claims increases, this will push up the cost of health insurance.

Net effect of hospital visits cost and frequency:

2016 1 hospital visit at US$50 = US$50

2017 2 hospital visits at US$55 = US$110

So even though the healthcare cost hasn’t increased significantly, the increased number of visits pushed the total cost up by 120%. Insurance companies need to take these increases into account, however small they might appear to the individual.

Claim trends

In recent years, countries such as Hong Kong and Dubai have seen increases in their populations, alongside significant investment in their health infrastructure. There’s a wider range of treatments available, as well as a more expensive range of treatments.

Statistics have shown that medical trend – the term used to describe the change in claims cost per insured person – is rising, pushing up the insurance premiums that need to cover these costs.

According to risk management consultancy Aon Hewitt’s 2016 Global Medical Trend Report, the gross global medical trend rate was 8.7% in 2015, and 9.1% in 2016. This demonstrates the increase in claim costs around the world.

 

Factors that affect the cost of health insurance

 

Cost of healthcare

Number of insurance claims

Fraudulent claims

Regulations and taxes

Chronic diseases

Ageing population

Cost factors

As well as the increasing cost of healthcare and greater number of claims, there are a number of other factors that influence insurance premiums: fraud, regulation and taxes, ageing populations and chronic diseases.

Fraudulent claims give a false impression to insurance companies of the rate of claims, contributing to a misleading – and ultimately more costly – medical trend prediction.

Changing regulations and taxes also affects medical insurance companies. New rules (such as mandatory coverage of chronic conditions in Dubai) can make it much more costly to insure people in a particular country or region because the claim costs are likely to be much, much higher.

 

Countries with the highest health insurance costs in 2016

(shows average cost)

 

Impact of chronic conditions

The International Diabetes Federation estimates that the cost of treating someone with diabetes is up to four times the cost of treating a healthy person. If an insurance company must shoulder this cost and a significant portion of the population has diabetes, it increases premium costs for everyone.

There has been a significant increase in these type of illnesses, and this has a corresponding impact on the cost of healthcare.

You will also pay more for your insurance premium as you get older and your healthcare needs increase. The older an individual is, the more likely they are to suffer from certain conditions – such as cancer, cardiovascular disease and respiratory problems – that are expensive to treat.

The premium is calculated in age brackets for example: 25 to 30 years, 30 to 35 years etcetera. So the premium will therefore increase each year to reflect health cost inflation and, when the member’s age reaches the next age band, it will go up to reflect the additional risk of age.

Sources:

Pacific Prime – Cost of International Health Insurance Report – 2016 – https://www.pacificprime.com/cohi-2016/

Aon Hewitt – 2016 Global Medical Trend Report – www.aon.com

International Diabetes Federation – www.idf.org

Blogs | Insurance Insights

Call our UK experts on

+44 (0) 1276 486477

Customers in over 160 countries have relied on us since 1992. How can we help you?

Get an estimate online

Blogs | Health

Expat guide to vaccinations in Thailand

Thailand is a world of opportunity for ambitious professionals. But it’s important to remember that you or your family could be exposed to health issues that you’ve never had to think about before.

Understanding which vaccinations you need in Thailand is essential when planning your move. Try to seek advice and start receiving any relevant vaccines up to six weeks before moving.

What vaccines do I need in Thailand?

This will depend on which part of Thailand you are going to, how you’re travelling, and how long you plan to stay.

 

 

All travellers need vaccines for: Tetanus, Hepatitis A & Typhoid

 

However you could need others, depending on your plans when you arrive in Thailand. The following extra vaccines should be received for anyone travelling to rural areas:

• Tuberculosis
• Japanese Encephalitis

If your work, lifestyle or underlying health means you are at increased risk of infections, you need to be up to date with any additional vaccines. Living in a crowded urban area, for example, could leave you more at risk of becoming infected with diphtheria, so you may consider whether you are protected against this condition and seek further vaccination if necessary.

 

rab-copy

7 deaths from Rabies in Thailand – Jan-Aug 2016

If you want to go trekking, you will need jabs for Hepatitis B given the increased chance of water-borne infection. You will also be more likely to encounter wild animals, so a Rabies vaccine is advised. But even with a Rabies vaccine, urgent medial attention should be sought after any animal bite.

thai-copy

Keep an eye on children’s vaccines – they need various jabs at different life stages

 

It is worth assessing which of the above diseases children could be more at risk to, for example Hepatitis B given the increased risks involved.

It’s worth closely monitoring the vaccination schedule for children up to the age of 12. They need the standard child vaccines at various stages in their development, in addition to any additional jabs for moving to Thailand. It can be easy to lose track and miss one.

Any family member over the age of nine months will need a certificate of Yellow Fever vaccination if you have either came from a country at risk, or transited through one for more than 12 hours.

You should also speak to a GP before leaving if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. Pregnant women are often advised to consider postponing travel to places that require vaccines.

If this is unavoidable, you need to weigh up the risks. Catching a disease could be much more harmful to you and your baby than the vaccine itself.

 

Malaria

Although there is no risk of malaria in Thailand’s major cities, there is a low risk in certain rural areas. Travellers visiting the following regions should take a course of malaria tablets:

• Rural and forested areas at the border to Burma, Cambodia and Laos
• Rural and forested areas in Phang Nga and Phuket

 

Other considerations

There are other circumstances in which you will be advised against having vaccines. For example, if you are receiving chemotherapy or have recently had a bone marrow or organ transplant. The impact on your immune system can make vaccines too risky.

It is worth remembering to be up to date on all vaccines required in your home country, too. Try not to assume that any vaccinations are still effective if you’ve had them before. Check that they are all still valid and arrange for boosters if necessary.

 

Blogs | Health

Call our UK experts on

+44 (0) 1276 486477

Customers in over 160 countries have relied on us since 1992. How can we help you?

Get an estimate online

Blogs | Health

Living with asthma and COPD

Any sort of change in weather, be it a spike in temperature, a dust storm or a thunderstorm, could trigger an asthma attack for some of the world’s 235 million sufferers. It’s essential to know the triggers and some of the ways to minimise symptoms.

How air quality impacts COPD

Weather and air pollution are two of the most common triggers for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and asthma symptoms, but unfortunately are also the most difficult to control.

Research by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America shows that four in 10 asthmatics are more likely to have an acute episode on high pollution summer days than on other normal days. Asthma UK reports that two-thirds of asthmatics say poor air quality makes their condition worse.

 

166651939

 

Unfortunately, the climates in Thailand, Hong Kong and Dubai, UAE, are not ideal for people with respiratory conditions, and all three have other causes of asthma, such as high pollution levels. “The weather conditions in the UAE can trigger and aggravate asthma because of the high level of humidity and extensive use of uncleaned central air-conditioning systems in houses or offices that haven’t been cleaned,” says Dr Trilok Chand, of Burjeel Hospital, UAE.

Humidity is thought to carry more pollutants and moulds into the air and also make it more difficult to breath because the air itself is heavier. Industrial growth is another factor; the government of Hong Kong says street-level pollution and regional smog are its biggest pollution challenges, and urges people to check its live air quality index before going outside. In urban parts of Thailand, factory and vehicle pollution create a layer of smog that irritates the airways and lungs.

Sandstorms are another issue, especially in desert environments like Dubai. Dr Chand says the number of asthma patients visiting hospitals spikes during and after a sandstorm, when the quality of air is at its worst.

 

15375949

 

How to minimise and manage your symptoms

Make sure air-conditioning units are professionally cleaned and invest in an air purifier for the home or office.

Unfortunately, there’s little to be done about the quality of outdoor air and some experts say protective face masks do more harm than good for asthmatics because they make it more difficult to breath.

There are many websites providing live readings of a city’s air quality so check these before spending time outside.

When you do go out, try to limit moving from hot and humid outdoor areas to cool, air-conditioned indoor areas or cars as this irritates the airways. Reducing soft furnishings in your home will reduce the number of dust mites, a common asthma trigger.

Always carry your inhaler and asthma medications, and if you’re travelling somewhere new, take enough supplies to last the trip.

 

78265353

 

How to help someone in trouble

An asthma attack can take days to build so it’s important to know the symptoms.

These include chest tightness, wheezing, coughing and shortness of breath. If you’re with someone who’s having an attack it’s important to stay calm and keep the person sat upright with an open chest.

If there are any obvious triggers around such as pets or smokers, or you know of any other allergies they might have, remove the person from that situation. Asthma UK recommends taking one puff of a reliever inhaler every 30 to 60 seconds, up to a maximum of 10 puffs, and if things don’t improve, call an ambulance.

Where to find more information

Check local websites for up-to-date weather reports and air quality information. Thailand, Hong Kong and Dubai all have good public and private hospitals, so if you’re concerned about your asthma, see a doctor straight away.

Blogs | Health

Call our UK experts on

+44 (0) 1276 486477

Customers in over 160 countries have relied on us since 1992. How can we help you?

Get an estimate online

Blogs | Insurance Insights

What affects the cost of health insurance?

For those without inside knowledge of the actuary industry, health insurance premiums can seem something of a minefield.

But the calculations behind them can just depend on a few key factors, the rate of claims being one of the most important.

The insurance premiums need to be high enough to cover the cost of claims. This doesn’t mean your own insurance premium needs to cover the exact cost of your own claims, it means the total cost of those premiums need to cover the total cost of claims by people with those premiums.

If the cost of healthcare increases year on year, and the number of people making claims increases, this will push up the cost of health insurance.

Net effect of hospital visits cost and frequency:

2016 1 hospital visit at US$50 = US$50

2017 2 hospital visits at US$55 = US$110

So even though the healthcare cost hasn’t increased significantly, the increased number of visits pushed the total cost up by 120%. Insurance companies need to take these increases into account, however small they might appear to the individual.

Claim trends

In recent years, countries such as Hong Kong and Dubai have seen increases in their populations, alongside significant investment in their health infrastructure. There’s a wider range of treatments available, as well as a more expensive range of treatments.

Statistics have shown that medical trend – the term used to describe the change in claims cost per insured person – is rising, pushing up the insurance premiums that need to cover these costs.

According to risk management consultancy Aon Hewitt’s 2016 Global Medical Trend Report, the gross global medical trend rate was 8.7% in 2015, and 9.1% in 2016. This demonstrates the increase in claim costs around the world.

 

Factors that affect the cost of health insurance

 

Cost of healthcare

Number of insurance claims

Fraudulent claims

Regulations and taxes

Chronic diseases

Ageing population

Cost factors

As well as the increasing cost of healthcare and greater number of claims, there are a number of other factors that influence insurance premiums: fraud, regulation and taxes, ageing populations and chronic diseases.

Fraudulent claims give a false impression to insurance companies of the rate of claims, contributing to a misleading – and ultimately more costly – medical trend prediction.

Changing regulations and taxes also affects medical insurance companies. New rules (such as mandatory coverage of chronic conditions in Dubai) can make it much more costly to insure people in a particular country or region because the claim costs are likely to be much, much higher.

 

Countries with the highest health insurance costs in 2016

(shows average cost)

 

Impact of chronic conditions

The International Diabetes Federation estimates that the cost of treating someone with diabetes is up to four times the cost of treating a healthy person. If an insurance company must shoulder this cost and a significant portion of the population has diabetes, it increases premium costs for everyone.

There has been a significant increase in these type of illnesses, and this has a corresponding impact on the cost of healthcare.

You will also pay more for your insurance premium as you get older and your healthcare needs increase. The older an individual is, the more likely they are to suffer from certain conditions – such as cancer, cardiovascular disease and respiratory problems – that are expensive to treat.

The premium is calculated in age brackets for example: 25 to 30 years, 30 to 35 years etcetera. So the premium will therefore increase each year to reflect health cost inflation and, when the member’s age reaches the next age band, it will go up to reflect the additional risk of age.

Sources:

Pacific Prime – Cost of International Health Insurance Report – 2016 – https://www.pacificprime.com/cohi-2016/

Aon Hewitt – 2016 Global Medical Trend Report – www.aon.com

International Diabetes Federation – www.idf.org

Blogs | Insurance Insights

Call our UK experts on

+44 (0) 1276 486477

Customers in over 160 countries have relied on us since 1992. How can we help you?

Get an estimate online

Blogs | Health

Expat guide to vaccinations in Thailand

Thailand is a world of opportunity for ambitious professionals. But it’s important to remember that you or your family could be exposed to health issues that you’ve never had to think about before.

Understanding which vaccinations you need in Thailand is essential when planning your move. Try to seek advice and start receiving any relevant vaccines up to six weeks before moving.

What vaccines do I need in Thailand?

This will depend on which part of Thailand you are going to, how you’re travelling, and how long you plan to stay.

 

 

All travellers need vaccines for: Tetanus, Hepatitis A & Typhoid

 

However you could need others, depending on your plans when you arrive in Thailand. The following extra vaccines should be received for anyone travelling to rural areas:

• Tuberculosis
• Japanese Encephalitis

If your work, lifestyle or underlying health means you are at increased risk of infections, you need to be up to date with any additional vaccines. Living in a crowded urban area, for example, could leave you more at risk of becoming infected with diphtheria, so you may consider whether you are protected against this condition and seek further vaccination if necessary.

 

rab-copy

7 deaths from Rabies in Thailand – Jan-Aug 2016

If you want to go trekking, you will need jabs for Hepatitis B given the increased chance of water-borne infection. You will also be more likely to encounter wild animals, so a Rabies vaccine is advised. But even with a Rabies vaccine, urgent medial attention should be sought after any animal bite.

thai-copy

Keep an eye on children’s vaccines – they need various jabs at different life stages

 

It is worth assessing which of the above diseases children could be more at risk to, for example Hepatitis B given the increased risks involved.

It’s worth closely monitoring the vaccination schedule for children up to the age of 12. They need the standard child vaccines at various stages in their development, in addition to any additional jabs for moving to Thailand. It can be easy to lose track and miss one.

Any family member over the age of nine months will need a certificate of Yellow Fever vaccination if you have either came from a country at risk, or transited through one for more than 12 hours.

You should also speak to a GP before leaving if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. Pregnant women are often advised to consider postponing travel to places that require vaccines.

If this is unavoidable, you need to weigh up the risks. Catching a disease could be much more harmful to you and your baby than the vaccine itself.

 

Malaria

Although there is no risk of malaria in Thailand’s major cities, there is a low risk in certain rural areas. Travellers visiting the following regions should take a course of malaria tablets:

• Rural and forested areas at the border to Burma, Cambodia and Laos
• Rural and forested areas in Phang Nga and Phuket

 

Other considerations

There are other circumstances in which you will be advised against having vaccines. For example, if you are receiving chemotherapy or have recently had a bone marrow or organ transplant. The impact on your immune system can make vaccines too risky.

It is worth remembering to be up to date on all vaccines required in your home country, too. Try not to assume that any vaccinations are still effective if you’ve had them before. Check that they are all still valid and arrange for boosters if necessary.

 

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Living with asthma and COPD

Any sort of change in weather, be it a spike in temperature, a dust storm or a thunderstorm, could trigger an asthma attack for some of the world’s 235 million sufferers. It’s essential to know the triggers and some of the ways to minimise symptoms.

How air quality impacts COPD

Weather and air pollution are two of the most common triggers for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and asthma symptoms, but unfortunately are also the most difficult to control.

Research by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America shows that four in 10 asthmatics are more likely to have an acute episode on high pollution summer days than on other normal days. Asthma UK reports that two-thirds of asthmatics say poor air quality makes their condition worse.

 

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Unfortunately, the climates in Thailand, Hong Kong and Dubai, UAE, are not ideal for people with respiratory conditions, and all three have other causes of asthma, such as high pollution levels. “The weather conditions in the UAE can trigger and aggravate asthma because of the high level of humidity and extensive use of uncleaned central air-conditioning systems in houses or offices that haven’t been cleaned,” says Dr Trilok Chand, of Burjeel Hospital, UAE.

Humidity is thought to carry more pollutants and moulds into the air and also make it more difficult to breath because the air itself is heavier. Industrial growth is another factor; the government of Hong Kong says street-level pollution and regional smog are its biggest pollution challenges, and urges people to check its live air quality index before going outside. In urban parts of Thailand, factory and vehicle pollution create a layer of smog that irritates the airways and lungs.

Sandstorms are another issue, especially in desert environments like Dubai. Dr Chand says the number of asthma patients visiting hospitals spikes during and after a sandstorm, when the quality of air is at its worst.

 

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How to minimise and manage your symptoms

Make sure air-conditioning units are professionally cleaned and invest in an air purifier for the home or office.

Unfortunately, there’s little to be done about the quality of outdoor air and some experts say protective face masks do more harm than good for asthmatics because they make it more difficult to breath.

There are many websites providing live readings of a city’s air quality so check these before spending time outside.

When you do go out, try to limit moving from hot and humid outdoor areas to cool, air-conditioned indoor areas or cars as this irritates the airways. Reducing soft furnishings in your home will reduce the number of dust mites, a common asthma trigger.

Always carry your inhaler and asthma medications, and if you’re travelling somewhere new, take enough supplies to last the trip.

 

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How to help someone in trouble

An asthma attack can take days to build so it’s important to know the symptoms.

These include chest tightness, wheezing, coughing and shortness of breath. If you’re with someone who’s having an attack it’s important to stay calm and keep the person sat upright with an open chest.

If there are any obvious triggers around such as pets or smokers, or you know of any other allergies they might have, remove the person from that situation. Asthma UK recommends taking one puff of a reliever inhaler every 30 to 60 seconds, up to a maximum of 10 puffs, and if things don’t improve, call an ambulance.

Where to find more information

Check local websites for up-to-date weather reports and air quality information. Thailand, Hong Kong and Dubai all have good public and private hospitals, so if you’re concerned about your asthma, see a doctor straight away.

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What affects the cost of health insurance?

For those without inside knowledge of the actuary industry, health insurance premiums can seem something of a minefield.

But the calculations behind them can just depend on a few key factors, the rate of claims being one of the most important.

The insurance premiums need to be high enough to cover the cost of claims. This doesn’t mean your own insurance premium needs to cover the exact cost of your own claims, it means the total cost of those premiums need to cover the total cost of claims by people with those premiums.

If the cost of healthcare increases year on year, and the number of people making claims increases, this will push up the cost of health insurance.

Net effect of hospital visits cost and frequency:

2016 1 hospital visit at US$50 = US$50

2017 2 hospital visits at US$55 = US$110

So even though the healthcare cost hasn’t increased significantly, the increased number of visits pushed the total cost up by 120%. Insurance companies need to take these increases into account, however small they might appear to the individual.

Claim trends

In recent years, countries such as Hong Kong and Dubai have seen increases in their populations, alongside significant investment in their health infrastructure. There’s a wider range of treatments available, as well as a more expensive range of treatments.

Statistics have shown that medical trend – the term used to describe the change in claims cost per insured person – is rising, pushing up the insurance premiums that need to cover these costs.

According to risk management consultancy Aon Hewitt’s 2016 Global Medical Trend Report, the gross global medical trend rate was 8.7% in 2015, and 9.1% in 2016. This demonstrates the increase in claim costs around the world.

 

Factors that affect the cost of health insurance

 

Cost of healthcare

Number of insurance claims

Fraudulent claims

Regulations and taxes

Chronic diseases

Ageing population

Cost factors

As well as the increasing cost of healthcare and greater number of claims, there are a number of other factors that influence insurance premiums: fraud, regulation and taxes, ageing populations and chronic diseases.

Fraudulent claims give a false impression to insurance companies of the rate of claims, contributing to a misleading – and ultimately more costly – medical trend prediction.

Changing regulations and taxes also affects medical insurance companies. New rules (such as mandatory coverage of chronic conditions in Dubai) can make it much more costly to insure people in a particular country or region because the claim costs are likely to be much, much higher.

 

Countries with the highest health insurance costs in 2016

(shows average cost)

 

Impact of chronic conditions

The International Diabetes Federation estimates that the cost of treating someone with diabetes is up to four times the cost of treating a healthy person. If an insurance company must shoulder this cost and a significant portion of the population has diabetes, it increases premium costs for everyone.

There has been a significant increase in these type of illnesses, and this has a corresponding impact on the cost of healthcare.

You will also pay more for your insurance premium as you get older and your healthcare needs increase. The older an individual is, the more likely they are to suffer from certain conditions – such as cancer, cardiovascular disease and respiratory problems – that are expensive to treat.

The premium is calculated in age brackets for example: 25 to 30 years, 30 to 35 years etcetera. So the premium will therefore increase each year to reflect health cost inflation and, when the member’s age reaches the next age band, it will go up to reflect the additional risk of age.

Sources:

Pacific Prime – Cost of International Health Insurance Report – 2016 – https://www.pacificprime.com/cohi-2016/

Aon Hewitt – 2016 Global Medical Trend Report – www.aon.com

International Diabetes Federation – www.idf.org

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Expat guide to vaccinations in Thailand

Thailand is a world of opportunity for ambitious professionals. But it’s important to remember that you or your family could be exposed to health issues that you’ve never had to think about before.

Understanding which vaccinations you need in Thailand is essential when planning your move. Try to seek advice and start receiving any relevant vaccines up to six weeks before moving.

What vaccines do I need in Thailand?

This will depend on which part of Thailand you are going to, how you’re travelling, and how long you plan to stay.

 

 

All travellers need vaccines for: Tetanus, Hepatitis A & Typhoid

 

However you could need others, depending on your plans when you arrive in Thailand. The following extra vaccines should be received for anyone travelling to rural areas:

• Tuberculosis
• Japanese Encephalitis

If your work, lifestyle or underlying health means you are at increased risk of infections, you need to be up to date with any additional vaccines. Living in a crowded urban area, for example, could leave you more at risk of becoming infected with diphtheria, so you may consider whether you are protected against this condition and seek further vaccination if necessary.

 

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7 deaths from Rabies in Thailand – Jan-Aug 2016

If you want to go trekking, you will need jabs for Hepatitis B given the increased chance of water-borne infection. You will also be more likely to encounter wild animals, so a Rabies vaccine is advised. But even with a Rabies vaccine, urgent medial attention should be sought after any animal bite.

thai-copy

Keep an eye on children’s vaccines – they need various jabs at different life stages

 

It is worth assessing which of the above diseases children could be more at risk to, for example Hepatitis B given the increased risks involved.

It’s worth closely monitoring the vaccination schedule for children up to the age of 12. They need the standard child vaccines at various stages in their development, in addition to any additional jabs for moving to Thailand. It can be easy to lose track and miss one.

Any family member over the age of nine months will need a certificate of Yellow Fever vaccination if you have either came from a country at risk, or transited through one for more than 12 hours.

You should also speak to a GP before leaving if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. Pregnant women are often advised to consider postponing travel to places that require vaccines.

If this is unavoidable, you need to weigh up the risks. Catching a disease could be much more harmful to you and your baby than the vaccine itself.

 

Malaria

Although there is no risk of malaria in Thailand’s major cities, there is a low risk in certain rural areas. Travellers visiting the following regions should take a course of malaria tablets:

• Rural and forested areas at the border to Burma, Cambodia and Laos
• Rural and forested areas in Phang Nga and Phuket

 

Other considerations

There are other circumstances in which you will be advised against having vaccines. For example, if you are receiving chemotherapy or have recently had a bone marrow or organ transplant. The impact on your immune system can make vaccines too risky.

It is worth remembering to be up to date on all vaccines required in your home country, too. Try not to assume that any vaccinations are still effective if you’ve had them before. Check that they are all still valid and arrange for boosters if necessary.

 

Blogs | Health

Call our UK experts on

+44 (0) 1276 486477