At Aetna International, we’re proud and honoured to be Headline Sponsor of the UK Health & Protection Awards 2021. We’re delighted to finally be able to join our peers from other companies to celebrate the greatest achievements of the industry after a truly unprecedented 18 months.
With all the energy that our teams put into everything we do every day of the year, for our members, for our clients, for our broker partners and for the good of the health insurance sector, I believe it’s really important – maybe essential – that for one night of the year we come together with our competitors, broker partners and fellow industry ambassadors to celebrate our achievements as one team.
After all, we share the same challenges in a fast-moving and rapidly-innovating environment, we share the same passion for providing accessible healthcare services and we share the same drive and determination to improve in everything we do.
The services we offer make a real difference to the health and quality of life of millions of people in almost every country in the world every moment of the day.
Everybody has healthcare and wellbeing needs, whether they be physical, mental or emotional, and every one of our members depends on us and trusts us to help them to the best of our ability.
I believe that awards are essential for any industry. They not only act as a way of praising extraordinary accomplishments and commending those who come so close to reaching the highest bar set by the winners.
They help to prevent us from living off yesterday’s victories and getting too complacent. I know we all share the drive to succeed, but the opportunity to win an award and receive well-deserved recognition in front of our industry peers is an added incentive to aim for the highest possible standards all year round.
So, I’d like to thank and congratulate every organisation who puts in the time and effort to enter an award. And I wish everyone who’s shortlisted for a category this year all the very best on the night.
The industry is meeting greater demands
One of the main trends we’ve seen in our industry this year is around how the Covid-19 pandemic has rapidly magnified the importance of physical, mental and emotional health for employees of all ages and their families.
As a result, employees now have greater expectations for health insurance benefits and are putting greater demands on their employers. Employers have to act fast to meet their needs and the industry needs to respond.
As part of our Polarised Perceptions of Corporate Health and Wellness campaign, we’ve surveyed HR departments and employees to better understand their needs.
Our findings show that 70 percent of employees of global businesses feel that they’ve been negatively affected during the pandemic and that mental health is more important to them now.
They’ve told us that they want their employer to provide comprehensive mental health and wellbeing services as standard, and they’ve been very clear in stating that these services are more important to them now than they’ve ever been in the past.
Furthermore, they want to access these services via digital tools that they can use at any time.
Greater expectations from employees mean that employers really do need to carefully choose the most suitable healthcare plans for their valued workforce – plans that cover everything from health support, advice and guidance through to telemedicine services.
And all available at the click of a button or the touch of a screen. All this from a reliable and trustworthy partner that offers great value for money and will be there for them wherever they live and work.
The private medical insurance market is adapting fast
We’ve definitely seen the health insurance market adapt quickly and evolve from a position of helping people to get better to also helping to prevent them becoming sick in the first place.
There’s a lot more emphasis on empowering people to take care of their own physical, mental and emotional wellbeing and to make this a daily habit.
At Aetna International we call this is a well-care model and we’re providing our members with a wealth of tools and resources to enable them to lead happier, healthier lives.
We’re determined to help as many people as we can with their mental health. That’s why we’ve invested in enhancing many of our products and launched some new ones.
Our members have access to the award-winning chatbot app, Wysa, access to doctors via our sophisticated telemedicine service, vHealth, and to counsellors through our employee assistance programme (EAP), plus a host of useful apps.
Looking ahead to 2022
Overall, I think that many of the trends we’ve seen in the past 18 months will continue for the remainder of this year and will flow through into next year.
Health insurers will continue to offer all-round health care and accelerate the roll-out of digital services, such as telehealth, with demand driven by their members.
Not only do such services offer more convenience and safety, but they help empower people to proactively take responsibility for their own health and reduce the need to access in-person medical care further down the line.
I believe this approach will reduce the number of claims and therefore costs, making quality health care even more affordable and accessible to more people in the long term.