Interview with Mr. Zahal Levy, President of MediHelp International

Interviews | 2017

MediHelp International was founded in 1999, and it was the first international health insurance provider in the CEE. We then chose the Blue Butterfly to represent our symbol of life, joy and nobility mainly to represent the peace of mind that comes by not having to worry of your medical care. The Butterfly represents freedom, freedom of choice of any medical care anywhere in Europe.

Our first office was opened in Romania, but then we created local teams in Hungary, Bulgaria and recently in Poland (where we are known as MediSky). But our ambition does not end here, as we are carefully looking at other countries.

While we are present in 4 important CEE EU states, our premium healthcare plans offer services on 5 continents – Europe, the USA, Asia, Africa and Australia.

How did the private health insurance client change in the last 15 years?

Our first customers where all foreigners. Citizens from other countries who did not know what is life without private medical isurance plan. But slowly, the Romanians started to see that you are taking a huge risk, if you have no insurance cover. More and more local customers got our plans and now we can say that MediHelp’s typical customer is between 35 to 55 years old, is at the peak of his career, highly educated, has a sense of responsibility, an international vision, has travelled abroad and seeked high standards. Our customer has a strong concern for his health, but also for the health of his family and/or his employees.

The financial aspect has an important toll as you need to be educated, and really understand the Romanian healthcare reality to agree and afford a yearly fee of 1,000 to 2,000 Eur (age dependent) for a healthcare insurance plan. We estimate that 15% of the population in Romania falls into this category.

Romania’s private health insurance market has a huge potential, but we estimate that in the coming years, much of our business will still come from corporate subscribers.

The Romanian clients are predominantly passive about their health situation, they do little prevention and take action only when the medical problem occurs. At that point they may face the sad reality of busy hospitals, ling wait for treatment, and insulting attitude. Our private care will secure the highest medical care, right away, in your country or anywhere in Europe, by your choice.

What are the core benefits of the international health insurance offered by MediHelp?

In terms of Access&Payment, MediHelp offers coverage from 500.000 euro to 3.000.000 euro and direct billing in more than 425.000 private clinics worldwide, but also Outside of Area of Coverage.

Our clients get the freedom to choose any doctor and clinic in their city, country, Europe, or if needed around the world. We will settle any financial issues with our customer in a few days, with our Customer Care team and with 24/7 emergency Call Centre.

As for the individual and corporate Medical Services, we offer inpatient & day care, hospitalization, intensive care, outpatient, chronic conditions, health screening, complex surgeries, new-born care, multidisciplinary investigations.

Do you consider that the financial incentives associated to the health insurances granted since 1st of January 2016 will bring forward the development of the market?

Tax benefits are the core of the approach of all Western governments to private health insurance sector. „Buy health insurance for your employees, get them off the state budget and in return don’t pay tax for the funds you used to pay your premiums”- is a general idea. There is nothing new here, only a brave decision that came into the market too little and too late. In Hungary, for example, the law was implemented 4 years ago and the tax benefits rise to 1,400 Euro per employee per year. (420 Euro in RO). In Western Europe this practice is known for tens of years.

Tax benefits regarding premium health insurance also have a social message of responsibility from the state. It is clear that the state can no longer take care of our health with the existing funds collected from the citizens, no tax, no health services, our health stays in our own range of responsibilities. This is exactly why it is important to know which provider to trust your health with.

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