CIGNA International to offer individual private medical insurance

February 12, 2010

CIGNA International will develop and offer individual private medical insurance (PMI) for citizens in countries outside the United States as well as to individual expatriates and high net worth individuals.

CIGNA International will develop and offer individual private medical insurance (PMI) for citizens in countries outside the United States as well as to individual expatriates and high net worth individuals.

CIGNA is focusing on the international market because it sees growth in many regions of the world as a growing middle class seeks coverage for rising out-of-pocket costs, reduced or eliminated services and catastrophic illnesses.

“There are emerging health issues around the world such as aging populations and an increase in chronic illnesses,” says CIGNA spokesperson Gloria Barone. “Take India, where the share of chronic diseases such as diabetes and hypertension is expected to rise to 57% in 2020, up from 29% in 1990. This is bringing an increased interest in leveraging U.S.-style capabilities to manage care and reduce health related costs - and it’s fueling business opportunities for CIGNA.”

Barone says health care outside of the U.S. is still vastly different than it is in the U.S. and it continues to evolve to meet changing consumer needs. In most countries around the world, the concept of private medical insurance is just beginning to emerge, she says, and it’s often a supplement to local government-run programs.

“Health programs vary country-by-country,” she says. “In the markets where we do business outside the U.S., all have some form of a government-run health program. The state of these systems vary, often creating unmet needs in the health care marketplace.”

For CIGNA, these emerging needs of individuals, companies, business partners and governments around the world represent an opportunity.

“We are introducing two products: private medical insurance for individual expatriates and private medical insurance for individual citizens of Spain and, over time, other countries,” Barone says. “With respect to Spain, we already have a well established group health care business in the country. We can immediately use the underwriting expertise, networks and medical management capability already in place to build and market an individual PMI product there.”

Keith Biddlestone has been appointed to lead CIGNA's international individual PMI effort. He will be responsible for establishing and implementing the company’s individual PMI strategy on an international scale. Biddlestone comes to CIGNA from Bupa International where he spent more than 25 years in a variety of health care leadership positions in both Europe and the Asia-Pacific regions