In this exclusive iPMI Global interview, Christopher Knight, CEO, iPMI Global, met with Gitte Bach, President & CEO at New Frontier Group. They discussed 2023 in detail and looked at the achievements of New Frontier Group.
Please introduce yourself and background in the international medical cost containment market:
Hi, I’m Gitte Bach, and I founded New Frontier Group in 2002. My experience in international insurance started at IHI Denmark, where I envisioned better solutions for international healthcare programs and decided to build a robust cost management, claims administration, pharmacy, telehealth, and concierge solution for clients worldwide. I’m proud of the team we have built, and our commitment to service has been a driving force in helping hundreds of international healthcare organizations enhance their patient outcomes and savings. The landscape has changed a lot over our 22 years of service, but we never stop ideating and looking for solutions to support clients now and into the future.
In the past 12 months, what has your business achieved in the international medical cost containment market?
In the past 12 months, our business has achieved significant reductions in the average cost per medical claim for our clients while maintaining excellent patient care. There are several new cost control methods we focused on developing including a Value Based Care Reimbursement Model called Cap Care Premium with Ambulatory Surgical Centers and a Referenced Based Pricing reimbursement model. Each new solution and expansion is an innovative way to change the status quo and create more transparency around provider service pricing. These solutions have further expanded our network of preferred providers ensuring better negotiated rates for medical services. Our focus has always been to deliver a choice of networks and solutions for our clients. By broadening our partnerships with providers, we can bring needed options to international payers. There are many nuances from client to client and there is no “one-provider network fits all” solution, so we must be ready to bring expanded options.
Additionally, we have focused on extending our telehealth solution to multiple countries as digital health will continue to be grow as a preferred method of delivering core healthcare services.
And finally with the extensive cyberthreats and need for security in our industry, our team went through the ISO audit and is now ISO9000 Certified. We understand the importance of keeping our data safe and wanted our clients to be assured that we had all the needed controls in place.
How did you do it?
We achieved our enhancements by first leveraging data analytics to identify high-cost areas and procedures. From there we looked at flat rate solutions and different care settings that could be more effective.
For our Cap Care Premium solution, we focused on the types of services that are best handled in an Ambulatory Surgery Centers (ASCs) and building strong relationships with the top ASCs. Not everyone understands the difference in outpatient surgeries being handled in a hospital versus an ACS, but there are many benefits to the patient and the travel insurance carrier depending on the specific needs and circumstances of the patient including cost-effectiveness, specialization in outpatient procedures, lower risk of infection, convenience and comfort, faster recovery and discharge, and personalized care.
When it comes to our Referenced Based Pricing, we focused on looking at the most fair and accurate standardized benchmarks to use as our base rates and modelled our approach after some of the government payment programs that providers are familiar with receiving.
For our telehealth global growth, we worked with telehealth provider and have expanded into several countries across Europe, LATAM, and Canada in additional to the US.
We also invested in our proprietary technology so we could make adjustments that would streamline our services and ensure integration with other solutions.
Geographically speaking, where are the “hot” international medical cost containment markets currently?
The "hot" markets for international medical cost containment are those with a high influx of travellers and expatriates and / or a high cost of healthcare which in 2023 included the United States, Southeast Asia, parts of Europe, and Latin America. These regions have all seen changes to the healthcare delivery systems and of course with the cost of care in the US it is a prime target for cost reduction solutions.
Looking at 2024, what do you have planned for the international medical cost containment market?
Looking at 2024, our plans include continuing to expand the new services rolled out in 2023 to more of our clients, enhance our digital infrastructure, and allow for more real-time solutions for our clients. We are laser focused on business process improvements that can ensure faster claims processing and further integration across our services and our clients services. We aim to provide more personalized cost containment solutions and expand our presence in emerging markets where healthcare costs are rising.
Since Covid-19, how has the international medical cost containment market changed?
Since Covid-19, the international medical cost containment market has changed with an increased on meeting the demand in the expansion in travel. The pandemic highlighted the importance of having flexible and responsive healthcare services for global mobility, so telehealth is continuing to evolve as a delivery option. Because people delayed or missed healthcare services during the pandemic, it also created the potential for conditions to go undiscovered and, subsequently, a potential surge in healthcare utilization that can have onset during stressful times – like traveling.
What role is artificial intelligence and machine learning playing in the international medical cost containment market?
Artificial intelligence and machine learning play a crucial role in our market by analyzing large datasets to predict trends, optimize provider networks, and personalize cost containment strategies. AI-driven tools also assist in fraud detection and in automating routine tasks to improve efficiency. As this technology continues to evolve, our team continues to look for where we can integrate new efficiencies for our clients.
When we look at the global international medical cost containment market, where do you see the major opportunities?
When looking at the global market, we see major opportunities in further integrating digital health technologies, expanding into emerging economies with growing expatriate communities, and offering new full-service packages to IPMI clients. As an example, our Cap Care Premium solution works great for IPMI and expat business because we can pre-arrange care for scheduled surgeries and focus on getting the lowest possible flat rate in an ASC with top quality providers that is convenient and comfortable for the patient. Healthcare will continue to evolve, so the opportunities lie in reviewing how each country is focusing on improving their own system for their citizens and determining how we can utilize these techniques that providers are growing accustomed to and find innovative ways to support our industry. Not everything a country does to improve its healthcare ecosystem can be easily translated for international travellers, IPMI patients, and expats, but it is our job to see where benefits can be had by incorporating or modifying local national improvements to fit our population.
What is the scope for global international medical cost containment market?
The scope for the global international medical cost containment market is vast and growing. It encompasses not only the negotiation of medical costs but also the implementation of new healthcare delivery solutions, expanded use of evolving technology, focus on cybersecurity, and alignment with the development of new international insurance products that are being developed. It is important to make the necessary adjustments to align with the changing landscape of global health and travel.