– A message from President Zahal Levy –
We are now one year into “a new life” influenced heavily by Covid-19.
As prospects for a world-wide recovery still seem uncertain, It may now be a good time to look back and assess what happened, as well as to share with you my ideas of what may still happen.
The pandemic is a phenomenon that has hit every part of the globe and re-shaped our lives in several ways. It may not even be clear yet how we’ve changed and what we have learnt as human beings and as professionals. The new situation has prompted creativity in all of us and made us adapt to the changing circumstances. We do not have a choice; we shall all need to grow and create a new viable reality.
As for me, just like yourselves, my life has suffered some interruptions of different kinds, and I have done my best to cope with the changing environment. Some of it relates to private issues, but in this article, I would like to share with you some of the actions taken at MediHelp-companies to cope with the situation.
Our new Assistance (customer care) company dealt with diagnosed customers with COVID-19. We did all we could to stand by them, and to adapt the terms and conditions of our existing insurance plans (made before the COVID-19 pandemic) to the new situation. There were cases of hospitalization, medical care and also cases of air ambulance lifts to save lives. As this was going on all through 2020, we had to manage in providing our regular service to our customers. Customers with chronic diseases could continue to get their medical assistance, medical attention and private medical care were claimed for as before. MediHelp and MediSky teams in all countries answered all the requests, and claims were covered with no delays.
At this point, I need to convey a warm word of thanks to our staff, as it has not been an easy time for them. They needed to cope with this extra workload while working from home. The best was done for our customers so they felt everything was being operated as it had been before COVID-19.
We gave our customers the confidence that the new health risk was covered by our policies. We were the first to do this!
Before us, In all Central-Eastern Europe there was no health insurance provider that had announced that they were covering all coronavirus-related issues. Even though at that time we weren’t sure what this move would mean for us and what risks this would entail, we said it very clearly that we cover all Covid-related costs and provide full support to our customers.
I can very proudly say that the rest of the market followed us.
We received a lot of calls from customers about vaccination, questions about where they can get medical care for Covid. Unfortunately, we could not offer them any solutions as in every country where MediHelp companies are present, all assistance and vaccination related to the coronavirus are carried out through public healthcare.
Customers who were in a foreign country or who got stuck somewhere could count on us to get all medical help that they needed at any location. Customers could call us 24 hours a day – either during office hours, or outside them through our emergency lines. We have managed to maintain our very good response times for paying claims or to arrange guarantees of payments to medical centres around Europe and elsewhere. We have all the infrastructure to assure that no technical glitches would thwart a customer in obtaining medical care through our system at any time.
Naturally, taking good care of our employees was also an important task. As we began to see that our teams were experiencing difficulties dealing with family issues and illnesses at home, full support was offered to them and the choice to work either from home or in the office was and still is offered. We reassured our teams that their decision will in no way jeopardize their status at work.
Working from home means that our employees must work with the same efficiency as before. That was not always easy. But we could see how we adapt and accept during calls or zoom meetings seeing the face of a little kid, a cat or a dog wandering around the house. We accepted all these with a smile as these are all reflections of the beauty of life.
I am proud to say that we haven’t laid off any staff in these extraordinary times.
We have not reduced their workload and we have not cut their salary either. On the contrary: we have taken on new employees to strengthen our offices, customer service and sales.
We are aware that the future is still not clear, and that the coronavirus is not behind us yet. We have started working on new insurance plans and creating adaptations to the new situation. There will be changes in the medical environment and further underfinancing of the health systems. Our national health systems will find it hard to provide medical care to all its citizens, so it is a call for MediHelp to work on some new features and service platforms which will help us adapt to the new and on-going changes in the world.
MediHelp has reached an agreement with a company affiliated with MasterCard, and all our customers will soon receive a debit card with which they will be able to pay their claims. It means that if you are our customer, you will have a debit card loaded with “MediHelp money”, so you can pay your medical expenses with our money in real time. You will no longer need to wait until we pay your claim. There will be no such thing as a ‘claim’ (valid for small and medium size claims which are the majority of the paid medical events).
MediHelp customer will be able to share your invoice on a message, and we shall load the money on your MediHelp-Card, which is in your possession, so you will be able to pay the medical provider on the spot. We are practically entering a new world with this development.
Wait… there is more…
We are building the MediHelp Academy. The MediHelp Academy is an academic online platform for insurance education, divided into zones. There will be space where our employees will be able to study Health-Insurance and about the national health systems. We shall help them understand the profession we are in.
Insurance brokers, alternatively, will be able to learn how to sell, and train their employees.
There will also be a zone for visitors, where people from all walks of life will be able to enter the Academy and gain an understanding of what the problems are in the health system in their own country. For those who are interested in protecting their family or their employees, there will be easy access to our insurance plans.
Last, but definitely not least, we are going to introduce a new medical device: an ECG the size of a credit card, with which our customers will be able to transmit their ECG results via their mobile phone in real time. A doctor on the other end will be able to immediately check the results of the ECG and provide a first opinion about their condition. It will cost, of course, but it will provide the customer the luxury of being able to instantly submit an ECG readout and then get medical advice without leaving their home. It will be a worldwide coverage.
As you can see, despite all the difficulties and challenges COVID-19 has brought into our lives, MediHelp has not stopped developing and progressing. We have been working and will continue to do so to ensure that our customers feel there is an increasing value for the money they have invested in their health through the insurance plans of MediHelp.
Finally, I would like to wish you all wishes for the coming Easter holidays, and wishes for good health.