Global insurer turns healthcare provider

Global health insurer AXA is expanding its Payer-to-Partner strategy in emerging markets, starting in Mexico and Egypt. It is creating a digital and physical health care ecosystem, through launching its own medical centres linked directly to its health insurance services. With many health insurers now setting up or buying into healthcare to become a full service offer for customers, medical tourism could get cut out of the loop.

For AXA, its payer-to-partner strategy is in line with global strategy Ambition 2020. It is all about moving from being a payer to a partner, which is why it bought US healthcare provider Maestro in 2018.

AXA’s target is to open up to 50 medical clinics which would serve as many as 1.5 million clients across emerging markets by 2023, starting with Mexico in Latin America and Egypt in Africa, to be followed by other key emerging markets.

These centres will provide access to advanced diagnostics, laboratory equipment and medical consultations in key specialties, bringing to its customers an affordable, high-quality patient experience, in markets where access to economical and quality care still remains a challenge for many individuals and families.

In Mexico, AXA has launched a joint venture with Keralty, to develop a vertically integrated health system incorporating day-to-day healthcare. Keralty is a leading health insurer and services provider, with health and dental clinics in Mexico. Kerala is based in Colombia and offers healthcare, sometimes with health insurance, in many countries.

In Egypt, AXA will open diagnostic centres and primary care centres, owned 100% by AXA, with the support of World Health Management as its technical partner in setting up healthcare facilities.

Like other global insurers, AXA is concerned about the threat from tech companies moving in on their health businesses. Technology companies could break down the barriers between pharma and device companies, and between doctors, hospitals and patients. The number of US health insurers becoming combined insurance and healthcare businesses, and the involvement of tech companies in healthcare suggests the insurer is right to be concerned.