Sheila Jasso
Director General
Assismex
/
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Assismex: A True Assistant for Mexican Health

By Miriam Bello | Wed, 06/17/2020 - 09:30

Q: What is the main objective of Assismex’s medical monitoring program?

A: This project is fully directed to people who lack social security or quality medical services. Assismex tries to educate people regarding preventive healthcare. To deliver high-quality accessible healthcare services, we built a private medical network with more than 14,000 providers at the national level. Assismex works as a kind of assistant to help eliminate the issues resulting from the highly segmented healthcare access in Mexico. Unlike insurers, being an assistant allows us to provide healthcare policies that go beyond the common requirements of an insurance policy, including medical coverage for older people and follow-up consults for all our clients. Our healthcare membership profits contribute to a fund for the association Prosesol, which focuses on supporting vulnerable population groups.

Q: What are the benefits of your membership and how do these adapt to the needs of different population segments?

A: Our memberships target different population groups and even those who already have a major medical expenses policy. Insurance products have fallen short of meeting the populations current requirements, which results in people having to pay out-of-pocket.

The system that we have created brings together primary medical solutions, ensuring that all the membership benefits are respected and making services accessible to the client. Whether they are in Mexico City or elsewhere, Assismex ensures coverage for any requirement. Through our attention center, we book the patient’s consult and take care of all the documentation processes so their only concern is to receive medical care. If the consult requires further studies or includes a prescription, we will take care of that to provide the patient with a proper follow-up. The goal is to promote proper completion of the treatment along with preventive healthcare. Moreover, we cover dental, mental and visual health, as well as check-ups designed specifically for all the groups we target.

We started by creating a general national membership that provides free medical consultations on general medicine, internal medicine, gynecology, pediatrics and urology at all healthcare facilities that are part of our medical network.

One of our unique memberships, Sin Fronteras (Without Borders), targets Mexican migrants in the US. The creation of this product was a challenge but we were able to affiliate patients with IMSS as part of a self-employment program that could enable social security. Additionally, thanks to a provider, we cover repatriation of the body in case of death, which is a very difficult process for families. As a part of this membership, we want to open a medical center to offer migrants better services and try to unite the migrant community.

Q: How does AssisMex approach clients to offer its membership programs?

A: This has been a challenge. While the idea of the memberships is well-received, people are not really used to paying for health unless they are sick. Based on this, I decided to change the strategy and start offering incentives to clients before asking them to purchase the memberships. Alongside Prosesol, we started health campaigns in Oaxaca, offering free medical and dental attention provided by our network partners. Also, we have a project with Nestlé for coffee growers and we created a membership to provide medical attention for them and their families.

The approach has required a lot of work. However, we are very happy with the outcome and we know that quality will continue to be the core of our services. We are transparent with clients, so that they always know where their money is being used. This has led to growth through word of mouth.

Q: How do you approach clinics and hospitals to join Assismex?

A: Our network is constantly growing and much of this is thanks to our pre-payment system for consultations. The moment that Assismex generates a consultation we pay for it, whether the patient attends or not. This has increased the number of consultations for doctors and has provided them with a fixed source of income, attracting more providers as a result. Because we want our coverage to be universal, we need to have small-town doctors and pharmacies but also big hospital chains and pharmacies. With a large national pharmacy chain, for example, we launched a joint membership to promote their digital platform that includes video consultations. The additional benefit of this is that we are generating work for doctors who are independent. Right now, we are betting on a digital platform to reach more people. This bet was especially made to approach new clients and promote our providers and the memberships we offer.

Q: How has the Mexican population reacted to your products, given the country’s struggles to create a preventive healthcare culture?

A: I think this historic problem will soon change as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, which has evidenced the need for healthcare, the benefits of being a healthy person and of not having chronic disease that can further endanger your life. It has also brought awareness regarding medical expenses because at any moment, these can represent a very high expenditure for a family. 

We have worked very hard to change this mindset, especially with companies. Our challenge is to make them see that although they are paying for insurance services, these services are mostly traditional 20-year-old policies that rarely cover the current needs of a population. Our memberships, on the other hand, can easily adapt to employees’ needs and have a real impact on their lives.

Q: How have the priorities of AssisMex changed amid the COVID-19 outbreak?

A: We created a membership for prevention and care related to COVID-19, which covers 50 hospital days thanks to one of our providers. We are also selling preventive kits with FDA-approved products and donating all the profits to support the medical staff on the frontlines of the pandemic. I would like to highlight that our social responsibility and philosophy is very important for our team members and providers.

Q: What are your short-term goals for Assimex?

A: We have a project to open primary-care clinics alongside Prosesol. Alliances with providers and laboratories also contribute to our ability to offer clinical tests. The first clinic is expected to be in Oaxaca but we hope to replicate this model and to ally with more companies, providers and the government as these memberships are very effective in promoting health and raising awareness of preventive healthcare. I am also focused on growing our number of affiliates, which I think will happen as a result of our digital platform.

 

Assismex is a Mexican company focused on creating assistance programs through innovative and efficient integral solutions. The company offers unique medical monitoring programs with different membership options

Miriam Bello Miriam Bello Senior Journalist and Industry Analyst