ASIA-PACIFIC: Employer-sponsored healthcare benefits costs, usually assured by insurance providers, are projected to rise by an average of 7.6% across the Asia Pacific region this year. The forecast comes after a survey of 209 medical insurers from 61 countries conducted by global advisory and brokerage firm Willis Towers Watson.
These medical insurers also project healthcare costs to shoot up beyond 2022, with six in 10 of them expecting higher costs over the next three years.
“This is as different waves of infection in the globe at different points in time create considerable volatility in the healthcare utilization and costs around the world," clarified Cedric Luah, Willis Towers Watson's international head of health and benefits.
Luah said that markets across the Asia-Pacific region might feel the impact differently, with some having experienced a recovery in demand for regular medical services in 2021, while others will see it in the next year or after.
"The pandemic, combined with the changing face of work, has had a significant effect on healthcare needs, delivery of services and the future drivers of medical claims, which in turn will have an impact on medical inflation trends," Luah added.
The survey also revealed factors that pushed medical costs up for insurers. For example, 64% said overuse of care was due to medical professionals recommending too many services or overprescribing. Some 59% of those polled also noted excess of care by insured members, while the final factor driving costs and spending was the underuse of preventive services.