Healthcare benefit costs in Middle East expected to rise by 10% in 2014

16 I 05 I 2014

The cost of providing employee healthcare benefits in the Middle East and Africa is projected to rise by 10% this year, compared to 9.8% in 2013 and 8.8% in 2012, according to a new survey by Towers Watson.

In comparison, the cost of delivering these benefits are projected to increase 8.3% globally this year, slightly higher than the 7.9% and 7.7% increases experienced in the past two years. For Europe, the figure is projected at 5.4%, while the Americas (excluding US) and Asia Pacific face a projected increase of 9.7% and 9.3% respectively.
 
For its 2014 Global Medical Trends Survey, Towers Watson questioned 173 leading medical insurers in 58 countries. It found that 55% of insurers in all regions anticipate higher or significantly higher medical trend rates over the next three years.
 
In terms of employee/provider behaviour, 78% of insurers globally are most concerned about practitioners driving up costs by overprescribing or recommending too many services. This was followed by the belief that many employees are seeking inappropriate care, and insureds’ poor health habits, which were cited by respectively 45% and 38% of insurers.
 
The survey also found much greater consistency among the medical conditions causing the highest prevalence of claims globally, with cardiovascular problems and cancer remaining the leading conditions. However, there was also an increase in claims due to respiratory, musculoskeletal and mental health issues.
 
Source: MENA Insurance Review