Average price hike of global healthcare benefits is three times price inflation

Internationally, the highest level of expenditure on medical costs related to treating cancer, heart disease and respiratory diseases.

An ageing global workforce means that the cost for employers of providing staff with medical and healthcare plans continues to outstrip inflation in most major economies, according to research.

The study undertaken by Mercer Marsh Benefits, a partnership between professional services firms Mercer and Marsh, revealed that the average cost of offering private healthcare benefits around the world was predicted to leap by about 9.7% in 2017. Although the figure was down on the 9.9% hike experienced last year, it is still nearly three times higher than the forecast 2017 average country inflation rate – although the picture does vary by geography.

Graham Pearce, Mercer’s global consulting group leader, said: “With medical inflation again outpacing price inflation by a factor of nearly three, companies need to redouble their efforts to manage their spiralling healthcare plan costs. The quality of the claims reporting and loss prevention measures available varies significantly between the global insurance networks – and both these factors are becoming key drivers in the choice of insurance providers and the local and global level.”

Globally, the highest level of expenditure on medical costs was related to treating cancer, heart disease and respiratory diseases, although again this situation varied by region.

The research entitled ‘Medical Trends around the World’ is based on a survey of 220 insurers across 63 countries outside of the US. In Asia, the average medical inflation rate was 10.3%, with the highest increase being 14% in India. Elsewhere:

- The European average was 6.7%, with Bulgaria suffering the highest increase at 13.5%;
– The Middle East and African average was 14.9%, with Egypt experiencing the highest increase at 37.3%;
– Latin America’s average was 13.5%, with Argentina facing the highest increase at 32.3%.