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Healthcare cost in PH seen rising further

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By Madelaine B. Miraflor

Healthcare in the Philippines is getting more and more expensive, with medical inflation outpacing the actual inflation of the entire country.

For this year, medical inflation rate in the Philippines is projected to rise to 13.7 percent, a “Mercer Marsh Benefits 2019 Medical Trends Around the World” report showed.

This makes the country’s medical inflation rate second highest in Asia, next to Vietnam’s 14.2 percent.

“The gap between medical inflation and actual inflation continues in the Philippines,” said Mercer Philippines Chief Executive Officer Teng Alday.

To address this, what the companies must do is to make employer-sponsored medical plans competitive and prioritize solutions that will provide quality healthcare in the long term, Alday, who also serves as the Health Business Leader in Marsh Philippines, added.

“With the future of work demanding a healthy and engaging environment for employees, it is critical that companies assess how medical plans can be reviewed through both cost optimization and employee engagement lenses,” she further said.

Around the globe, medical costs continue to outpace general inflation by close to three times with the global average 9.7 percent in 2018. A similar increase is expected for 2019 and even higher for 2020.

Primary drivers of the high rate medical inflation rates around the globe are high-cost pharmaceuticals, new diagnostics and procedures, and over-prescribing of low-value health tests and procedures.

Now on its fifth year, the global report particularly surveyed 204 insurers across 59 countries, assessing how health conditions, supplier factors and consumer habits are driving cost, as well as providing insights into how insurers are responding.

As the cost of health benefit programs continues to rise globally, employers have the opportunity to contain cost through smarter plan design and employee access to quality-focused healthcare, said the study. Right now, the number of insurers investing in initiatives to enable quality-focused care, to better guide members to the right care options for them more quickly, has more than doubled.

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