International Private Medical Insurance Inflation - 2017

International Private Medical Insurance Inflation - 2017

Welcome to the 2017 edition of Pacific Prime's International Private Medical Insurance Inflation report. This annual report sets out to analyze the premium increases seen from 2009-2016, and presents in-depth analysis on the inflation of the most popular medical insurance plans offered by the top insurers in ten top locations where International Private Medical Insurance (IPMI) is purchased. As with previous years, we have grouped the locations into three regions: Asia, the Middle East, and Rest of the World (excluding Canada and the USA).

While this is an annual report, the last half of 2015 and first three quarters of 2016 were an interesting time in the health insurance industry with intriguing changes being announced primarily regarding the introduction of new insurance products and the recent legislative changes that have made Dubai a country to watch for the foreseeable future. Together, these had an impact on inflation seen in 2016. As such, this year's report has changed slightly in order to reflect these two industry changes:

  • New regulatory requirements of mandatory health insurance for all residents in the UAE has meant significant changes to both insurance products, providers and consumers in Dubai, resulting in some substantial premium and plan differences for 2016
  • Two providers have been dropped with two new insurers added in their place

We have provided a full explanation of the report changes in the appendix of our report.

At the start of this report, it should be noted that all premiums used in this report are for individual health insurance plans however their inflation trends can be viewed as a reflection of the changes impacting health care plans as a whole. Also, all figures are measured by numerical averages and are not weighted either year-on-year, or by insurance company size.

Key components

Pacific Prime has identified four major sections that form the primary focus of our latest International Private Medical Insurance (IPMI) Inflation report.

Average IPMI inflation in 2016

When averaging the inflation of IPMI premiums from each of the ten locations included in this report we found that globally, IPMI inflation was 9.2% in 2016. Interestingly, this was the same percentage increase seen in 2015. In this section of the report we present not only a historical overview of IPMI inflation but also a year-on-year comparison with Consumer Price (CP) inflation.


In this section, we take a look at the average premium inflation of the major international health insurers included in this report. We are pleased to announce that in 2016 Allianz Worldwide Care retained their place as the insurer with the lowest average premium increase worldwide.

Similarly, we congratulate Aetna International (Interglobal) on having the lowest IPMI inflation average over the past five years. It should be noted here that these rankings are not indicative of the cheapest insurance products, rather the insurers whose plans saw the lowest inflation.

Inflation drivers

A major section of the last International Private Medical Inflation report covered four key drivers of medical insurance inflation:

  • New medical technology
  • An imbalance of healthcare resources
  • Increased compensation for healthcare professionals
  • Healthcare overutilization

These key drivers are a major force on inflation in 2016 and continue to make up a strong part of the explanation behind inflation. That said, we have identified three inflation drivers that emerged in 2016 and had an impact on private medical insurance premiums:

  • Global economic uncertainty
  • Changing population dynamics
  • The increasing availability of technology

We cover these three drivers in-depth in the Inflation Drivers section of the report.

Analysis of inflation by country

As with previous reports, we have provided an overview of inflation in the ten countries included in this report. While we fully believe that all of the inflation drivers had an impact on inflation in all countries, there are also country-specific influences that are discussed in each section.

What’s more, Dubai has seen some major health insurance related changes that have largely set it apart from the other locations included in this report. As it remains an important location for international health insurance we have included an in-depth analysis on the changes seen in the Dubai section of this report.

Important assumptions

As with the last report, this report has been written with one major assumption: The primary driver of IPMI inflation is the cost of healthcare. As we mentioned in the last report, IPMI inflation is usually within 1-2% of healthcare inflation. The 2016 Global Medical Trend Rates report from Aon Hewitt reported that the average medical trend rate for 2016 was 9.1%, nearly on par with IPMI inflation which yet again confirms that the cost of medical care and international health insurance are closely linked.