China: Health insurance grows at sedate pace in Jan-May
Source: Asia Insurance Review | Aug 2018
Health insurance premiums increased by 9.32% to CNY244.9bn ($36.6bn) in the first five months of this year, compared to the corresponding period last year, data from the CBIRC show.
This was the fastest pace of growth in the health insurance sector this year to date. The data show that premiums declined by 16.97% in January, and by 18.19% in the first two months of this year. However, the premium decline was only 2.39% for 1Q2018, improving to an increase of 6.02% for the first four months of the year, according to an analysis by Securities Daily.
Overall, compared to previous years, the pace of growth of health insurance has become slower following a crackdown by the authorities on short term universal products. These had been packaged as health insurance products even though they offered hardly any protection cover. The growth rate of health insurance premiums for the first five months of each of the following previous years was:
2017: 17% to CNY224bn
2016: 90.1% to CNY191.4bn
2015: 39.5% to CNY100.6bn
2014: 58.8% to CNY72.2bn
Statistics indicate that health insurance developed rapidly from 2012 to 2016, because of the universal health products. In 2015 and 2016, total health insurance premiums amounted to CNY241bn and CNY420.4bn respectively. A significant part of these were contributions received for short term universal health insurance products.
Health insurance consists of four major types of cover: Critical illness, medical, long-term care and disability. At present, critical illness insurance accounts for about 90% of health insurance premiums. A