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Asia health protection gap 10 times larger than forecast

Source: Asia Insurance Review | Jun 2018

Global Asia Life & Health People

Delegates at the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries Conference 2018 in Bangkok were treated to a sneak peek at Swiss Re’s soon-to-be-published health protection gap in Asia study. The forthcoming study, due to be published in July, will show that the overall size of Asia’s health protection gap is a massive $1.8tn. 
   The reinsurer last produced a health protection gap in the Asia-Pacific region study in 2012 and predicted that the gap would hit $197bn in 2020.
   Swiss Re head of life and health products Asia, managing director Daisy Ning revealed that the latest study was the result of an extensive survey covering 16,300 respondents in 12 markets. The $1.8tn Asian health protection gap only covers direct medical costs and does not include other attendant costs associated with illness such as loss of earnings.
   The 12 markets in question were segmented into ‘emerging Asia’ which accounted for $1.4tn of the protection gap and ‘developed Asia’ which accounted for the balance of $400bn. China alone was responsible for $805bn of the gap and India for $369bn.
   For the purposes of the study Swiss Re has defined the health protection gap in Asia as being ‘the stress caused to a household’s financial position arising from out of pocket medical expenses.’
   The granular detail contained in the report when it is published will cover areas such as the total number of households in Asia that were unable to access healthcare in the past 12 months because of cost (38m households), the average maximum protection gap per household across 12 markets in Asia ($392), the percentage of the protection gap accounted for by chronic illness (45%), the proportion of households that intend to spend more on healthcare and that also plan to buy insurance in future (77%), and the number of people who currently take a suboptimal level of exercise but still consider themselves healthy (32%). A 
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