A report by insurance broker Pacific Prime examined international health insurance (IPMI) premiums in 100 locations and found that in many countries premiums have decreased for both individuals and families, but medical costs are rising.
While the correlation is not direct, there is a similarity between the cost of private healthcare for locals and medical tourists, and the cost of international health insurance.
The International Health Insurance Cost Report 2020-2021 ranks countries based on their average IPMI premiums.
The US takes the number one spot, with average premiums of US$7,703 for individuals and US$21,817 for families.
At the bottom end Thailand had the cheapest average premiums of US$1,934 for individuals and US$7,257 for families.
Of the 100 locations, 36 countries showed a decrease in IPMI premiums, compared with 2019, as the COVID-19 pandemic has caused people to avoid/delay seeking healthcare treatment, and countries to impose lockdown measures.
12 out of 20 locations with the costliest health insurance premiums are located in the Americas. The US remained the country with the highest premiums due to its very high cost of care.
The report predicts that Latin American countries’ premiums may see an increase in premiums in the next five years, due to a rise in expensive claims for behavioural and mental health conditions.
Hong Kong has reclaimed its position as the second most expensive location in the world for health insurance.
European countries have mostly seen dramatic price reductions.
Singapore is the second most expensive location in Asia. This is due to factors such as over-use of health insurance and a rapidly aging population.
China’s health insurance premiums are going through a correction phase after years of increase, as a result of sluggish demand amidst a global economic downturn. The country’s insurance landscape is also witnessing digitalisation, as insurtech takes centre stage.
20 most expensive countries for IPMI
The past few years have seen an upsurge in the number of regions implementing mandatory health insurance in a bid to help their residents cope with ever-rising medical costs.