Health insurance costs spike worldwide

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

Think galloping health insurance costs are a problem unique to American employers? Think again.

Medical costs paid by employer-focused health insurers rose by an average of 10 percent last year—identical to U.S. cost increases, according to a new survey of 37 countries by Towers Watson, a New York-based health benefits consulting firm.

The survey predicts nearly identical cost growth employer-sponsored health insurance for both the world and the United States this year.

“At two to three times the rate of general inflation, the ... medical trend is beginning to create significant affordability challenges for businesses—and employees—around the world,” an executive summary of the report states.

Cost growth is even high in Europe, hitting 8 percent in Switzerland, 8.7 percent in Spain and 8.8 percent in the United Kingdom.

The big drivers cited by health insurers around the world are new medical technology, overuse of care and the profit motive of health care providers.

“Health care is becoming a significant business sector: Health providers need to cover costs of investment in new equipment as well as maintain growing profit margins,” the report states. “Higher costs related to medical technology are also likely a result of increased employee demand for the latest and greatest, regardless of where they live.”

Towers Watson noted that many nations are scaling back their public health program benefits, leading to growing demand for employer-sponsored health benefits. “Health care benefits continue to transition from optional to required in most major economies,” its executive summary states.


Post a comment to this story

We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. The east side does have potential...and I have always thought Washington Scare should become an outlet mall. Anyone remember how popular Eastgate was? Well, Indy has no outlet malls, we have to go to Edinburgh for the deep discounts and I don't understand why. Jim is right. We need a few good eastsiders interested in actually making some noise and trying to change the commerce, culture and stereotypes of the East side. Irvington is very progressive and making great strides, why can't the far east side ride on their coat tails to make some changes?

  2. Boston.com has an article from 2010 where they talk about how Interactions moved to Massachusetts in the year prior. http://www.boston.com/business/technology/innoeco/2010/07/interactions_banks_63_million.html The article includes a link back to that Inside Indiana Business press release I linked to earlier, snarkily noting, "Guess this 2006 plan to create 200-plus new jobs in Indiana didn't exactly work out."

  3. I live on the east side and I have read all your comments. a local paper just did an article on Washington square mall with just as many comments and concerns. I am not sure if they are still around, but there was an east side coalition with good intentions to do good things on the east side. And there is a facebook post that called my eastside indy with many old members of the eastside who voice concerns about the east side of the city. We need to come together and not just complain and moan, but come up with actual concrete solutions, because what Dal said is very very true- the eastside could be a goldmine in the right hands. But if anyone is going damn, and change things, it is us eastside residents

  4. Please go back re-read your economics text book and the fine print on the February 2014 CBO report. A minimum wage increase has never resulted in a net job loss...

  5. The GOP at the Statehouse is more interested in PR to keep their majority, than using it to get anything good actually done. The State continues its downward spiral.