The cost of delivering healthcare has increased substantially over the years and shows no sign of slowing down. In fact, medical trend rates continue to exceed general inflation as revealed in Aon’s 2022 Global Medical Trend Rates Report. It disclosed that the global medical trends rate is expected to rise to 7.4 percent this year.
Health insurance is one of the costliest benefits for employers, and aging workers, new pharmaceuticals, drug costs and advances in medical technology – many of which have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic – are among the factors driving these increases. Each year, we actively look at ways to reduce healthcare costs, but it’s worth understanding why some increases are inevitable.
Why Health Premiums Rise
There are three major factors that determine the cost of your premium:
- Demographics: Bermuda’s working population is aging with a high instance of chronic disease. Plans are priced based on an individual’s age and gender, and rates are created based on members of the community that fall within that same category. These demographic impacts are felt more strongly in a small population like Bermuda’s.
- Usage: An aging population also means an increase in use. Additionally, lifestyle diseases such as diabetes, hypertension and obesity continue to rise in Bermuda, impacting usage. As we make our way out of the critical pandemic environment, many are seeking care they were forced to delay that fall under preventive care, chronic disease management, and non-emergent surgeries. Another unique symptom of COVID-19 is the cost of testing. Because we do not expect this trend to continue, these costs are not reflected in our renewal, however mental health costs are on the rise and Government-funded vaccine costs are now being borne by insurance companies.
- Overseas Medical Inflation: One of the factors that has significant impact to costs is new, high priced, specialty drugs. These innovative medications are excellent but come at a significant cost to patients annually, and have a substantial impact on their quality of life.
We’re here to find a solution
As we address the impact of these trends, our goal remains the same: to support the ongoing needs of our clients. With a focus on prevention and providing access to quality, affordable healthcare, we consider it our responsibility to actively combat these macro-economic factors.
Because of this, we’re committed to positive change in Bermuda’s healthcare model. Using our overseas case management team, One Team Health (OTH), our ongoing Thrive. population health and wellness programmes, and our pilot Diabetes Rewind Programme (DRP), we aim to put the patient at the centre, giving people access to the care they need, while controlling the escalating cost of healthcare.
OTH, our dedicated team of tenured medical case management experts, work with members, insurers, and providers in tandem to deliver first-in-class healthcare. We have a strong medical network of high quality overseas providers and believe that good health care is cost effective healthcare. That is, the better care, the less likely a patient is to expect a reoccurance or readmittance. You will notice that we have included a number of providers in Canada and the UK to our large list of US Centers of Excellence. Unique to Argus, OTH contracts directly with providers to ensure access while also controlling the spend.
Thrive. offers case management and integrated lifestyle programmes, tools and resources that are custom designed to help your employees improve their health and well-being. A combination of human and digital assistance, our Nurse Case Manager works one-on-one with members to help them take control of their chronic conditions, while the smart, engaging digital platform supports the ongoing management of their health. The best way to control costs is to reduce disease. Thrive. helps people live their lives fully while controlling the impacts of medical inflation.
Diabetes Rewind Programme, our newest initiative, uses proven methods that support weight loss, reduces medications and supports achieving diabetes remission. We firmly believe that, by focusing on the health of our population as a whole, we can effectively promote better patient outcomes and meaningfully lower costs for delivering services.
As always, we are here to support you. If you’d like to learn more about healthcare inflation and how it impacts you, please visit our learning resource centre or contact a member of our Relationship Management team.
*The contents of this article are for informational purpose and are not a substitute for medical advice. If you require medical guidance, please see your doctor.