Skip to main content
main content, press tab to continue

As medical costs soar in 2023, Asia Pacific employers look for balance

Asia Pacific highlights from the 2023 Global Medical Trends Survey

December 16, 2022

Asia Pacific employers are trying to find the right balance between managing rising medical cost and improving employee wellbeing.
Health and Benefits|Benessere integrato|Employee Financial Resilience
Infographic on Asia Pacific highlights from the 2023 Global Medical Trends Survey
2023 medical cost increase in Asia Pacific is the highest in 10 years

Medical trend in Asia Pacific in 2023

2021: 9.82%, 2022: 6.87%, 2023 (projected): 10.2%

Australia: 8.3%
China: 9.0%
Hong Kong: 8.8%
India: 8.6%
Indonesia: 10.6%
Malaysia: 13.8%
New Zealand: 15.0%
Philippines: 12.6%
Singapore: 9.8%
Taiwan: 7.8%
Thailand: 7.9%
Vietnam 10.0%

Over seven in 10 insurers anticipate higher or significantly higher medical trend over the next three years.

What’s driving the cost increase?

External factors:

  • Higher costs due to new medical technologies: 57%
  • Profit motives of providers: 53%
  • Epidemics and global pandemics (including COVID 19): 32%
  • Plan design without any cost-sharing features: 30%
  • Limited/Poor networks to effectively control costs: 19%

Insured members/ Providers behaviour:

  • Overuse or misuse of care due to medical practicitioners recommending too many services: 79%
  • Overuse or misuse of care due to lack of integration between primary, specialty and facility care: 59%
  • Insured members’ poor health habits: 53%
  • Lack of understanding by insured members of how to use the plan: 39%
  • Underuse or lack of preventive services: 26%

Top three conditions in 2023

By cost:

  1. Cancer
  2. Circulatory system
  3. Musculoskeletal and connective tissue

By incidence:

  1. Cancer
  2. Digestive
  3. Respiratory

Mental and behavioural health issues are some of the fastest-growing conditions by incidence of claims in Asia Pacific in the next 18 months.

Managing the medical trend

How typical are the following cost-sharing approaches for the medical products you offer? (% indicate “Very typical” and “Typical”)

  • Annual limit on out-of-pocket expenses: 40%
  • Member coinsurance: 36%
  • Deductible: 35%
  • Member copays: 22%

Employers continue to invest in employee wellbeing and access

Biggest change made to medical portfolio in 2022:

  1. Addition of telehealth services: 57%
  2. Addition of new wellbeing services: 53%

Asia Pacific lags other regions in applying DEI elements into plans

Exclusions of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) elements in Asia Pacific

  • Gender reassignment surgery: 90%
  • Fertility treatments: 85%
  • HIV/AIDS: 65%
  • Other mental & behavioural health including but not limited to Autism, ADHD etc.: 63%
  • Treatments related to menopause: 52%
  • Same sex legal spouse or domestic partner: 46%

Note: Group policies for more than 500 employees

Next steps for employers
  1. Use claims, demographic analysis and other data, and conduct benchmarking, to ensure benefit offerings reflect desired market positioning.
  2. Review your vendor strategy through market reviews; ensure you are leveraging local or global purchasing power.
  3. Identify opportunities to create a resilient workforce by supporting holistic wellbeing, including mental and financial health.
  4. Take advantage of digital tools and technology, such as telehealth, to help employees access benefits that matter to them.
  5. Use employee listening to better understand what benefits employees want and need, and build this into a communication strategy.

Source: 2023 Global Medical Trends Survey – Asia Pacific findings

Meet our experts

Head of Health and Benefits, Asia Pacific
email Email

Head of Strategic Development, Health & Benefits, Asia Pacific
email Email

Head of Business Development, Health & Benefits, Asia & Australasia
email Email

Contact us