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Health care costs projected to rise steadily in Africa in 2022

Africa highlights from the 2022 Global Medical Trends Survey

January 12, 2022

Insurers felt the major drivers included the COVID-19 pandemic, but also practitioners overprescribing or recommending too many services, and the overuse of care.
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Infographic: Health care costs projected to rise steadily in Africa in 2022 - description below

Medical trend in Africa to rise above 12% in 2022

From 8.4% in 2020 to 11.8% in 2021 to 12.2% in 2022 (projected)

Gross medical trend in 2022 (projected):

  • Cameroon: 10.2%
  • Cote d’Ivoire: 15.0%
  • Egypt: 17.3%
  • Ghana: 20.0%
  • Nigeria: 12.5%
  • South Africa: 8.5%

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

What’s driving the cost increase?

External factors

  • Profit motives of providers at 48%
  • Epidemics and global pandemics (including COVID-19) at 48%
  • Changes in workforce demographics at 39%
  • High-cost catastrophic cases and end-of-life care at 33%
  • Higher costs of new medical technologies at 33%

Provider and employer behaviour

  • Overprescribing or recommending too many services at 84%
  • Overuse of care by insured members at 45%
  • Poor quality or misuse of care at 43%
  • Insured members’ poor health habits at 37%
  • Insured members’ lack of understanding of how to use the plan at 17%

Top four conditions currently by cost

  1. Cancer at 55%
  2. Cardiovascular at 41%
  3. Diabetes, endocrine, nutritional and metabolic diseases at 39%
  4. Infectious and parasitic disease at 39%

Managing the medical trend

How typical are the following cost-sharing approaches for the medical products you offer?

  • 65%: Annual limit on out-of-pocket expenses
  • 53%: Premium cost sharing
  • 36%: Deductible
  • 29%: Member copays

Note: The percentages above comprise participants who responded with “typical” or “very typical”.

Four in 10 employers plan to introduce telehealth in 2022

What is the biggest change your organisation has made to its medical portfolio in 2021?

  • 38% of employers said the addition of telehealth services or features
  • 21% of employers said the addition of new wellbeing services

Next steps for employers

  • Understand and track your workforce’s health using claims and other data to make informed decisions
  • As rates of emergence from the pandemic vary, take advantage of digital tools such as telehealth
  • The mental wellbeing of employees continues to be a key employer focus: Review how wellbeing can be incorporated into core benefits

Source: 2022 Global Medical Trends Survey – Africa
Copyright © 2021 Willis Towers Watson. All rights reserved.

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