Expat health insurance inflation fuelled by overtreatment and fraud

Published:  17 Dec at 6 PM
Want to get involved? Become a Featured Expat and take our interview.
Become a Local Expert and contribute articles.
Get in touch today!
Expats in most popular destinations are having to pay ever-increasing premiums for private heathcare due to local private hospitals' over-treatment and even fraudulent billing.

Foreign nationals everywhere, especially in southeast Asian medical hubs such as Thailand, have seen their health insurance premiums soar over the last several years at a far higher rate than medical inflation alone would suggest. A large number of expats abroad are younger staff on assignment and with international cover, suggesting that increases in claims from retired expats are not to blame for the sharp hike in premiums.

Research by a major health insurance provider puts medical inflation over all at just under
10 per cent a year, but annual increases in health insurance premiums have hit more than double that figure annually for the last 10 years or more.

Part of the answer may be the increase of Western-style medical services, but reports of over-diagnosis, over-treatment, over-prescribing and over-charging are now the norm rather than the exception. A worrying factor is that post-operative patients are being advised to stay in hospital longer than is necessary, leaving them open to risks of hospital-acquired infection.

Overcharging by hospitals is now a common factor, with those in Hong Kong, China and Thailand amongst the worst offenders, say industry sources. Fraudulent claims by hospitals are rarer but do occur, and it has to be said that standards of healthcare in Hong Kong are excellent.

High demand and a relatively small number of hospitals and clinics can result in high prices. Insurers believe that wealthy countries such as Singapore and Hong Kong can well afford to spend on healthcare, particularly with insurers footing the bill for overpriced heathcare. It seems that the more popular a specific medical centre is with expats, the faster prices rise and are passed on in increased premiums.
Like this news?

Comments » No published comments just yet for this article...

Feel free to have your say on this item. Go on... be the first!

Tell us Your Thoughts On This Piece:

Your Name *
Email * (not published, needs verification one time only)
  • Facebook
  • Follow us on Twitter
  • RSS feed
  • Facebook

Latest Headlines

News Links

News Archive