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Top healthcare trends that employers should know about in 2021

It can be agreed by everyone that 2020 was marked by unpredictability and challenges for employees and employers across Latin America. The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic as we have now come to call it has had a significant impact on society and the way we now look at our health. More so, several healthcare trends have emerged as we seek ways to navigate the pandemic, while keeping safe and adhering to COVID-19 preventative measures.

To give you an insight, this article by Pacific Prime Latin America looks at the top 3 healthcare trends that employers should expect to see as we progress through 2021.

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1. Rising healthcare costs

After months of waiting, public and private hospitals in Latin America, as well as the Caribbean region can expect a “tsunami of healthcare demand going forward” for non-communicable diseases and health defects, such as cardiovascular disease and cancer, which have been missed or delayed owing to the pandemic.

Others will be wanting to go in for health checks like routine physicals and other life-saving screenings. But for many, the delay in receiving treatment during the onset of the pandemic could mean a rise in healthcare costs, especially as resources may be limited or extra resources are required for treatment to go ahead safely.

One of the key findings listed in Pacific Prime’s Cost of International Health Insurance Report 2020-2021, shows the ranking of the top 20 most expensive countries with the highest international private medical insurance (IPMI) premiums. And interestingly, of the 20 ranked, 12 were from the Americas, which includes Mexico, Columbia, and a few more countries from Latin America that share the same ranking. This ranking alone, as put together by Pacific Prime’s insurance experts, indicates the high costs of healthcare already seen in these countries, which raises an important question – why are healthcare costs high in Latin America?

Pacific Prime’s experts believe this is due to the following factors:

Hospitalization claims

An increase in patients seeking healthcare treatment will equate to higher claims and this results in higher premiums. When there is a higher demand for patients seeking care, hospitals and healthcare authorities have to procure further supplies that could be limited or lacking. The increase in demand for healthcare and low resources combined will inevitably increase the cost of procurement and healthcare, which is passed onto patients that choose to receive treatment. Thus, with medical attention increasing, the health premiums that clients, especially employers, will have to pay when renewing group health insurance plans will also go up.

Introduction of new equipment

Latin American countries, like Mexico, are well-known for having excellent and relatively inexpensive healthcare, which is why expats and travelers, especially from the neighboring US, flock for treatment there. However, around 61% of all hospitals in Mexico are private and many of these are continually investing in the latest technology to cope with healthcare demand and complex health issues. The high number of private hospitals and facilities also means stiff competition between them to attract patients by showcasing the latest technology or medical service the hospitals and medical professionals have to offer.

Download for free: The Cost of International Health Insurance Report 2020-2021

Employers are encouraged to review their existing plans to help their employees navigate an increasingly complex and dynamic healthcare system in 2021. Getting in touch with insurance experts at Pacific Prime Latin America can help unveil suitable plans to support the specific needs of employees and address the rising healthcare costs.

2. COVID-19 vaccine distribution means business-as-usual

Within the last few months, the news of vaccines produced and manufactured by global pharmaceutical companies brings fresh hope to many employees and employers looking to return to business-as-usual. So far, Mexico, Chile, and Costa Rica have launched mass vaccination campaigns against COVID-19, administering the first shots of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

Employers will have to figure out new guidelines to help employees gradually return to work or even introduce flexible arrangement options as it may be too early to bring everyone back at once, given the news of new strains and the results of the vaccines that have yet to prove themselves.

Whether employers choose to bring employees back will depend on the subject of finding the right balance for employees. Many have shown their abilities to perform well if not better at home, especially with the use of communication technology such as Zoom and Slack. By addressing new preferences and acknowledging the current situation, Latin American employers could potentially opt for flexible schedules and conditions that meet the needs of employees going forward.

3. Growing adoption of telehealth services

Something that countries in Latin America but also many other regions around the world have experienced is the growing adoption of telemedicine services. The fear of contracting the virus in public or passing it onto others, especially loved ones, are some factors affecting the way people receive healthcare during the pandemic.

According to a Deloitte survey, consumers are increasing their use of virtual visits, which rose by 4% (from 15% to 19%) from 2019 to early 2020. It then rose by another 9%, reaching 28% in April 2020. Interestingly, consumer’s willingness to share personal data has increased during the pandemic.

As most employees are working from home or require medical attention or support in the short term, employers can support them further by adding telehealth services to their employee benefits package. This would help employees gain access to medical support quicker and could also reduce sick leaves.

Learn more about health trends from Pacific Prime Latin America

At Pacific Prime Latin America, we strive to provide excellence every step of the way from producing informative and comprehensive reports on healthcare trends to advancing our capabilities as an insurance intermediary by acquiring experts in the field of insurtech.

As we continue to monitor the healthcare trends in 2021, employers, businesses, and HR leaders can reach out to Pacific Prime’s experts to discover more about the available company insurance solutions, employee benefits solutions, as well as group health insurance for employees.

Be sure to check out our coveted Cost of International Health Insurance Report 2020-2021 or download a free copy of the Global Employee Benefits Trends Report 2020 for the latest trends and insights.

Feel free to contact us today!

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Content Creator at Pacific Prime Latin America
Jimmy is a content writer who helps simplify insurance for readers interested in international private medical insurance. He is on a mission in Thailand to support locals, expatriates, and businesses by bring the latest news and updates to his Pacific Prime blog articles.

His expert view and wealth of knowledge on insurance can also be found in his blogs for China, Dubai, Hong Kong, and Singapore.