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Private Health Insurance in South East Asia

2013

This think: act STUDY focuses on the rapidly growing demand for healthcare in Southeast Asia. Overall health expenditures increased two and a half times between 1998 and 2010, reaching nearly USD 68 billion. Private insurance accounts for only 4% of this total, so there seems to be a huge potential for growth.

Demand for healthcare is growing rapidly in Southeast Asia (SEA). Overall health expenditures increased two and a half times between 1998 and 2010, reaching nearly USD 68 billion. Private insurance accounts for 4% of this total. Three major factors are driving this development: steady population growth, steep increases in medical costs, and – most importantly – increases in per capita consumption of healthcare services.

The maturity of the healthcare market varies widely across Southeast Asia. Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar are still at an early stage of development, while Indonesia, Vietnam and the Philippines provide basic healthcare services to their populations. Malaysia and Thailand are at a more advanced stage of development and now focus on providing high-quality care. The most advanced market is Singapore, which promotes private contributions to the financing of healthcare.

The health insurance sector in Southeast Asia offers significant opportunities. But it is not immune to challenges, such as boosting customer acquisition, balancing product affordability and coverage, and coping with fast-rising medical costs. Ultimately, insurance companies must build customer trust in their brand and service offering by providing adequate coverage, guaranteed payouts and a smooth, hassle-free claims process. Players who rise to these challenges by implementing best practices on a local level will benefit richly from the growth in the market and, in turn, contribute to the growth and maturity of Southeast Asian healthcare.

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