HEALTHCARE | Staff Reporter, Hong Kong

Hong Kong medical inflation to hit 8.4% in 2018

Diagnostics for cancer-related illnesses are pushing costs up.

Medical inflation in Hong Kong is set to clock in at 8.4% by 2018 as the city’s ageing healthcare system is bearing the weight of increased demand brought about by a similarly ageing population, according to a report from Aon.

The proportion of citizens aged 65 and older is projected to account for over a fourth (26.4%) of the population by 2036, according to the Census & Statistics Department.

Also read: Hong Kong's staggering surplus earmarked for ageing population

“Inpatient costs are the primary driver of inflation, with diagnostics for cancer-related illnesses as the top inpatient cost,” Aon said in a statement, with 40% of insurers expecting healthcare costs to climb steadily over the next three years.

New cancer cases rose at a faster rate of 3.1% compared to growth in population which only inched up by a marginal 0.7%. The number of new cancer cases also inched up 2.4% YoY to a peak of 30,318 in 2015.

Also read: Chinese medical tourists are exhausting local HPV cancer drug supply

Hong Kong scored 78.8 on the Aon Medical Inflation Index which compares the average medical inflation rate for 2-17 and 2018 with a projected inflation rate for the next three years, making it the city with the highest medical inflation in Greater China area.

"The Hong Kong healthcare market finds itself at an interesting tipping point. The norm over recent years has been the provision of high standards of care through the public system at minimal cost; however, doubts over medical inflation persist," said Aon managing director for health & benefits Kitty Chan.

“With cancer related costs being their top inpatient cost, followed by cardiovascular diseases, there is an urgent need for insurers, healthcare providers and employers to better target their investment into employee wellbeing initiatives to ensure that equitable, affordable healthcare is universally available,” concluded Tim Dwyer, Asia-Pacific CEO for health & benefits at Aon. 

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