There are early indications that individuals that recover from acute COVID-19 may develop persistent health symptoms. As more time has elapsed since the outbreak of the pandemic and the number of positive cases continues to rise, concerns of longer-term complications are escalating. Healthcare insurers are bound to experience an increase in costs as the incidence of claims rises for years to come, as more individuals will require regular medical checkups.
Findings from GlobalData’s 2019 UK Insurance Consumer Survey indicate that the two most common features sought by customers purchasing private medical insurance are to cover specialist/consultant fees and hospital charges, with 48.5% and 46% of respondents seeking these features respectively.
COVID-19 has a multi-organ effect on individuals with severe symptoms, which could have longer-term implications on their organs. It is expected that COVID-19 survivors will have more specialist consultations and follow-ups with specialists such as pulmonologists, cardiologists, and neurologists that otherwise they would not have necessarily needed. This in turn would lead to more medical insurance claims for policyholders. For instance, regular scans and ultrasounds may be needed to assess the damage to organs and their development over time. Furthermore, in countries like the US, where citizens largely rely on private medical insurance to access healthcare, insurers will see increased costs from primary care.
Studies increasingly highlight the potential for a post-viral syndrome to manifest following COVID-19 infection. The same happened with the SARS outbreak, where acute episodes of the disease led some individuals to develop chronic fatigue syndrome. But the impact of COVID-19 will be costlier to healthcare providers and insurers owing to the scale of the pandemic. More than 21 million people worldwide have contracted the disease so far, compared to just around 8,100 SARS cases in 2003. Meanwhile, a second wave of COVID-19 is looming in many countries, which will further aggravate the situation.
Data from the NHS indicates that 94% of patients with radiologically confirmed COVID-19 present CT abnormalities when they are discharged. Reportedly, longer-term symptoms from the disease currently being identified include lung conditions, neurological problems, motor skill problems, heart inflammation, and further cardiovascular complications. At this stage it is not known how many check-ups will be needed, nor for how long. However, the City University of New York School of Public Health estimates that if 20% of US citizens contract the virus, the one-year post-hospitalisation costs would be at least $50bn, with this figure excluding any longer-term care for continuing health problems. The cost jumps to $204bn if 80% of the population contracts the virus, again excluding longer-term care costs.
The industry is becoming increasingly expectant of more claims from health insurance policyholders requiring expensive medical follow-ups after surviving the disease. Thus, the lingering health effects of COVID-19 are likely to push up private medical insurance premiums as insurers try to recoup the costs.
Latest reports from
Or to search over 50,000 other reports please visitGlobalData Report Store
GlobalData is this website’s parent business intelligence company.