Benefits and Compensation

Global Healthcare Benefit Costs Trending Higher

The cost of employee healthcare benefits around the globe is trending higher, driven largely by the higher cost of hospital and inpatient services, medical technology, and the overuse of services, according to a survey of medical insurers by Willis Towers Watson, a global advisory, broking, and solutions company.

The Willis Towers Watson Global Medical Trends Survey was conducted between October and November 2015 and reflects responses from 174 leading medical insurers operating in 55 countries. Most participants have at least a 10% share of the group medical insurance market in their country.

The survey found that medical insurers are projecting the cost of healthcare benefits to increase 9.1% this year, an increase from 8.0% in 2015 and 7.5% in 2014. Insurers in the Americas (not including the U.S.) and Middle East/Africa regions are projecting double-digit average increases for the third straight year. The European region continues to show the lowest level of increase.

Other Willis Towers Watson research shows U.S. employers are experiencing health benefit cost increases that are averaging several percentage points lower than those in other countries.