7 November 2017
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AnalysisNews

As many as 2.1 million Poles already have private health insurance which provides access to prevention, quick diagnosis and therapy without the need to wait in long queues. The most recent Polish Insurance Association data show that the number of people with health policies increased after Q2 2017 by 26%. The large majority are still people with group insurance, usually provided by their employer. However, the number of people taking out individual policies is growing very rapidly (by 58% YoY).

Commentary by Dorota M. Fal, adviser to the Management Board of the Polish Insurance Association:

Poles are seeking help on their own
Health has an unrivalled value for nearly 60% of Poles. Due to low state expenditure, we spend more and more private money on health and look for new ways to guarantee ourselves and our closest family members high quality medical services. Poland is among the countries which spend the least on healthcare – only 4.4% of GDP. The average spending in the EU is almost 8%.
Despite our readiness to co-pay for medical services, we spend most of the funds ineffectively, frequently on medical agents and procedures with an effectiveness that has not been proven. – We spend more than PLN 35 billion on healthcare from our own pockets, and according to some reports, even near PLN 40 billion – says Dorota M. Fal, adviser to the Management Board of the Polish Insurance Association – In Poland we lack systemic solutions which would facilitate the effective management of those funds. Experiences in many countries show that the best, most effective and widely available method for managing the health budget are insurance products which additionally contribute to the reduction of queues in public healthcare – she adds.

Antidote to queues
– Longer queues in the public healthcare system are caused by the growing demand for healthcare services. It is the result of an ageing population – the entry of people from the baby boom at a time of increased demand for healthcare. Healthcare costs are also affected by the emergence of ever-newer and more expensive medications and other medical technologies. Additionally, a totally free and poorly regulated access to healthcare services leads to, among other things, the excessive use of public healthcare by some patients. Healthcare system reform should include mechanisms which will enable people to take matters into their own hands and to take out private insurance – says Dorota M. Fal.
Effective healthcare profits the employer and the state. Despite the lack of appropriate regulations to support the development of the Polish private health insurance market, the number of people with this type of insurance is growing. These include not only private individuals but also employers who see value in the wide availability of private healthcare services for employees. Every employee illness is a cost for employers and the state budget. Additional health insurance is an investment in work without interruptions or sick leave, and with high efficiency.

WHOLE MARKET Gross premium written [PLN] CUMULATIVELY Number of insured [persons] CUMULATIVELY
individual insurance group insurance individual insurance group insurance
2Q 2016 37,407,382 226,145,586 314,210 1,359,505
2 Q 2017 41,162,204 276,021,267 495,788 1,619,382