In the first half of 2020, we spent almost half a billion zlotys on health insurance – according to data provided by the Polish Chamber of Insurance. These policies are already held by over three million Poles, which is 13.1% more than in the previous year. Despite the crisis, health insurance has become more important. Insurers quickly adapted their offerings to client needs, e.g. through telemedicine.
‘Despite the crisis, Poles have not given up on health insurance. Interest in these policies increased, especially during the initial period of the lockdown, when people paid more attention to their health. We observed this trend in both individual and group insurance. During the pandemic, health insurance policies also gained importance as an employee benefit. Many employers decided to purchase it for employees’, says Dorota M. Fal, adviser to the Management Board of the Polish Chamber of Insurance.
Investment in health
The main advantage of health insurance is access to high-quality specialised care without having to wait long for an appointment. Soon after the outbreak of the pandemic, insurers adapted their offerings to the new conditions, which included their successful switching to online service and expanding the range of telemedicine services. Some companies also offered psychological support to those who could not find their way in the new situation.
‘The risk of infection and fear of coronavirus led to a sudden increase in demand for telemedicine services. In the initial phase of the pandemic, about 80-90% of consultations with doctors were conducted remotely. We are now witnessing a return to in-person visits, but telemedicine still enjoys more popularity and confidence than before the outbreak of the epidemic. This type of services will continue to grow’,
emphasises Dorota M. Fal. ‘We are also observing an unwelcome trend. Many people have given up on preventive examinations and continue to put them off.
Consequently, the chance of early diagnosis of a potentially serious illness decreases’, adds Dorota M. Fal.
Health insurance also makes it possible to effectively manage spending on healthcare. This is particularly important now, when healthcare services are getting more expensive due to inflation. ‘Out-of-pocket financing of healthcare, without insurance, will be even less cost-effective’, concludes Dorota M. Fal.