AT THE END OF 2022, THE NUMBER OF PRIVE HEALTH INSURANCE POLICYHOLDERS WAS NEARLY 4.23 MILLION, WHICH IS 9.2 PERCENT MORE THAN THE YEAR BEFORE. POLES SPENT PLN 1.3 BILLION ON PRIVATE POLICIES, WHICH IS 17 PERCENT MORE Y/Y. THIS IS HOW WE TRY TO ADDRESS OUR MAIN CONCERNS RELATED TO HEALTH AND LIFE. ACCORDING TO THE REPORT PREPARED BY PIU, ENTITLED ‘HOW INSURANCE CHANGES POLAND AND ITS PEOPLE’, AS MANY AS 80 PERCENT OF POLES ARE CONCERNED ABOUT THE LACK OF MONEY FOR TREATMENT OF A SERIOUS DISEASE. NEARLY 70 PERCENT FEAR LACK OF ACCESS TO MEDICAL CARE. PRIVATE HEALTH INSURANCE, OPERATING AS PART OF THE HEALTH PROTECTION SYSTEM, WOULD BRING MORE BENEFITS TO ALL: PATIENTS, THE HEALTHCARE SYSTEM AND THE STATE.
PRIVATE HEALTH INSURANCE IN 2022:
- PLN 1.3 billion – the gross written premium in health insurance at the end of 2022.
- PLN 4.23 million – the number of private health insurance users in Poland at the end 2022.
- Poles’ main concerns apply to health and life:
- 84% are concerned about the death of a loved one.
- 85% fear severe illness of a loved one, 48 % think it likely.
- 80% are worried about lack of money for the treatment of a serious illness, 54% consider it likely – this concern moved from fifth place it had in the research of 2020 and 2021 to third place in 2022.
- 79% are afraid of cancer, 40% think that cancer is likely to happen in their lives.
- 78% fear lack of access to medical care, with 40% believing it likely.
- 75% are concerned about brain damage leading to a vegetative state.
PRIVATE HEALTHCARE – A COST-EFFECTIVE SOLUTION FOR EMPLOYERS AND THE STATE
“Easier access to good prophylaxis, medical care and specialist physicians, offered by insurers, provides gains not only for policyholders, but also for the State and employers. It is employers that are the major remitter of private health insurance premiums. They care about the health of their staff, because absenteeism or presenteeism, i.e. ineffective work caused by feeling unwell, generate additional costs and translate to lower performance”, says Dorota M. Fal, Management Board Adviser of the Polish Chamber of Insurance.
Analyses show that absenteeism and presenteeism is primarily caused by chronic diseases of osteoarticular, respiratory and circulatory systems, as well as mental diseases, which are increasing at a frightening rate; a lot of them are linked with obesity, hypertension, diabetes, inappropriate health habits and neglecting treatment. It turns out that the costs of such diseases are much higher in this part of the population who have no private health insurance.
We are constantly concerned about the following diseases: 47 percent of Poles are worried about diabetes, the same percentage consider that they are likely to suffer from this disease, 38 percent fear obesity (34 percent consider obesity a likely threat). More than one third of Poles think that a mental disease is likely in their lives, and 59 percent of respondents are afraid of it.
INSURERS CARE FOR POLES’ HEALTH
Insurers invest in prophylaxis, promote the principles of well-being and lifestyle medicine. They support customers in acquiring healthy habits, such as physical activity. Research shows that nowadays about 60 percent of Poles are overweight, and every fourth of us is obese. Insurers provide access to fitness clubs or rehabilitation, but also to dietary advice. They educate and offer assistance of psychologists.
“About 70 percent of our health condition depends on our habits, that is healthy eating, physical activity and avoiding addictions. Premature deaths are mainly caused by chronic illnesses. Over 66 percent of excess deaths could be avoided by prophylaxis. The other – by treatment of chronic diseases, particularly by well-organised outpatient healthcare and by taking care of patients on a regular basis. PIU’s report shows that over two thirds of respondents fear lack of access to healthcare”, says Dorota M. Fal.
Additionally, in pandemic reality, health insurance includes risks of numerous complications after SARS-CoV-2 infection and helps the return to normal life. Unfortunately, scientists observe that a mild form of omicron causes even more negative long-term disorders, such as lung diseases, cardiologic problems, chronic fatigue, cough, memory and concentration problems (Covid brain fog) and neurological problems. These are just a few of the ailments, and new ones are emerging continuously. Additional support is necessary for a complete recovery, both physical and mental. This is in the interests of both the insured and employers.
PRIVATE HEALTH INSURANCE – BEST SUPPORT FOR THE SYSTEM
Every tenth Pole is covered by additional health insurance which offers primarily outpatient care. This means that for the insured part of the community who use additional care, the chance of hospitalisation is lower. The costs of treatment of such persons are transferred to outpatient care, which is financed by insurers, and their premiums paid to the NHF may be allocated to satisfy other people’s needs.
“PIU keeps emphasising that health insurance may bring increasingly more benefits for all patents. For this to happen, they must become part of the system, e.g. as insurance connected with co-funding of specific services, topping up the basket of guaranteed services. Health insurance may also be used as a supplementary solution, parallel to the system, with support from the fiscal system. Our research shows that over 80 percent of Poles are ready to incur additional monthly fees in this respect”, adds Dorota M. Fal.