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Report: 2021 Global Medical Trends Survey report

Willis Towers Watson’s 2021 Global Medical Trends survey reveals that although the pandemic has had a significant impact on healthcare utilisation and overall costs in 2020 due to a sharp decline in non-urgent surgeries and elective care, the resulting decrease in medical trend will be short-lived.

Report: 2021 Global Medical Trends Survey report 1

Globally projected healthcare benefit costs will take a sudden drop in 2020 before rebounding to 8.1% in 2021, up from 5.9% in 2020 and 7.2% in 2019.

Key findings

  • Average increases across different regions next year will range from 5.8% in Europe to 8.5% in Asia Pacific to 10% in the Middle East and Africa to 13.6% in Latin America. Healthcare benefit cost increases in the U.S. are expected to remain stable at 7.3% next year, according to other Willis Towers Watson research.
  • Looking beyond 2021, over two-thirds (67%) of respondents expect medical costs will continue to accelerate over the next three years.
  • The pandemic has helped to accelerate the adoption of telehealth with half of insurers globally currently offering telehealth across all plans.
  • Respondents rank cancer (80%), cardiovascular diseases (56%), and conditions affecting musculoskeletal and connective tissue (41%) as the top three conditions that currently affect medical costs. Gastrointestinal (40%) moved into the top three conditions causing the highest incidence of claims along with cancer (48%) and cardiovascular (36%);however, about four in 10 respondents predict mental health conditions will be among the three most common conditions affecting costs within the next 18 months (40%) and among the three most expensive in the next 18 months (39%).

Willis Towers Watson’s 2021 Global Medical Trends survey tracks medical costs from a global network of 287 insurers in 76 countries.

In partnership with Willis Towers Watson

Willis Towers Watson is a leading global advisory, broking and solutions company.

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