Data analysis firm GlobalData believes that the coronavirus outbreak could drive private health insurance adoption in China. Insurance Analyst for the company Tapas Bhowmik asserts that, although the public insurance system covers almost 97 per cent of the population, it only provides limited cost coverage – with rising income levels, as well as ageing populations, Bhowmik believes there will be increased demand for better, high-quality healthcare services in China.
“In the present context of coronavirus outbreak, the extent of insurance coverage is yet to be confirmed,” Bhowmik said. “This is partly due to the National Health Commission categorising coronavirus as a Class B infectious disease. Most of the private insurers do not provide cover for Class B infectious diseases. However, some insurers suspended the restrictive clauses and are sharing part of the cost burden as goodwill and social responsibility.”
Bhowmik added that the current health crisis is expected to accelerate a shift in consumer preference for private health insurance. “Increased numbers of people are expected now to look to purchase private health insurance to complement their existing public health insurance. This presents a significant growth opportunity for private health insurers in China.”