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The IPMI Market Insurers Cannot Afford To Ignore

In this iPMI Global Insights article, iPMI report author Ian Youngman, dives deep into the iPMI market sector insurers cannot afford to ignore.

Ian Youngman is a writer and researcher specialising in insurance. He writes regularly for a variety of magazines, newsletters, and on-line services. He publishes a range of market reports, and undertakes research for companies. To read his latest report, International Health Insurance 2023, please click here, or visit the REPORTS section of iPMI Global.

  • According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there will be a higher number of older people than young people in Europe by 2024.
  • By 2024 the population of individuals aged over 65 years will outnumber those under the age of 15 in the WHO European Region of 53 countries.
  • This is happening in Europe 60 years earlier than it is expected to happen in the rest of the world.
  • As people live longer, their health will decline and this trend would bring new problems to society, the economy and healthcare.
  • The WHO recommended policies to help older people stay physically and mentally active, be independent, and stay connected with others.
  • As Europe's population continues to age, the need for innovative policies and practices to support healthy ageing becomes increasingly vital. 
  • The WHO European Region has one of the highest shares of older people in the world, and it will continue to see increases over the next decades, especially in the number of people aged 80 and over. 
  • The adoption of the Lisbon Outcome Statement is a significant step toward addressing the challenges and harnessing the opportunities of Europe's ageing population.
  • It underscores the importance of a collective effort involving governments, organisations, and individuals from diverse sectors to promote healthy ageing. 
  • The statement highlights 5 key priorities to advance healthy ageing policies including: 
  • Preventive measures, which focus on preventing health issues and promoting physical, social, and mental well-being throughout life; 
  • Enabling continuous support, by providing accessible, affordable, and high-quality care throughout a person's life, and adapting to changing needs and across different care settings, including long-term care; 
  • Age-friendly environments, by creating communities and cities that empower people of all ages to engage in community life; 
  • Leveraging older people's potential, by recognizing and utilizing the valuable contributions and expertise of older people; and 
  • Data and evidence, which ensures that policy decisions are informed by evidence-based practices. 

Analysis

  • IPMI restrictions vary from plan to plan, however, some insurers do put an age restriction on some policies. 
  • Cigna Global recently launched policies for those over 60.
  • Other insurers are expected to follow
  • The big worry for insurers is that as they get older people do have more health problems.
  • Healthy over 60s may have 10 of 20 years of healthy life and work.
  • What is often missed is that this age group may work full or part-time or flexibly or in unpaid voluntary work.
  • In theory states look after this sector with free or discounted healthcare but the reality is different.
  • I feel that the numbers of expats or HNW who still work or run a business is undercounted as country figures tend mostly to look at full-time employment or not.
  • Estimating future numbers is hard as more people want to work longer but the actual numbers may partly depend on employer attitudes.
  • Often forgotten is the number that retires and then goes on to work for them or set up a business.
  • This sector needs more regular tests and checks plus cover for specific problems.
  • Some cover such as maternity and child cover are not needed.

What Next?

  • More IPMI insurers will launch policies for the sector.
  • Policies need to encourage tests, checks, regular exercise and mental health care.
  • Perhaps cover needs to include official and unofficial carers?
  • Insurers need to work with the global bodies looking at the sector to see how cover can be tailored.
  • Insurers need to decide if they have any age limits.
  • Insurers need to decide if they only cover those who work or all.

Related Reading: Cigna Healthcare Launches New Global Health Benefits Plan for Adults Aged 60+

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