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Almost 5 million Poles have health insurance. Policies, however, still far behind subscriptions and paying "out of pocket"

Insurers collected PLN 1.7 billion in health insurance premiums in 2023, 33 per cent more than the year before

The Polish Insurance Association (PIU) reported that 4.8 million Poles already have health insurance. Such a result at the end of 2023 means an increase of almost 14 per cent compared to 2022. Even faster than the number of insured increased the value of premiums collected by insurers - last year it was PLN 1.7 billion, more than 33 per cent than the year before. The increase in policy prices reflects high inflation in the medical sector.

The total footnote value is made up of very diverse products. These include both outpatient insurance products, which usually cover access to primary care physicians and specialists and diagnostics. But also complex and more expensive hospital insurance, small products with very limited risks, e.g. only covering a package of specific tests or a small number of visits, or with a high patient co-payment. For this reason, it is impossible to calculate the average premium the insured pays for a health policy. PIU points out, however, that the vast majority of the funds allocated for the purchase of private health insurance were spent by Poles on policies with a wider range of coverage. The monthly premium in insurance policies covering visits to physicians, diagnostics and prevention starts at around PLN 80.

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More often than not, these types of products are paid in whole or in part by the employer for the benefit of the insured employee. They are therefore a type of employee benefit that aims both to build a good corporate image and to help keep employees healthy. - The health policies that employers most often choose are designed to look after the employee's health, and therefore to reduce as much as possible sickness absence at work and the inefficiency of people who come to work despite being ill," points out Dorota M. Fal, PIU board advisor. She adds that insurance helps to react more quickly when the first symptoms of illness appear, reinforces pro-health education and prevention.

Saltus Ubezpieczenia's analysis is interesting in this respect - this insurer's data shows that 22 per cent of all those covered by employer-arranged group health insurance are people employed in the finance and insurance sector, a further almost 16 per cent are IT and telecommunications workers, and just over 15 per cent are employed in manufacturing. It follows that more than half of the insured are representatives of just three industries, and not necessarily only those most exposed to occupational disease risks. It therefore seems important for insurers to also reach out to those sectors where insurance is not yet a standard employee benefit. For example, those working in education represent, according to Saltus estimates, only 0.26 per cent of all those covered by health policies.

Although the growing number of insured is a positive sign for the industry, its share of the health market remains small. According to data presented by EY, in 2023, total expenditure on healthcare amounted to almost PLN 206 billion, of which almost 52 billion came from the private sector. Direct spending by households reached PLN 37 billion.

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Health insurance is still far behind medical subscriptions in terms of popularity, on which - according to EY estimates - Poles spent around PLN 7.5 billion last year. Meanwhile, from a customer perspective, they have an advantage over them in the form of, among other things, a larger network of medical facilities whose services can be used and a guarantee of the availability of appointments at a given time.

At the same time, the private sector is increasingly confronted with problems familiar to the public health service - namely, after all, the capacity and number of private medical facilities is not unlimited, and shortages of medical staff are also increasingly acute. What may seem less obvious, however, is that a major contributor to the inefficiency of the healthcare system is the fact that patients who do not use them do not cancel their appointments. According to EY data, nationally, 1.3 million National Health Fund (NFZ)-funded appointments not cancelled by patients were missed in the past year.


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