The whole world has shifted since the coronavirus outbreak last year, with the majority of people staying home and trying to avoid potential contamination by social distancing. This so-called “new normal” also required us to pay attention to our health more closely, as well as to our loved ones’. Because of that, health insurance subscriptions have increased in 2020, and are continuing to do so in 2021.
Health Insurance Growth in Brazil
Health insurance plans gained a million more subscribers during the pandemic in Brazil, according to a survey by the Supplementary National Health Federation. As of now, these private plans have reached the 48 million subscribers mark, which is the highest number of people covered since September 2016.
Part of this growth is due to more corporate plans being created as more people become employed, and also to the fact that more elderly people are now benefiting from those plans as well. The amount of people over 59 with healthcare insurance increased 3.8% in the last year, probably because older people are among the most harshly affected by covid-19. Having a private plan, then, is a way to provide the extra care and attention needed for them in times like these.
The number of subscribers was not the only thing that increased. Healthcare plans were also more used as well, both by covid-19 patients and by patients with other conditions not related to it. Also according to the survey, occupancy in intensive care units for covid and non-covid patients was almost on the same level in March, exactly a year later everything went into lockdown, reaching 80% for covid-related needs and 73% for other needs.
Moreover, Brazilian healthcare companies closed the first quarter of 2021 with the biggest care cost in history. This can be explained by the pandemic and also by the maintenance of non-urgent procedures in Brazil, like plastic surgeries. These procedures were restricted mostly when cases and ICU occupancy climbed, but other than that remained basically the same. The fact that covid-related hospitalizations usually last longer and can be 2 or 3 times more expensive than the “normal” ones also contributed to this higher cost.
Not a Brazilian Exclusive Trend
This tendency is not exclusive to the Brazilian healthcare system and companies though. Countries like the United States have also recorded an increment on the number of health insurance subscriptions, as well as people who have continued to be covered. There, the Affordable Care Act is one of the main reasons for this bigger coverage that currently benefits 31 million Americans.
It is possible to say that this pandemic has made us more concerned about our health, in every sense. Subscriptions to private healthcare plans have increased, as well as the search for more preventive healthcare options as previously mentioned here on the blog. Not surprisingly, the Healthcare Industry has changed and the implementation of new solutions was accelerated. Our team at Smart Health is attentive to all of this, and ready to assist our partners in this new and exciting scenario.