Connect with us

Top Stories

Medical inflation rate in Hong Kong highest in Greater China

Published

on

Medical inflation rate in Hong Kong highest in Greater China

Rise in cancer cases and an ageing population put huge strains on medical services, according to Aon Asia Healthcare Trends Report 2017/18

HONG KONG, CHINA – Aon plc (NYSE:AON), the leading global professional services firm providing a broad range of risk, retirement and health solutions, has launched its inaugural Asia Healthcare Trends Report 2017/18.

The report examines medical inflation, its key drivers, and prevailing cost management strategies by insurers across 11 markets in the region. Each market is also allocated an Aon Medical Inflation Index (AMII) score, which compares the average medical inflation rate in each location for 2017 and 2018 with a projected inflation rate for the next three years. The AMII score for Hong Kong is 78.8–better than the regional median of 82.7 but the highest in Greater China.

Medical inflation forecast for 2018 is 8.4%, up slightly from the 8.2% forecast for 2017. However, 40% of insurers predict a significant increase in healthcare costs over the next three years.

Trends in cost management

Asia is being hit by a convergence of several unfavourable factors including a rapidly growing middle class with heightened expectations of healthcare outcomes, an ageing population, and high incidence of non-communicable diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, and respiratory-related conditions.

The report tracked a moderate reduction in inflation rate in Hong Kong from 2014 to 2016, from 9.0% to 7.5%. However, inflationary pressures have been building on a number of fronts–notably an ageing population and public health system struggling to cope with increased demand. The report noted that a majority of Hong Kong residents are now 50 to 59 years of age, and over time, a large population of seniors aged 80 years and above will put significant strain on medical and care services.

Furthermore, in the decade between 2003 and 2013, new cancer cases increased at a rate of 3.1%, compared to population growth of just 0.7%. New cancer cases in Hong Kong hit a high of 30,318 in 2015, an increase of 2.4% from 2014. The increase in incidence of cancer decreases quality of life for residents in their most productive years, which has direct and adverse impact on the economy. The report also states that inpatient costs are the primary driver of inflation, with diagnostics for cancer-related illnesses as the top inpatient cost.

Kitty Chan, Managing Director, Health & Benefits, Hong Kong, Aon, says: “The Hong Kong healthcare market finds itself at an interesting tipping point. The norm over recent years has been the provision of high standards of care through the public system at minimal cost; however, doubts over medical inflation persist, encapsulated in the downcast medium-term prognosis of Hong Kong’s medical insurers over the projected inflation rate.”

On a positive note, Hong Kong is the most advanced market in Asia in terms of employee wellness programmes for women’s health-related initiatives. This could be prompted, in part, by the 70% increase in incidence of breast cancer cases from 2005 to 2015, compared to only a 40% increase in all other female cancers combined during the same period.

Tim Dwyer, CEO, Health & Benefits, Asia Pacific, Aon says: “Consistent with the majority of markets profiled in our report, Hong Kong’s insurance community expressed the view that it is inpatient costs which are the primary driver of medical inflation. This outcome is concerning, particularly as 40 per cent of participating medical plan insurers are forecasting medical inflation to increase significantly over the next three years. With cancer related costs being their top inpatient cost, followed by cardiovascular diseases, there is an urgent need for insurers, healthcare providers and employers to better target their investment into employee wellbeing initiatives to ensure that equitable, affordable healthcare is universally available”.

Top Stories

Bitcoin, ether hit fresh highs

Published

on

Bitcoin, ether hit fresh highs 1

SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Bitcoin hit a fresh high in Asian trading on Saturday, extending a two-month rally that saw its market capitalisation cross $1 trillion a day earlier.

The world’s most popular cryptocurrency rose to an record $56,620, taking its weekly gain to 18%. It has surged more than 92% this year.

Bitcoin’s gains have been fuelled by evidence it is gaining acceptance among mainstream investors and companies, such as Tesla Inc, Mastercard Inc and BNY Mellon.

Ether, the second-largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization and daily volume, hit a record $2,040.62, for a weekly gain of about 12%.

Ether is the digital currency or token that facilitates transactions on the ethereum blockchain. In the crypto world, the terms ether and ethereum have become interchangeable.

Ether futures contracts launched on derivatives exchange CME earlier this month.

(Reporting by Vidya Ranganathan; Editing by William Mallard)

Continue Reading

Top Stories

World Bank pushing for standard vaccine contracts, more disclosure from makers

Published

on

World Bank pushing for standard vaccine contracts, more disclosure from makers 2

By Andrea Shalal

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The World Bank is working to standardize COVID-19 vaccine contracts that countries are signing with drug makers, and is pushing manufacturers to be more open about where doses are headed, as it races to get more vaccines to poor countries, the bank’s president said on Friday.

World Bank President David Malpass told Reuters he expected the bank’s board to have approved $1.6 billion in vaccine funding for 12 countries, including the Philippines, Bangladesh, Tunisia and Ethiopia, by the end of March, with 30 more to follow shortly thereafter.

The bank is working with local governments to identify and fill gaps in distribution capacity, after they purchase vaccines under a $12 billion World Bank program, and also to standardize the contracts they are signing with manufacturers, he said.

The bank’s International Finance Corp, its private financing arm, has $4 billion to invest in expanding existing production plants or building new ones, including in developed countries, but needs more data on where current production is headed, he said.

“We are eager to be investing in new capacity, but it’s hard to do because you don’t know how much of the existing capacity is already committed to the various off-takers,” Malpass said in an interview with Reuters. New or expanded plants could be used to produce other types of vaccinations in the future, he said.

The bank’s funds could be used to expand plants in advanced economies, if the production was earmarked for developing nations, he said.

Malpass welcomed Friday’s pledge by the Group of Seven rich countries to intensify cooperation on the pandemic, saying it could help jump-start deliveries of vaccines to poorer countries, which are lagging far behind rich countries in getting shots in arms.

Data compiled by Our World In Data, a scientific online publication, showed Israel was leading the world in COVID-19 vaccinations, with nearly 82 of 100 people vaccinated, while India and Bangladesh reported less than one person per 100, Many African countries have not started at all.

Malpass said he was heartened by news about new vaccines coming down the road, and about Pfizer Inc and BioNTech SE seeking permission to store their vaccine at higher temperatures, which would ease another obstacle to deliveries in lower-income countries.

(Reporting by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Heather Timmons and Leslie Adler)

Continue Reading

Top Stories

Google to evaluate executive performance on diversity, inclusion

Published

on

Google to evaluate executive performance on diversity, inclusion 3

By Paresh Dave

(Reuters) – Alphabet Inc’s Google will evaluate the performance of its vice presidents and above on team diversity and inclusion starting this year, the company said on Friday in one of several responses to concerns about its treatment of a Black scientist.

Timnit Gebru, co-leader of Google’s ethical artificial intelligence research team, said in December that Google abruptly fired her after she criticized its diversity efforts and threatened to resign.

Alphabet and Google Chief Executive Sundar Pichai ordered a review of the situation. While Google declined to share specific findings, the company announced on Friday it will engage human resources specialists during sensitive employee departures.

Pichai in June said that by 2025, Google aims to have 30% more of its leaders come from underrepresented groups, with a focus on Black, Latinx and Native American leaders in the United States and female technical leaders globally. About 96% of Google’s U.S. leaders at the time were white or Asian, and 73% globally were men.

As a result of the investigation, the company also expanded a commitment announced in June to devote more resources to retaining and promoting existing employees, including by expanding a team addressing disputes among workers and their managers.

The diversity component of executive performance reviews was not previously announced, and the company did not immediately share details about what would be measured and how pay would be affected.

Alphabet for years had rejected proposals from shareholders and employees to set diversity goals and tie executive pay to them.

Irene Knapp, a former Google employee who advocated for one such proposal at a 2018 shareholder meeting, said on Friday, “I am pleased that they met our demand from 2018, which was a bare minimum that should have been easy to do immediately.”

Evaluating managers on diversity goals is becoming more commonplace. McDonald’s Corp on Thursday tied executive bonuses to diversity.

(Reporting by Paresh Dave; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)

Continue Reading
Editorial & Advertiser disclosureOur website provides you with information, news, press releases, Opinion and advertorials on various financial products and services. This is not to be considered as financial advice and should be considered only for information purposes. We cannot guarantee the accuracy or applicability of any information provided with respect to your individual or personal circumstances. Please seek Professional advice from a qualified professional before making any financial decisions. We link to various third party websites, affiliate sales networks, and may link to our advertising partners websites. Though we are tied up with various advertising and affiliate networks, this does not affect our analysis or opinion. When you view or click on certain links available on our articles, our partners may compensate us for displaying the content to you, or make a purchase or fill a form. This will not incur any additional charges to you. To make things simpler for you to identity or distinguish sponsored articles or links, you may consider all articles or links hosted on our site as a partner endorsed link.

Call For Entries

Global Banking and Finance Review Awards Nominations 2021
2021 Awards now open. Click Here to Nominate

Latest Articles

FTSE Russell to include 11 stocks from China's STAR Market in global benchmarks 4 FTSE Russell to include 11 stocks from China's STAR Market in global benchmarks 5
Trading6 hours ago

FTSE Russell to include 11 stocks from China’s STAR Market in global benchmarks

SHANGHAI (Reuters) – Index provider FTSE Russell will add 11 stocks from China’s STAR Market to its global benchmarks, according...

Foxconn chairman says expects "limited impact" from chip shortage on clients 6 Foxconn chairman says expects "limited impact" from chip shortage on clients 7
Business7 hours ago

Foxconn chairman says expects “limited impact” from chip shortage on clients

TAIPEI (Reuters) – The chairman of Apple Inc supplier Foxconn said on Saturday he expects his company and its clients...

Bitcoin, ether hit fresh highs 8 Bitcoin, ether hit fresh highs 9
Top Stories7 hours ago

Bitcoin, ether hit fresh highs

SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Bitcoin hit a fresh high in Asian trading on Saturday, extending a two-month rally that saw its...

UK insurers estimate to pay up to 2.5 billion pounds for coronavirus claims 10 UK insurers estimate to pay up to 2.5 billion pounds for coronavirus claims 11
Trading7 hours ago

UK insurers estimate to pay up to 2.5 billion pounds for coronavirus claims

(Reuters) – The Association of British Insurers (ABI) said on Saturday insurers are likely to pay up to 2.5 billion...

Citigroup considering divestiture of some foreign consumer units - Bloomberg Law 12 Citigroup considering divestiture of some foreign consumer units - Bloomberg Law 13
Banking7 hours ago

Citigroup considering divestiture of some foreign consumer units – Bloomberg Law

(Reuters) – Citigroup Inc is considering divesting some international consumer units, Bloomberg Law reported on Friday, citing people familiar with...

World Bank pushing for standard vaccine contracts, more disclosure from makers 14 World Bank pushing for standard vaccine contracts, more disclosure from makers 15
Top Stories7 hours ago

World Bank pushing for standard vaccine contracts, more disclosure from makers

By Andrea Shalal WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The World Bank is working to standardize COVID-19 vaccine contracts that countries are signing...

Google to evaluate executive performance on diversity, inclusion 16 Google to evaluate executive performance on diversity, inclusion 17
Top Stories7 hours ago

Google to evaluate executive performance on diversity, inclusion

By Paresh Dave (Reuters) – Alphabet Inc’s Google will evaluate the performance of its vice presidents and above on team...

EU seeks alliance with U.S. on climate change, tech rules 18 EU seeks alliance with U.S. on climate change, tech rules 19
Business7 hours ago

EU seeks alliance with U.S. on climate change, tech rules

By Sabine Siebold and Kate Abnett BERLIN (Reuters) – Europe and the United States should join forces in the fight...

Oil extends losses as Texas prepares to ramp up output after freeze 20 Oil extends losses as Texas prepares to ramp up output after freeze 21
Trading7 hours ago

Oil extends losses as Texas prepares to ramp up output after freeze

By Devika Krishna Kumar NEW YORK (Reuters) – Oil prices fell for a second day on Friday, retreating further from...

Dollar edges lower as investors favor higher-risk currencies 22 Dollar edges lower as investors favor higher-risk currencies 23
Investing7 hours ago

Dollar edges lower as investors favor higher-risk currencies

By Stephen Culp NEW YORK (Reuters) – The dollar lost ground on Friday as market participants favored currencies associated with...

Newsletters with Secrets & Analysis. Subscribe Now