The prices on the market of employee medical subscriptions are already high and will be even higher. This results from a survey by WTW Consulting which is described by “Rzeczpospolita”. Key figures from the report: 14% price increase last year, 15% increase this year.
All of this is caused by inflation, which drains more and more the wallets of not only Polish citizens but also companies and service providers. Added to this is the increased need for healthcare which, in turn, is the legacy of the pandemic. As
a result, the healthcare cost went up by 8.8% on a global scale last year and this year – mainly due to inflationary increases – it may be higher by 10%. This average is raised by several countries, including Poland, with 15% increase. However, according to Krzysztof Gugała, Director at WTW Consulting, conversations with corporate clients indicate that many of them (especially those whose two-year agreements with medical service providers are coming to an end) saw prices higher by 40% in the offers for 2023 and sometimes even more than before.
The cost of higher salaries
“The wave of increases in medical packages began in mid-2022 when medical inflation accelerated”, says Gugała, recalling that since July last year, salaries in the healthcare sector have gone up by an average of 18.3% in accordance with the Act on the Method of Determining the Lowest Basic Salary of Selected Employees of Healthcare Facilities. This salary increase boosted medical inflation, which topped 17% in the autumn of 2022. This factor is also noticed by the leading private providers of these services.
“Over the last few years, we have undertaken a number of optimisation activities which helped us minimise the need to transfer additional costs to patients during this time. Today, we are in a situation when raising the prices of subscriptions and other offered services is a business necessity”, says Anna Rulkiewicz, President of the Lux Med Group. In her opinion, the inflation of medical costs, which reached approx. 20% at the end of last year, will translate into a dynamic increase in the prices of subscriptions and health insurance. As a result, subscription increases for corporate clients can reach up to 40%.
“Unfortunately, medical entities are not able to take on all the increases. The prices of services and examinations should increase by at least 30% in 2023 to maintain profitability”, says Jacek Rozwadowski, President of the Enel-Med Medical Centre. He also points out that while during the boom period, thanks to preferential packages, Poles had access to a wide range of medical services at exceptionally favourable prices, the current reality forces everyone to be more and more financially disciplined.
According to Artur Białkowski, Business Services Managing Director at Medicover Poland, taking into consideration inflation and the current reality, the package price should be more than twice as high today as it was 10 years ago to ensure similar availability and services. Meanwhile, taking into consideration the increase in the employer’s costs, the price of medical care at Medicover, calculated as
a percentage of employment costs, decreases year by year – even with current increases.
Cezary Jaźnicki, Director of the Personal Insurance Division at WTW Polska, admits that at the end of 2022 and beginning of 2023, some employers were put against the wall – because along with the information about the increase, service providers sent them termination notices of existing agreements. Most of them had to accept new terms and conditions because it is difficult to find an alternative in the current situation.
According to the WTW data, companies have not yet reacted to increases in the prices of medical services by cutting other elements of benefit packages, although, they sometimes try to optimise costs by giving up services that are not used or by looking for a cheaper service provider.