2016 Global Medical Trends Survey report

April 2016

Medical trend continues to rise across the globe, driven largely by the higher cost of hospital and inpatient services, medical technology and the overuse of services. Given these facts, are there opportunities for employers to provide effective medical benefits, promote better workforce health and control costs?

The 2016 Global Medical Trends Survey report is the latest in a decade of research by Willis Towers Watson on global medical trends. This year’s survey results show:

  • Private medical insurance trend continues to rise globally, from 7.5% in 2014 and 8.0% in 2015, to a projected 9.1% (all weighted) in 2016.
  • More than half of health insurers in all regions anticipate higher or significantly higher medical trend over the next three years.
  • Cardiovascular disease, cancer and respiratory illness remain the top three diseases reported worldwide, and respondents don’t expect the situation to change in the next five years.
  • Traditional methods of cost management still dominate globally; however, health promotion and well-being programs continue to grow in availability and prevalence.
  • Adoption of the ICD-9 and 10 claim-coding systems has only slightly increased since 2012. Insurers’ use of these commonly accepted systems makes it easier for multinational employers to get consistent claim data reporting and facilitate data management. However, the percentage of respondents using local coding or no coding at all has steadily decreased, an indication that respondents are moving in the right direction.