Kuala Lumpur, March 2018 – The six major economies in ASEAN – Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, Vietnam, Thailand, and Singapore – are facing an unprecedented rise in healthcare cost in the coming decade. Factors including fast growth rates of the elder population, combined with high smoking, overweight, and obesity will lead to a massive increase in the need for care and healthcare spending. Solidiance’s latest white paper, “The ~USD 320 billion healthcare challenge in ASEAN”, explores the reasons behind rising healthcare costs, provide the value opportunities, and suggest measurable actions to improve the industry over time.
The healthcare cost challenge
With healthcare cost outpacing economical growth in nearly all ASEAN nations, it is expected that by 2025, total healthcare spending could accelerate up to ~USD 740 billion from the current ~USD 420 billion. That means an increment of ~USD 320 billion will need to be immediately addressed in order to sustain the future of the healthcare industry.
Additionally, governments of these ASEAN nations are no longer able to allocate a higher proportion of their budgets to healthcare spending due to other economic budgetary requirements, such as the need for economic stimulus, massive infrastructure plans and rising security tensions in the South China Sea.
“We believe that the massive rise in healthcare demand poses one of the greatest challenges the ASEAN nations has ever faced, yet therein lies also immense opportunity. If policy makers and businesses make the right choices today, great value and a healthy future can be secured for patients, governments and shareholders alike”, according to Fabian Boegershausen Manager at Solidiance based in Malaysia and author of the white paper.
Value opportunity in ASEAN: Providing good quality healthcare at reasonable costs
In terms of healthcare spending versus achieved average life expectancy, ASEAN 6 nations are currently in a perfect ‘middle field’ between underdeveloped nations in third world countries and over-spenders among the wealthier nations.
Hence, to establish a more efficient healthcare system, ASEAN nations - with the exception of Singapore - must find ways to increase healthy living years of its people by tackling the key drivers of disabilities.
Three levers to improve ASEAN’s healthcare system
- Generate new sources of healthcare funding. Policymakers can introduce mild taxation on unhealthy goods (e.g sugar, salt) to increase revenue and improve health behavior incentives while also streamlining co-payment or broader insurance systems to improve the situation for consumers and governments alike.
- Streamline processes and budget to reduce overhead cost. Digitizing processes could significantly help manage patient’s data, reduce the need for administrative procedures, and remove redundant reviews on drug approvals.
- Invest more in prevention at early stages of treatment. Addressing the diseases early on could save on long-term healthcare costs. Health conscious living, for example, prevents obesity and hence reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases and diabetes. Early diagnosis and treatment of cancer can greatly improve survival rates of patients and can avoid the need for massive treatment later.
Solidiance is a corporate strategy consulting firm focused on Asia. We advise CEOs on make-or-break deals, define new business models and accelerate Asia growth. Solidiance’s expertise is focused on the industrial, automotive, technology, and healthcare sectors with 12 offices in Asia: Abu Dhabi, Bangkok, Beijing, Beirut, Ho Chi Minh City, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, Manila, New Delhi, Yangon, Shanghai, Singapore (HQ), as well as a Client Liaison office in Germany.
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