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Asia Health Protection Gap $1,800 Bn in 2017

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According to research published in October 2018 by Swiss Re Institute, the research arm of Swiss Re, the health protection gap in Asia reached US$1.8 trillion in 2017 and exhibits a growing trend.

The corresponding global figure is $2.9 trillion, with the difference coming mostly from Latin America ($0.7 trillion) and Africa ($0.3 trillion). Central and Eastern Europe comes in at $143 billion.

To put these figures into perspective, in emerging Asia, where the gap stood at $1.4 trillion, it represented about 8% of GDP and 11% of net household income; in mature Asia ($0.4 trillion), it may amount to approximately 6% of GDP and 8% of net household income.

The definition of the health protection gap for the purpose of this survey includes the portion of out-of-pocket spending that causes financial stress to households and (the value of) treatments not received due to a lack of financial resources. This definition may remain somewhat incomplete but it is broader that other definitions used by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Swiss Re Institute points out that a health protection gap does not necessarily translate into opportunities for private healthcare, due to affordability issues and to the primary role of social security systems which may step in on a compulsory basis before the private sector is allowed to play any role.

The survey is available through this page (registration required).

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