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Research and Briefings

2017 Medical Trends Around the World


The 2017 Mercer Marsh Benefits and Marsh (MMB) annual medical trend survey provides information about the cost of healthcare and top claims in markets around the world to help plan sponsors understand medical plan costs and design their overall health and well-being strategies.

This year’s survey includes data from 220 insurers across 63 countries.

Though global trends have changed little in past years, we have seen some regional variation. Medical cost continues to exceed inflation rates, putting pressure on operating expenses for employers and purchasing power for their employees.

This report reviews three areas for further consideration by employers:

  • Medical trend rates remain high. Do employers have opportunities to drive better value by reviewing healthcare consumer choice options to ensure that higher costs are also resulting in better outcomes?
  • Cancer and circulatory diseases continue to account for the top claims. Do employers have opportunities to drive better value by ensuring their benefits design addresses the precursors to these claims? Can they allocate resources to mitigate high-cost care that drives inflationary trends, and also create incentives for health maintenance and prevention scenarios?
  • Insurers predict high consumer medical spend will continue. Do employers have the right incentives and health culture in place to positively impact the workforce health and curb demand?

“As global medical trend rates continue to rise at a rate of 9.9% — more than three times the rate of inflation — now is the time for employers to take action and play a role in shaping the healthcare market.”