The health insurance sector in Lebanon currently faces five main challenges, the first of which is the absence of new and large investments due to the state of anticipation and wariness among investors and news of conflict.
Dr Said Hadife, manager of health insurance at Al Mashrek Insurance & Reinsurance, told Al Mal that the second challenge is the increase in the costs of medical treatment—especially pharmaceuticals, medical supplies and advanced technology. He noted in particular the prohibitive cost of cancer treatment medicine.
The third challenge is economic stagnation and low growth rates of economy, the increase in the value added tax from 10% to 11%, the increase in consumer prices and inflation. The fourth challenge is fraud and abuse. The fifth challenge is competition from mutual funds that obtain their licences from the Ministry of Agriculture to serve farmers in managing savings. Unlike insurers, they do not have to set aside reserves nor pay taxes.
Medical insurance business in Lebanon amounted to US$477 million for the first half of 2017 compared to $407 million during the corresponding period of 2016. Medical insurance accounts for 34.2% of total premiums.