In 2022, nearly 30% of revenue generated by Docrates Cancer Center’s Finnish patients came from insurance company customers, whereas the share was approximately 20% four years earlier. The number of insured patients has more than tripled in five years, which means that the growth rate has been clearly more rapid than the growth of the total number of Finnish patients. According to Docrates’ Commercial Director Jani Mikkola, this is due to changes in the age structure of working-age people as well as to the increase of new kinds of insurance policies.
Insured patients mean patients who finance their cancer diagnostics and treatment with private insurance under which the insurance compensates some of the patient’s costs. The policyholder and payer may be the patient or their employer. Commercial Director Jani Mikkola believes that the rapid growth in the number of insured patients at Docrates stems from, for example, increased knowledge about the coverage of insurance policies.
“From my experience, patients were previously quite unaware of the fact that health and medical expenses insurance policies also cover cancer treatments and examinations. They are similarly compensable as treatments and examinations of other common diseases. I encourage every health insurance policyholder to check the coverage of their insurance policy and make use of it if a serious disease is suspected,” says Jani Mikkola, Commercial Director at Docrates Cancer Center, who has been working in the private cancer treatment field for a long time and also has background in the insurance company sector.
“The change is clearly visible: an increasing number of working-age people has started to utilise their insurance policy in cancer examinations and treatment. In insurance policies taken out by the employer, there is usually a maximum amount of compensation of EUR 10,000 set for the insurance in accordance with the Tax Administration’s instructions. This is more than sufficient for us to carry out accurate diagnostic testing without delay and prepare a treatment plan which will quickly start the treatment path and provide results that can be utilised even if the patient decides to continue their treatment path in a public hospital,” says Jani Mikkola.
Working-age employees are familiar with private services
The large 1960s generation, baby boomers, is still active in the working life, but, at the same time, they have reached the age when the cancer risk starts to increase significantly. In approximately 15 years, the share of 55–65-year-old employees has considerably grown, and this group of people is used to using private occupational health services.
“As a result, the role of medical expense insurance policies taken out by employers in cancer treatment compensations is also increasing every year. Working-age people demand quick access to treatment and smooth advancing on the treatment path and, in the private sector, we can offer the launch of the treatment path with minimal waiting time. Docrates is chosen due to the quick access to individually tailored diagnostic examinations. Fortunately, even the pandemic did not cause us a shortage of resources which would have been reflected in diagnostics and further examination schedules,” says Mikkola.
“The demand for quick access also explains the increase in the number of Swedish insured patients seeking treatment at Docrates. In Sweden, the private health insurance business started to grow later than in Finland. The Swedish health care – both the basic and specialist health care – has been publicly funded for the most parts for a long time, which has worked well until the 2020s. However, the healthcare resourcing has faced major challenges lately, which has come visible, for example, as longer queues for treatment in the Swedish public sector. This has resulted in the emerge of insurance companies which offer more and more health and medical expense insurance policies that allow the patients to seek quick and, thereby, more effective treatment.”
New insurance policies have higher coverage
According to Mikkola, the increase in the number of Finnish insured patients is also explained by the fact that new insurance policies, which pay attention to the increasing longevity and changed customer needs, have entered the Finnish market.
“Insurance policies that cover the examination and treatment expenses to an older age, even up to 100 years of age, are currently available. This kind of diversification of insurance offering shows in our statistics on insured patient numbers, as cancer is, first and foremost, a disease of the later stages of life.”
“Another example is the increase of the so-called critical illness insurance policies. Critical illness insurance pays out a lump sum to the customer, which they can use for individually tailored and rapid treatment of the illness in a private hospital or, for example, to cover lost income. This is not a traditional medical expense insurance, but critical illness lump sum insurance which is currently offered by most of the insurance companies operating in Finland,” says Mikkola.
For more information, please contact:
Jani Mikkola, Commercial Director, Docrates Cancer Center, Finland
p. +358 50 577 9444, [email protected]
Docrates Cancer Center is a Finnish-owned, international hospital in Helsinki specialising in cancer treatment. We provide individual services for cancer patients throughout the treatment chain, from diagnostics to post-treatment follow-up. After diagnosis and imaging, treatment can be planned and initiated without delay. Our unique concept attracts patients from all over the world. We have treated patients from more than 60 different countries. Together with our network of leading clinical experts, we provide genuinely individual state-of-the-art cancer treatment services.
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