Considerations for Insurers
Recent advancements in infertility treatment technologies are offering more hope to individuals facing infertility. These technologies, ranging from improved diagnostics to advanced treatment modalities, are refining medicine’s understanding of and ability to address the various pathophysiologies of infertility. Also, as these technologies become more widely accepted, they are likely to result in an increasing number of viable pregnancies and births among women of older ages. With these improvements, insurers will need to look carefully at rates for women overall as well as eligibility ages for fertility treatments and adjust them if needed.
Another issue for insurers may be claims administration. Unlike other types of medical treatments, infertility treatments can involve several sequential procedures, each of which must currently be claimed for individually. This leads to multiple claims and payments in a short time period, which can pose challenges for insurance companies in terms of claim assessments, claims management, and payment structures.
Although the number of infertility treatments is increasing in Japan as people reach their late 30s, healthcare coverage of normal birth will have a significant positive impact on younger age groups. As a result, combined with infertility treatments, the impact of having available cover for pregnancy and childbirth would extend to the entire fertility cohort, taking into account social demands.
Clearly, insurers will need to be prepared for higher claims experience and will need to adapt their coverage and claims guidelines to provide affordable access.
Increased support will also be vital for prenatal care, childbirth care, and childcare for all women of childbearing age, but especially for women in their late 30s and early 40s seeking to become pregnant. These expenses are essential aspects of reproductive choices. For Japanese insurance companies, aligning coverage guidelines with changing demographics and societal expectations, and ways to fulfill these needs, will be crucial in supporting individuals seeking to start a family.
The nation's federal and local governments as well as employers can provide family-friendly supportive measures such as flexible working arrangements, improved childcare facilities, and focused subsidies, to families with children. All of these can be part of an overall effort to address the declining birthrate. Insurance companies should consider aligning their policy guidelines and product development efforts with evolving societal needs to contribute to the broader goal of improving the country’s birth rate.
Reversing Japan’s declining population trend will require more than a few adjustments. It will need a coordinated and multifaceted approach, with insurers playing a pivotal role in addressing access and affordability for infertility treatments, prenatal care, and childbirth care.
As societal norms evolve and fertility treatments become more prevalent, insurance companies must adapt to meet changing policyholder needs. By successfully navigating the various complexities around birthrate trends, technological advancements, and potential shifts in public insurance coverage, Japan can move forward into a more sustainable demographic future.
At RGA, we are eager to engage with clients to better understand and tackle the industry’s most pressing challenges together. Contact us to discuss and to learn more about RGA's capabilities, resources, and solutions.