Actuaries' expertise could cut New Brunswick's healthcare costs

FREDERICTON, NB, July 2, 2013 /CNW/ - An actuarial study on future healthcare expenses and resource needs, conducted by the Canadian Institute of Actuaries (CIA) in conjunction with the New Brunswick Health Council (NBHC), was delivered on June 27 to officials of the Department of Health, NBHC, Vitalité Health Network, FacilicorpNB and Ambulance New Brunswick by CIA President Jacques Lafrance and NBHC Chief Executive Officer Stéphane Robichaud.

M. Lafrance said, "Canada's actuaries were involved in the design of Medicare in the mid-1960s, and we took on this project to demonstrate that actuaries' skills, talents, and abilities could be of use to the system once again.

"Across the world, healthcare costs are escalating and projected to grow at a rapid pace partly due to aging populations. Despite the implementation of many promising initiatives over the last decade, healthcare remains a top national concern. Actuarial expertise and methods can help identify areas to lower health care costs.

"This joint venture was a positive one for the CIA, the NBHC, the government, and New Brunswickers."

Using data from the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) and from the NBHC, a model was developed to project healthcare expenses for New Brunswick to 2020. It took into account demographic projections of the province's population, and developed trend factors to reflect the various healthcare component costs. The impact of lifestyle factors on these costs was also correlated.

One important result projects that without changes in the system, the total cost of healthcare in New Brunswick will increase from $2.8 billion in 2009 to $4.6 billion in 2020. On a per capita basis, this represents an increase from $3,711 per person to $5,976, or 4.4% per annum.

M. Robichaud said, "Three main factors drive this increase: a projected 2 percent annual price inflation in medical costs, higher costs brought on by the aging of the population, and increasing utilization of the system brought on by lifestyles and other factors."

The Canadian Institute of Actuaries is the national organization of the actuarial profession. Actuaries employ their specialized knowledge of the mathematics of finance, statistics, and risk theory on problems faced by pension plans, government regulators, insurance companies (both life and property/casualty), financial institutions, social programs, and individuals.

The New Brunswick Health Council was created by the Government of New Brunswick to promote and improve health system performance. It engages citizens in ongoing dialogue on improving health services, and monitors and reports on health system performance to the public and health system partners.

SOURCE Canadian Institute of Actuaries




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