The pandemic of the new coronavirus introduced an economic crisis in the country: Brazil registered the highest historical unemployment rate, of 13.8%, according to the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE). Without work and with reduced income, many Bahians had to rebalance their accounts and 43,000 people stopped having health insurance in Bahia in 2020, according to the National Supplementary Health Agency (ANS). The data are the latest from the agency and refer to the period from January to August this year.
In the same period of 2019, around 10,000 Bahians gave up on the agreements. The increase between the two years was 349%. That is, almost four times higher in 2020. In absolute numbers, the reduction this year is equivalent to the population of cities like Ipiaú, Mata de São João and Poções. However, in relative numbers, compared to the total number of beneficiaries in the state, it represents 2.8% of the 1,593,471 Bahians who had the benefit in January. In August, the number dropped to 1,550,248.
From a national perspective, the number dropped in 2020 and the drop was also greater compared to 2019. This year, between January and August, more than 87 thousand Brazilians stopped having health insurance, against 21 thousand last year – an increase of 24.5%. Among the five most populous cities in Bahia, there was a reduction in three of them in August 2020 compared to August 2019. In Salvador, a municipality where there are more people with health insurance, the number went from 805,723 to 782,964 – more than 22 thousand people abdicated the service. The same happened with Feira de Santana and Camaçari. However, the numbers increased in Vitória da Conquista, Juazeiro and Lauro de Freitas.
One of the people who stopped having health insurance during the pandemic was Happy Tour’s general manager, Eliana Meirelles, 45 years old. “Tourism, the sector in which I work, was one of the most affected by the pandemic. For us to keep up, we had to cut some costs and the health plan was one of them ”, explained Meirelles. According to her, the company had a cost of R $ 26 thousand per month with health insurance, a value that included 23 employees. In addition to layoffs, the benefit was cut to reduce spending. The company intends to offer it again when the economic scenario improves. The manager also said the monthly cost for her plan, Bradesco, was R $ 628. She did not quote with other operators.
Bahians opt for cheaper plans
One of the main situations seen by brokers who sell health plans was not low demand, but customers who wanted to exchange the benefit for a more affordable one. According to industry experts heard by the report, most came out of an agreement with national coverage – such as Sul América, Bradesco and Amil – to those of regional or local scope, such as Casseb, Hapvida and Promedica.
“The search continues, but many people are changing plans. The price lists are not in accordance with the economic crisis that is happening in Brazil, there are a lot of people having reduced wages or being fired. What is happening is the change from a traditional plan to a more popular one ”, explained the broker Valdete Quintela, who has worked in the business for almost 30 years.
It happened with the manicure Hélida Lima, who has a nail treatment studio in the Cabula neighborhood. “I ended up being forced to purchase a lower-value plan because of the pandemic. It was very difficult to pay, I tried to negotiate with them, but I couldn’t. I had to migrate to a cheaper one, because there was no way to stay without a plan ”, he narrated. She switched from Golden Pros, in April, to Unimed, and generated savings of R $ 800 per month.
The partner of True Corretora de Seguros Jose Caetana, 26, also points out that there was a greater abandonment of corporate health plans, that is, legal entities, and a greater search for individual plans, for individuals. “Between March and April, there was a fall that we were very sorry for. But then, in July, demand increased. There was mainly an increase in the search for individual products and a decrease in business, ”commented the businesswoman. The main complaint, according to her, was the reduction of wages: “Their income fell and they sought to reduce costs”. The same explanation was given by Quintela: “When the budget is tight, the first thing you eliminate is the health plan and not your child’s school”.
Reasons to stay
According to the Brazilian Association of Health Plans (Abramge), the health system has gone through an unprecedented period. “The health system has gone through an unprecedented period. The economic scenario is the main factor affecting the variation in the number of beneficiaries in Brazil, as the sector is directly impacted by the number of formal jobs and the population’s income. The economy is prospering, supplementary health grows again ”, informed the association, in a note.
Profile of beneficiaries in Bahia
Also according to ANS data, the five most used health plans in Bahia are Hapvida, Bradesco, Unimed, Promédica and Sul América, respectively. Women are among the main beneficiaries and represent 53% of the total. Men, however, surpass them between 1 and 14 years and are the ones who have more covenants. The age group that has the most are people from 34 to 39 years old (183,941, 95,184 of whom are women) and those who have the least are newborns – 19,546 people. The elderly represent 12% of the total.
Complaints at Procon-BA increased
Procon-BA reported that, from January to September 2020, there were 700 complaints and denunciations against plans and companies working in the health sector. The number is 60% higher than that registered in the same period of 2019, when 422 denunciations and complaints were registered. The main reasons were the readjustment amount and coverage.
In August of this year, ANS prohibited health plans from making adjustments in all modalities (individual, membership and collective). The decision applies from September to December and also applies to price increases by age group.
Municipalities with more health plans in Bahia (August 2019 and August 2020)
Salvador – 805,723 and 782,964
Feira de Santana – 128,117 and 125,810
Lauro de freitas – 59,660 and 63,732
Camaçari – 61,811 and 60,536
Vitória da Conquista – 45,021 and 45,748
Juazeiro – 31,497 and 31,732
Cast iron: YEARS
Number of health plan beneficiaries in Bahia
Janeiro – 1.593.471 (2020) / 1.582.027 (2019)
February – 1,581,013 (2020) / 1,587,788 (2019)
March – 1,586,531 (2020) / 1,583,288 (2019)
April – 1,580,730 (2020) / 1,580,487 (2019)
May – 1,568,147 (2020) / 1,581,683 (2019)
June – 1,556,965 (2020) / 1,583,244 (2019)
July – 1,544,033 (2020) / 1,575,042 (2019)
August – 1,550,248 (2020) / 1,572,413 (2019)
Cast iron: YEARS
Beneficiary profile (June 2020) in Bahia
Women: 813,319 (53%) | Men: 743,646 (47%)
Age group with less health insurance: people up to 1 year old: 19,546 (9,978 men and 9,568 women).
Age group with the most health insurance: people aged 35 to 39: 183,941 (95,184 women and 88,757 men)
Cast iron: YEARS
Health insurance prices
Bradesco – R $ 325.25 to R $ 8,588.34
Unimed – R $ 224.38 to R $ 4,196.86
Hapvida – R $ 214.23 to R $ 1,874.12
* Under the guidance of reporting head Perla Ribeiro