U.S. health insurers will have to focus on overseas expansion opportunities if they want continued high rates of growth and profitability, according to a study that explores trends toward an expanded role for private health insurance in other countries.

“U.S. health insurers have been successful at focusing almost exclusively on the U.S. market up until now,” says Sherry Manetta, an analyst at Conning Research & Consulting, which conducted the research. “However, the U.S. now accounts for 80% of the global health insurance market, while representing just 4.6% of the world’s population. Looking forward, both profit pressures at home and higher growth rates overseas will drive increased multinational expansion interest among U.S. health insurers,” Manetta adds.

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