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Chile is one of Latin America’s better economic performers, although its overall economy is small. GDP per capita is the highest in Latin America. Over the next five years, BMI expects the Chilean economy to struggle with rebalancing following robust growth driven by the global commodity boom of the past decade. Real GDP growth is forecast at 4.8% in 2012, with GDP reaching US$290.1 billion, equal to US$16,648 per capita. BMI believes that the process of rebalancing away from rapid Chinese copper consumption will weigh on the Chilean economy for many years to come. GDP is expected to rise to US$424.5 billion by 2017, equal to US$23,392 per capita.
As in much of Latin America, healthcare provision is a complex mixture of public, private and social insurance, although the current government is implementing plans aimed at creating a more efficient public system. Chile has a relatively well-developed system of private health insurance, the Isapres system. Isapres’ coverage has increased in recent years, following declines between 1998 and 2005. The number of beneficiaries rose by 3.6% in 2011, reaching 2.8 million. Consalud had the largest number of beneficiaries in 2011, with 639,776, equal to 21.9% of the total, followed by Banmédica (20.6%), Cruz Blanca (19.4%) and Colmena (15.8%).
The Chilean medical market for medical equipment and supplies is small by international standards, but per capita spending is high at a regional level. The market is projected to rise by a 12-17 CAGR of 16.1%, reaching US$1,374.1 million in 2017. The medical market has increased rapidly since 2002 and is valued at US$651.4 million in 2012. Growth in demand slackened during the late 1990s, but the market saw steady expansion in the mid-1990s, boosted by substantial investment programmes in the public health sector.
Chile produces very little medical equipment, so the market is largely supplied by imports. The medical balance of trade had a deficit of US$555.1 million in 2011. The USA was the dominant supplier, accounting for 34.7% of total imports. The European Union supplied a further 26.7%; Germany accounted for around half of this. For the 12 months to June 2012, the latest available monthly data, imports reached US$585.1 million, which represented an increase of 9.4% over the previous 12 months.
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