The Case For Private Medical Insurance
Posted on 3rd January 2023
What role will private medical insurance (PMI) play in meeting the country’s future healthcare needs?
The Vida Insurance team has taken a look at the current challenges and the possible solutions.
How PMI can complement the NHS
With the NHS facing pressures on staffing, resources and funding, options to complement the services provided are urgently needed. Specifically, private medical insurance as an employee benefit can help to reduce sickness absence and improve staff wellbeing. With over 7million people waiting to start NHS treatment in England it could also help people to return to work more quickly when they have been unwell.
Already, around 10% of people in the UK have PMI, either personally or as an employee benefit. They are reassured by prompt access to advice and treatment when they need it.
A study commissioned by AXA Health UK estimates that private health cover could reduce sickness benefits claims by £7.2million per year. Employees can prevent conditions worsening or recover more quickly, improving their quality of life and increasing productivity by more than £32million per year.
Meeting the country’s healthcare needs
The pandemic accelerated an existing trend already well underway due to the austerity of the late 2000s that was limiting access to NHS services and affecting outcomes.
Mental health waiting times are increasing with reports showing a 74% increase in referrals to mental health crisis services since the pandemic. Less than half of people diagnosed with dementia received a suitable care plan or review in 2021, compared with 70% during 2018 and 2019. Analysis shows a decline of up to 30% in outpatient appointments, which will affect diagnosis and treatment for people with chronic conditions. There are also concerning falls in the number of cancer referrals and chemotherapy treatments and more people are struggling to speak with a GP.
As the situation continues, more people are complementing their access to public health services and care with private medical insurance, overseas treatment or privately funded care.
PMI as part of the bigger picture
As a G7 nation the UK is showing the fastest rise in healthcare expenditure through direct private payments or insurance during the last 20 years. Figures also indicate that returning to 2019 funding levels for the country’s NHS services will not be enough to provide a quality service in the future.
Even before the pandemic, capacity was constrained by reduced funding, unsuccessful reforms and misplaced priorities. Planned improvements in the standard of public health aren’t being realised.
Along with a strategy to improve healthcare efficiency through digitisation, new ways of working are needed to address stresses in our health services. For employers to build and retain a healthy and productive workforce with resilience for future growth, collaboration with the government is needed, complemented by private medical insurance as an employee benefit. Together it will then be possible to create the infrastructure and capacity to support the country’s economic growth. The priority must be a focus on sustainable healthcare for everyone.
An increased focus on prevention rather than treatment will also help to reduce the need to support people with longer-term chronic conditions, alongside promotion of more local community health initiatives and personal responsibility for healthy lifestyle choices.
Please get in touch for an initial discussion about private medical insurance for your business.
Vida Insurance Advisors is a trading style of N and J Health & Protection Ltd, an Appointed Representative of The Right Mortgage Ltd, which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Registered in England and Wales no. 12657007. Registered Address: 23 Russell Avenue, Bedford, Bedfordshire, United Kingdom, MK40 3TD.
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