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Private medical insurance is evolving in response to changing healthcare needs and providers like Vitality are responding with new solutions and approaches. There is strong evidence that lifestyle choices and behaviour are linked with healthcare costs. That’s why a ‘shared value’ insurance model is growing in popularity. 
The Vida Insurance team looked at what this means in practice. 
What is the shared value insurance model? 
The NHS has reported an increasing number of people on waiting lists for consultant-led elective care. In June 2022 the were over 6.7million people waiting for treatment with more than 2.5million waiting for over 18 weeks. Concern has already been raised about a ‘hidden’ backlog of people who need care but have not yet been recorded. Since the pandemic fewer people have been referred for treatment such as hip, knee and cataract surgery. 
By taking responsibility for our health and lifestyle choices, supported by our medical insurers, we can stay healthier and access medical advice and care when we need it. Quality of life can be improved and early interventions can prevent conditions getting worse while we wait for treatment, so society as a whole will benefit. 
Increased use of telemedicine 
The pandemic accelerated the adoption of telemedicine around the world at a time when many of us were unable to visit our doctors in their surgeries or attend outpatient appointments. Users have found the experience fast and convenient and the change appears to be here to stay. 
Combined with healthier lifestyle choices, earlier access to digital consultations means that serious conditions can be diagnosed and treated sooner and outcomes can be improved. This reduces long-term care costs and speeds up recovery. 
Prevention is better than claim 
In the past health insurers would focus on access to treatment but modern technology adds new options. People are now being encouraged to change their behaviour which will improve their health and wellbeing and reduce the need to make health-related insurance claims. 
VitalityHealth analysed claims between 2017 and 2021 and found significantly lower healthcare costs for its most engaged customers. These members were taking advantage of offers and support for more active lives and other health-related benefits. Cost reductions applied across all major claim categories, including musculoskeletal, oncology and cardiovascular conditions. 
However, the types of activities people favour has changed. Cardio workouts now account for more of the recorded activities, with an almost 50% increase compared with 2019. Outdoor activities are more popular too. 
Cancer care is changing 
Demand for cancer diagnosis and treatment continues to increase. Advanced treatments including biological, hormone, and protective (bisphosphonate) therapies are now available alongside traditional treatments such as surgery, chemotherapy, and radiotherapy to help improve outcomes. More people are also choosing to receive their cancer treatments at home delivered by specialist multi-disciplinary teams. 
Meeting mental health care needs 
There was a record number of mental health referrals in 2021, with the Royal College of Psychiatrists reporting 4.3million referrals to specialist mental health services. Conditions include addiction, anxiety, depression, eating disorders and post-traumatic stress disorder. 
Vitality figures show that increased access to talking therapies appears to help prevent the need for more intensive treatment or hospitalisation. Based on the experiences of over 1,500 members between 2019 and 2021 just 1.2% needed further treatment within three months. 
Meeting physiotherapy needs 
One study showed that as many as eight out of 10 employees started experiencing neck, shoulder and back pain after working from home during the pandemic. In part, the resulting increased demand for treatment is being met with online physiotherapy solutions which are now offered by many insurers. Early intervention can improve recovery times and help to prevent conditions worsening. 
Guided care plans 
Guided care or directional care plans are becoming increasingly popular and will suit people who are happy to be guided to a shortlist of consultants for their health needs by their insurer. It’s estimated that these types of care plan already exceed traditional hospital list private medical insurance (PMI) plans. Focussed on high quality and transparent data, patients can choose from a premium list of consultants. They can select someone they feel will best suit their needs and make their booking digitally. 
Find out more 
There is a wide range of options available to meet the needs of employers, individuals and families in this changing healthcare environment. Vida Insurance offers whole of market advice based on your situation and requirements. 
Please get in touch for a no-obligation discussion about your healthcare needs. 
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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