Private Health Insurance Market Grows by £385m in One Year

Private Health Insurance Market Grows by £385m in One Year
"Credit: The Guardian"

London (Parliament News) – UK’s private health insurance market surged by £385m in a year amid NHS strain, driving more to seek private care. Dental insurance demand rises. Insurers face premium hikes due to increased claims.

UK’s health cover market has expanded by £385m in a year as the NHS trouble provoked more people to pursue private medical treatment and the need for dental insurance increased, according to a report.

According to the Guardian, the total health cover market, including medical and dental insurance and cash programs, increased 6.1% to £6.7bn in 2022, the latest year for which figures are public, according to the health data provider LaingBuisson.

Approximately 4.2 million people were subscribed to medical cover plans. Including dependants on the procedures, 7.3 million people were covered – the most elevated number since 2008.

Since the market’s Covid-driven decline in 2020, when it dropped by 2.2%, it has grown considerably more rapidly than historical norms. The average annual increase was 6.1% between 2020 and 2022, corresponding with 1.7% between 2008 and 2019.

The NHS waiting list in England persisted to lengthen, to a peak of about 7.8m last September. In February, it was yet 7.5m and half of the patients had been lingering for 18 weeks or longer.

Private medical insurance, the biggest part of the health cover market, increased by 6% year on year in 2022 to £5.3bn, more than triple the average annual expansion rate of 1.8% between 2008 and 2019. After a decade of decrease until 2018, more people signed up, especially in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic which directed to a backlog of major operations such as hip and knee replacements.

Why are more people opting for private medical treatment despite high costs?

Increasing numbers of people are also paying out of their own pockets for medical treatment, despite the high expense of some procedures, such as knee operations which typically command between £12,000 and £15,000. Dental insurance and capitation programs (fixed monthly payments) have demonstrated the highest expansion of the market, up 9.7% year on year in 2022. However, most people who visit a dentist privately spend for treatment without any coverage.

The average health insurance compensation went up to £1,225 in 2022 from £1,203 in 2021, according to LaingBuisson. Premiums on work procedures went up to £975, while individual premiums increased to £2,252.

What are the main challenges facing insurers amid rising claims?

Insurers have lagged premium rises of more than 10%, with one putting them as high as 40% this year and maybe beyond. This reflects a ridge in claims and higher medical costs. Some people who could not get what would have been a more affordable treatment option during the pandemic are now mourning from more expensive conditions to treat, Read said.

The UK health insurance market is overwhelmed by Bupa, France’s Axa Health, Aviva and Vitality Health, which is possessed by South Africa’s Discovery. In dental insurance, the main actors are Bupa, Simply Health and Unum, after Cigna left the UK market.

Massimiliano  Verde

Massimiliano Verde is a journalist at Parliament News, He is covering Society and Culture News. Boasting a Master's Degree in Political Science, stands as a prominent figure in the Italian cultural landscape. His presidency of the Neapolitan Academy, a scientifically and sociolinguistically renowned group, attests to his relentless dedication to safeguarding and promoting Neapolitan language and culture. His activism and profound expertise have propelled him into the role of interlocutor for UNESCO as part of the International Decade of Indigenous Languages (2022-2032), a prestigious acknowledgment highlighting the significance of his efforts in preserving the linguistic and cultural diversity of our planet.

Verde's fervent passion for the history and culture of Southern Italy has driven him to immerse himself in research, resulting in numerous essays and articles that delve into the peculiarities and beauties of the region. His commitment extends beyond academia, manifesting in ongoing dissemination activities aimed at acquainting the general public with the rich cultural heritage of the South. His endeavors transcend national boundaries, as evidenced by his participation in international conferences and collaboration with various foreign institutions, rendering him an ambassador of Southern culture on the global stage and fostering intercultural dialogue and mutual understanding.