Has COVID-19 cause an increase in demand for Private Medical Insurance (PMI)?

by Rosie Reynolds

Has COVID-19 caused an increase in demand for Private Medical Insurance (PMI)?

Since the beginning of the Coronavirus pandemic, the number of people purchasing private healthcare insurance in the UK has doubled for the first time ever. 

According to the price comparison website ActiveQuote.com, sales of private medical insurance (PMI) have, on average, increased by 100% between November and January 2020/21. This is when compared to sales between March and May of 2020. 

The increased interest in private healthcare has continued far into 2021 as well, with a 32% month-on-month increase in first-time PMI buyers. 

Where has this rise in interest in private medical insurance come from? 

Private medical insurance and the private healthcare industry have often been viewed by many brits as only attainable by those with enough money to be able to afford it. 

Over 70% of British people without private medical insurance don’t have a policy because they assume it would be too expensive. 37% haven’t even looked at the costs involved because of that assumption! *Figures based upon the results of an ActiveQuote survey of 2,000 adults from across the UK in 2018. 

According to the research, it was suggested that UK consumers assumed that the price for family health insurance was almost double the actual cost. 

That’s a vast majority that didn’t have access to private healthcare merely because they thought it was out of their price range.  

Then the Coronavirus came along. 

The COVID-19 pandemic affected everyone. Not least of all, it caused unprecedented strain on the NHS, creating a backlog of procedures and increased waiting times on a scale not experienced in recent times. 

It also made everyone more consciously aware of their own health and the need to look after it. 

With NHS waiting times consistently being projected to rise throughout, and even since, the pandemic, many people have become concerned and taken the time to investigate the cost of private healthcare and private medical insurance for themselves and their families.  

According to GlobalData’s 2019 UK Insurance Consumer Survey, 29% of private health insurance customers decided to purchase their private medical insurance policy because of their concerns around NHS waiting times. This was an increase of 15% when compared to their 2018 survey. And these figures were taken before the havoc caused to our health service by the global pandemic. 

The fact that private medical insurance purchases have doubled since COVID-19 came along, shows that not only are people concerned about the NHS waiting times and how long it may take them to receive treatment should they need to rely solely on the NHS, but that consumers are also realising the value that PMI provides as well as how accessible and affordable it is. 

What does this mean for consumers and the private healthcare industry moving forward? 

As people become more aware of the need for fast access to good quality healthcare, as well as the affordability of many private healthcare schemes and packages available, we should see the upward trend in the number of individuals with private medical insurance policies continue. 

According to finder.com, over half (53%) of the UK population have said they would consider paying for private healthcare treatment, yet at the time of their research only 13% of UK consumers have claimed to be a part of a private medical insurance scheme. 

We can expect the latter figure to increase as more and more individuals consider private healthcare schemes for them and their families as well as more employers choosing to provide employee healthcare benefits by way of a private healthcare scheme for businesses. 

With average waiting times within the NHS increasing to months rather than weeks due to COVID-19, private healthcare institutions offering substantially more comfort than many NHS hospitals as well as vastly reduced waiting times, and with more businesses realising the recruitment, retention, productivity, and cost saving benefits that employee healthcare schemes can provide, private medical insurance looks set to increase in popularity over the next few years. 

If you’re interested in learning more about WPA’s award-winning private healthcare schemes, for yourself, your family, or your business, get in touch with Slimbridge Health today! 

Blog index

Filed as

Personal Business

Tagged with

PMI Private Medical Insurance COVID-19 Coronavirus private healthcare

Recent Articles