New data analysis from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) reveals a significant surge in the adoption of Private Medical Insurance (PMI) in the United Kingdom, with 6.9 million adults now enrolled.
This trend, which saw one million holders gained in the past five years, is expected to gain momentum as businesses increasingly prioritise the health and well-being of their employees.
Conducted by Broadstone, an independent consultancy, the analysis of FCA's Financial Lives Survey data underscores that 13% of UK adults currently possess PMI.
The report also revealed that three-quarters (76%) of PMI holders acquire their coverage as part of their employee benefits package, with approximately one-fifth (19%) opting for self-funding. Notably, the age groups most actively engaging with PMI are individuals aged between 35-44 and 45-54, with each group boasting a 22% participation rate.
The growing trend in PMI adoption is expected to persist and potentially accelerate. This is primarily attributed to the surge in economic inactivity due to chronic illnesses, particularly amidst the challenges faced by the National Health Service (NHS), which has led to difficulties in accessing healthcare promptly.
According to the most recent update from the Private Health Information Network (PHIN), private health admissions have experienced a substantial upswing in 2022. Notably, the first quarter of 2023 recorded an all-time high in quarterly admissions, totalling 227,000, largely driven by the increasing demand for insured treatments.
“The FCA’s research paints a helpful portrait of the PMI sector and shows its importance as an employee benefit with coverage concentrated among working adults,” Broadstone head of health and protection Brett Hill said.
Given the ongoing crisis in the NHS and the escalating levels of economic inactivity due to chronic illnesses, Hill said that the growth in PMI coverage will persist and likely accelerate along its current upward trajectory.
“The conversations we are having on a daily basis with clients demonstrate how healthcare is now a board-level discussion, with CEOs recognising how crucial it is that they act to keep their staff healthy if the public health service can no longer guarantee to do so,” Hill said.
Elsewhere for the FCA, the UK regulator recently imposed a fine of £11,164,400 on Equifax for a critical failure in managing and overseeing the security of UK consumer data outsourced to its US-based parent company.
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