Private medical insurance will see increased demand following COVID-19, says GlobalData

COVID-19 has put the NHS under tremendous strain, which has created a backlog of cases that will see demand for private medical insurance increase as social distancing measures ease, according to GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

GlobalData’s 2019 UK Insurance Consumer Survey indicates that 29% of private health insurance customers purchased a policy due to concerns regarding NHS waiting times, an increase of 15 percentage points when compared to 2018. Research by the NHS Confederation has projected that the NHS waiting list is expected to rise from its current level of 4.2 million to ten million by Christmas 2020. Such an increase is likely to result in a surge in demand for private health insurance in the UK.

Daniel Pearce, Senior Insurance Analyst at GlobalData,  commented: “Before COVID-19, growing concerns about NHS waiting times had clearly played a considerable role in driving people to purchase private medical insurance policies. Yet, the increased strain that the pandemic has placed on the NHS has the potential to increase the uptake of private medical insurance policies further, particularly given the intensified mainstream media attention on delays to treatment.”

However, the increased interest in policies will not convert fully into sales of policies due to the current economic climate in the UK. With employment security being a growing concern for many, adding a new expense will not be an easy choice to make, particularly as GlobalData’s survey indicates the average monthly cost of a single private medical insurance policy to be £49.26.

Pearce continues: “In the longer term, the private medical insurance market should expect to experience an increase in demand, as the time taken for the NHS to become fully operational again and begin working on delayed cases could outweigh the economic uncertainty faced by households.”

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