44% of consumers without health insurance use savings to pay for treatment

44% of consumers without health insurance use savings to pay for treatment
44% of consumers without health insurance use savings to pay for treatment

Karen Woodley


Head of Healthcare Distrubution

It’s widely publicised that NHS waiting lists continue to rise. The latest figures show that over seven million people in England are waiting for treatment, and 6% have been waiting for over a year1.

This has been one of the reasons for an increase in uptake of health insurance, but what about those people who don’t have health insurance?

Our latest research, ‘Challenging Times. The health and financial fears of UK workers’, in which we surveyed 4,000 adults, found that 44% of those without health insurance who accessed private services used their savings to pay.

This is particularly concerning, given that 15% took out a loan or borrowed money from family to cover the cost and worryingly, one in ten are yet to pay the bill for treatment.

These figures highlight the financial burden that paying for private healthcare can have on those without health insurance. A burden which could be worse at a time when many people are reducing their expenditure.

Changing spending habits

Our research also found that 81% of people have changed their spending habits in recent months because of the increased cost of living, and a small number of consumers are cancelling insurance products to free up extra money.

The importance of health insurance and the peace of mind it can offer individuals and their families should not be underestimated, even at a time when disposable incomes are tightening.

Helping clients understand the alternatives

Cancelling insurance and depending on the NHS for care.

The NHS is an enduring institution and fulfils a need that private medical care is not aiming to compete with, only to support. In a time of rising NHS waiting lists, clients should think carefully about whether they can afford to go without cover. It’s not just about the speed of accessing care but also having greater choice.

If a client is considering cancelling their cover with a view to taking out insurance again in the future, they risk a moratorium period when they take out a new policy. This means they could face a higher premium for a lower level of cover than they enjoy now.

Putting money aside for self-pay in the future

The cost of a significant operation or treatment is beyond the reach of many people without them having to borrow money or rely heavily on savings.

Choosing to risk a significant lump sum payment for treatment could be more of a financial risk than managing a monthly fee. As prices rise, increasing numbers of people may already be forced to dip into savings to maintain their standard of living.

At times of economic pressure, people need more of a safety net, not less. With 44% of people already using savings to pay for treatment, advice has never been more important.

You matter more

If you have clients who wish to prioritise affordability over the choice offered by a hospital list, Health+ now offers a guided option. Instead of choosing from a hospital list when your client needs to claim, we will recommend a shortlist of suitable specialists for your client.

Health+ offers a range of policy choices so you can build the right cover at the right premium for your clients. We've created a premium comparison calculator to help you demonstrate how the choices available within Health+ can affect premiums. Simply enter your clients’ postcode, age, and excess for an instant premium comparison. You can use this to highlight to your clients how the premium will change depending on policy choices, level of excess and whether they opt for a guided option or a hospital list.

To find out more about our Health+ guided option and the increased flexibility it can offer your clients, why not book an online product overview with one of our team.


[1] https://www.bma.org.uk/advice-and-support/nhs-delivery-and-workforce/pressures/nhs-backlog-data-analysis