Can health insurance be affordable and offer value?

Can health insurance be affordable and offer value?
Can health insurance be affordable and offer value?

Karen Woodley


Head of Healthcare Distribution Sales

We surveyed 2,000 working adults in the UK on their health and financial fears over the last 12 months and found the top health concerns stem from news about NHS waiting times for treatment and delays in speaking to a GP.

With continued rises in the cost of living, affordability remains at the forefront of consumer’s minds, even with increased usage of health insurance.

Concerns of UK workers

When asked what they were worried about, the top health and wellbeing concerns were increasing NHS waiting times (39%), getting through to a GP by phone (37%), seeing a GP same day or face-to-face (37%), and availability of non-urgent treatment from the NHS (33%).

Rise in health insurance use

74% of respondents have had trouble accessing NHS treatment or experienced delays in getting a GP appointment, however when we asked how long people are willing to wait to receive non-urgent treatment from an NHS hospital, 54% said they wouldn’t wait more than three months.

Given these worries, it’s no surprise that usage of health insurance has risen, with 64% reporting they’ve used some form of health insurance in the last 12 months, up from 53% in 2022. But only 14% of those we surveyed currently have, or are applying for, health insurance not through their employer.

Changes in spending

During the cost of living crisis many people are making changes to how they spend their money. In fact 87% of those we surveyed have changed their spending habits in the last year. But as mentioned above, there’s been a rise in the use of health insurance during this period, so it appears many are seeing the value in this type of cover, with 21% listing being unable to afford health insurance as one of their financial concerns.

When we look at the ways people change their spending, 37% are saving less each month than they were previously with 14% not contributing anything to their savings. However, of those that have used health insurance in the last year, 34% stated they used their savings to pay for the services themselves and 10% have taken out a loan or borrowed money to cover the cost.

Only 7% have cancelled any type of insurance policy, but the top reason for cancelling was unsurprisingly affordability at 26% and unsurprising again, 40% feel that affordability is the most valuable selling point of a policy.

Affordability versus value

While consumers tend to overestimate the cost of life and income protection policies, 70% have underestimated the cost of health insurance. In our research, respondents estimated the average cost of health insurance to be £43.30, when the actual average cost was around £851.

But what about the value that you get with your policy? There’s more to health insurance than the cost of the policy. Other than easing worries about seeing a GP or specialist, there are many options available that offer your clients additional support. Nearly half of our respondents (40%) weren’t aware of any additional benefits that are included in their insurance policies, like access to a member app with additional services like remote GP appointments, mental health support and physiotherapy.

This is why advice is so important and it’s why we offer choices when it comes to our health insurance. Policies can be tailored for each client and made more affordable through our guided cover, based on your client’s needs and budget. Try our comparison calculator to see how our options work for your clients.

Find out more

Want to find out more about the health and financial fears of UK workers? Read our latest research and get 30 minutes of CPD.

1. Nimble Fins www.nimblefins.co.uk/health-insurance/cost