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IHC Update: The rising cost of health cover

Last month, The Times reported on the rising costs of medical insurance and the disparity in these costs around the UK.

According to analysis carried out for The Times by broker, Regency Health, Londoners are typically charged almost twice as much as people in Newcastle for exactly the same healthcare policy. For example, a 50 year old non-smoker living in London would pay £128 a month, on average, based on quotes from the six biggest health insurers, while someone in Newcastle would pay £69.

The report shows that insurance is also cheaper for those living in Scotland and Northern Ireland and of the 20 towns and cities included in the research, Winchester (£99) and Tunbridge Wells (£98) are the most expensive after London.

Regency Health explains that while the price differences are due to the varying cost of treatment across the country, some insurers do use postcode data to determine claims patterns.

In the article, James Walker, founder of the complaints service, Resolver, agrees: “Private medical insurance can be incredibly expensive, so it seems deeply unfair that bills can be twice as high for Londoners.” The result is that thousands of people have cancelled their health insurance with the number of privately paid policies is now at the lowest point since records began in 1995.

IHC’s Salim Gani stated – “For many people, if they can afford it and can find cover at a reasonable price, health insurance makes sense. It’s about having piece of mind that should you need surgery or medical treatment, that you can get this done quickly and minimise the time needed away from work rather than face a potentially long wait via the NHS which could impact both your professional and personal life significantly. But rising premiums as a result of expensive drug treatments, premiums based on postcode, existing medical conditions and a lack of competition in the sector, mean that getting the right cover at the right price is getting increasingly difficult for people,”

“The situation isn’t helped by the lack of data available and a lack of transparency in this area,” explains Salim. The Association of British Insurers does not publish any data on medical health cover, unlike most other types of insurance.

“Health insurance is also complicated and difficult to navigate, particular for members with pre-existing medical conditions or recent claims history they are unable to switch despite being dissatisfied with the rising premiums,” said Salim.

If you are struggling to get the right cover for your group leavers or would like ensure Insurers offer continuous terms without further underwriting, talk to your IHC consultant on 0207 4270655.

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