More than three-quarters (76%) of private medical insurance (PMI) policies are provided through a workplace employee benefits package, a study has revealed.
Research by Broadstone showed that almost one in five (18%) workers now has PMI, and this number is expected to rise sharply as business look to support the health of their staff.
The consultancy firm’s analysis of data from the FCA’s Financial Lives Survey highlighted that a total of 6.9m people in the UK are covered by PMI policies and around a fifth of these workers are self-funding, according to these figures.
The total number of people covered by PMI has risen by 1m over the past five years that the FCA started collating this dataset.
The analysis by Broadstone showed that it is workers aged from 35 to 54 who are most likely to be covered by a PMI policy – with around 22% of this age group with medical cover.
In contrast around 20% of 25-34-year-olds have cover, but this number drops to 15% of those aged 55-63 and just 9% of those aged 65-74. Just 7% of people over this age have PMI cover.
These higher number among the middle aged are likely to reflect the fact a higher proportion of these age groups are in full-time work.
These figures are published as the Private Health Information Network (PHIN) published data showing that private health admissions surged in 2022 and recorded the largest ever quarterly total of admissions in Q1 2023 (227,000), largely driven by increases in insured treatments.
Broadstone’s head of health and protection Brett Hill said: “The FCA’s research shows the importance of PMI as an employee benefit with coverage concentrated among working adults.
“Given the crisis in the NHS and the surging levels of economic inactivity due to chronic illness, we expect growth in coverage of PMI to continue, and most likely accelerate, in its current upwards 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.”