Last year the private medical insurance industry saved the National Health Service an estimated £2.4 billion, new figures have revealed.
In 2010, private health insurers paid out a total £2.8 billion in claims on diagnosis, treatment and aftercare. By our estimate 82% of these claims would otherwise have had to be funded by the NHS.
Furthermore, with the NHS expected to cut £20 billion from its budget in the next four years, the private medical sector could become an even greater financial resource in the future.
Dr Richard Theo of health insurance comparison site ActiveQuote.com commented that the findings demonstrated that the well being of the NHS and that of the PMI industry are not mutually exclusive.
If just 5% more people took out a health insurance policy over the next twelve months, the NHS could save an additional £2.5 billion on last year from its decreasing budget. This extra money could pay for over 2 million hip replacements or 25 million MRI scans.
One NHS sector likely to lose out in the reform is the nursing and midwifery division. The Scottish Government recently projected a 1.7% drop in nursing positions by the end of the financial year, putting nearly 1000 nurses out of work.
With nursing salaries starting at around £21,000, just 5% more people taking out a health insurance policy could pay the wages of over 118,000 NHS nurses.
The extra £2.5 billion could also be put towards the cost of cancer drugs which the NHS currently cannot afford.
More than 2,000 people die from malignant melanomas each year. Newly licensed drug Yervoy could dramatically increase their life expectancy. But at £75,000 per patient, it may be deemed too expensive for use on the NHS.
Just 5% more people taking out health insurance could save enough to treat 33,000 skin cancer sufferers.
Dr Richard Theo, managing director of ActiveQuote Health, said: “A lot of people are under the misapprehension that the NHS and the private medical insurance industry are working in competition with each other.
“On the contrary, the NHS and the PMI sector increasingly work hand in hand to serve the UK’s health needs. When choosing a health insurance policy you should make sure it complements the service you already receive from the NHS.”
ActiveQuote Health Ltd is a health insurance broker, fully authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority (FSA) number 501109 as a health insurance intermediary.
ActiveQuote offer free advice on private medical cover in the UK.
ActiveQuote Health Ltd
Mount Stuart Square
Tel: 0800 862 0373