Self-funded private hospital admissions spike in 2023

According to the latest data from the Private Healthcare Information Network (PHIN), there were 898k admissions to UK private hospitals in 2023 – this is 7% higher than in 2022.

Related topics:  healthcare,  Employee Benefits
Tabitha Lambie | Editor, Protection Reporter
4th June 2024
Self-funded private hospital admissions spike in 2023
"PMI allows you to take charge of your health, offering flexibility in selecting care providers, avoiding lengthy NHS wait times, and accessing treatments not readily available through public healthcare."
- Kyle Godden, Managing Director at Clarity Health Insurance

Admissions funded by Private Medical Insurance (PMI) were at record levels (612k), going above pre-Pandemic figures for the first time. Notably, in the final three months of 2023, 161k private hospital admissions were funded by PMI policies.

Insured admissions were 7% higher in 2023 compared to 2019, and 11% higher than in 2022.

Self-funded admissions also peaked in 2023, especially in the first three months with 73k admissions. Throughout the year, self -funded admissions were at least 39% higher than pre-Pandemic levels.

“The crisis in the UK’s public healthcare system drove surging private admissions in 2023 in yet another indicator of the parlous state of our NHS. Self-funded admissions hit a record year despite the Cost-of-Living Crisis, demonstrating the value patients are placing on their health & wellbeing in difficult economic times,” said Brett Hill, Head of Health & Protection at Broadstone.

He said: “Employers continue to expand coverage of workplace health insurance solutions amongst employees to stem record economic inactivity due to chronic illness, and these figures reveal the extent to which employees are increasingly making use of their healthcare benefits to access care than would previously have been provided by the NHS.”

Brett believes that demand from businesses for private healthcare services will continue to grow, regardless of the outcome of the upcoming election, “as we see little hope of meaningful improvements to NHS waiting lists in the near future.”

“Healthcare will be a key election battleground, and it’s to be hoped that any incoming government will recognise the significant role the private sector can play in maintaining the health of the UK workforce and reducing pressure on the NHS,” he added.

Kyle Godden, Managing Director at Clarity Health Insurance, agreed that PMI has begun to “shed its reputation as a luxury exclusive to just the wealthy and is now more widely regarded as an essential protection product for people from all walks of life.”

However, he highlighted that the industry is seeing a “trend of customers with pre-existing conditions enquiring ‘after the fact’ and being told that these health conditions cannot be covered. Navigating the diverse array of insurance options can be complex, so seeking guidance from an independent specialist adviser is crucial, knowing they’re working in your best interests without additional cost.”

“PMI allows you to take charge of your health, offering flexibility in selecting care providers, avoiding lengthy NHS wait times, and accessing treatments not readily available through public healthcare. With affordable monthly premiums, PMI shields against exorbitant out-of-pocket expenses, ensuring financial security and peace of mind,” he concluded.

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