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Health Insurance: Supporting sustainable healthcare

The central messages of our engagement with policymakers revolve around the following topics:

  • Prevention and wellbeing

    Everyone – individuals, employers, insurers and the state – benefits if people do not get ill. Insurers help people to better understand their health and how lifestyle choices may affect it. Insurers drive positive behavioural change that champions individual wellbeing and supports a healthier, happier and more engaged population.

    The rise of potentially preventable physical and mental health conditions has far-reaching individual, social and economic impacts. According to the Health Foundation, 40 per cent of the burden on health services in England may be avoidable if appropriate action is taken to tackle the causes of these conditions.

    Many illnesses can be prevented through proactive management of wellbeing, such as exercising regularly and adopting the right kind of diet. There is enormous potential for insurers to take a proactive role in the prevention of diseases by offering incentives for healthier lifestyles. These strategies are key to improving and promoting the health and wellbeing of the nation.

  • Tackling Britain’s productivity gap

    Insurers can provide a much-needed boost to productivity by keeping people healthier and, if they are absent due to illness, getting them back into work as early as possible. Wellbeing programmes can reduce sickness absence and presenteeism, and make a positive economic impact via increased staff retention and reduced healthcare spending.

    We believe that swift diagnosis and prompt treatment matter to patients who are feeling unwell. Getting people back to health quickly is at the heart of what insurers do. This is why health insurers provide fast-track appointment and self-referral services.

    For certain treatments, insurers recognise that a GP referral is not necessarily needed and allow customers to self-refer. Such treatments can include physiotherapy, counselling and cognitive behavioural therapy. Providing direct access to a physiotherapist or counsellor without having to see a doctor first can aid the recovery of those with relatively simple conditions and has a positive impact on those affected, their employers and the public sector.

    Insurers’ services provide easy access to clinical expertise and tailored treatment plans specific to each patient’s individual conditions. Through wellbeing strategies, preventative advice and quick treatment, employees can stay healthy for longer and get back to work sooner.

  • Investing in the future

    Insurers are investing in the skills that will be crucial to help Britain thrive in the 21st century. By investing in technology, health insurers support a competitive and sustainable economy and help to educate and train the workforce of the future.

    Technology also empowers consumers who have more choice, more opportunities to engage with their own health and are able to make a claim using faster and more intuitive methods.

    We are witnessing real improvements in the way in which people manage their own health. As technology improves and becomes more integrated into day-to-day activities, people are more likely to engage with their health and wellbeing though apps and wearable devices. This allows users to build a picture of their health status and get tailored advice from their insurer on how to maintain or improve it.

  • Supporting a sustainable healthcare system

    By encouraging healthy habits, providing people with the means to intervene at an early stage and enabling them to take care of their everyday health, we are reducing the financial burden on the state and supporting a sustainable healthcare system.

    Healthcare will continue to present some key challenges to future Governments. According to ONS figures, public sector healthcare expenditure increased from £44.1 billion in 1997 to £125.5 billion in 2013 and it is unlikely that this trend will reverse in the future. The costs of poor health will continue to increase as more people live with chronic conditions for longer and we discover new and more effective – but also more expensive – types of treatment.

    By complementing the services provided by the public sector where needed, desired, and in the interest of patients, insurers can play an important role in ensuring that the UK continues to enjoy the highest standards of healthcare in the 21st century. Insurers are committed to supporting the government, the NHS, employers, individuals and families.

    People who invest in health insurance take responsibility for their own health and wellbeing and help alleviate increasing pressures on the public sector. This is a good thing. Those who can afford to pay for private care not only take care of themselves but also support all those around them by freeing space for other patients in the NHS.

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