Extremely popular and almost essential in the States, private medical insurance slowly becoming de rigeur in the UK. All patients are expected to pay for their own treatment when they fall ill. However, for many years private medical Insurance was not considered a requirement in this country because of the relative strengths of the National Health Service.
The rise of private Medical Insurance has been meteoric over the past few years, although there are signs of a slow down in the market currently. The reason for the increased demand is due, in main, to a lack of public trust in the NHS. After prolonged publicity regarding trained staff shortages, poor performing hospitals and extended waiting lists, the demand for health cover rose significantly. The policy is designed to help people contribute towards the cost of private health cover for curable, short-term diseases. The policyholder will be reassured by knowing they will be receiving prompt treatment by a top consultant in a private hospital. The peace of mind this brings makes this type of cover extremely appealing to people of all ages.
Companies and businesses have taken to providing this type of health cover as a perk for their employees. One of the reasons given for the downward trend in sales of this kind of cover is because more and more businesses are offering it as a salaried benefit. Although people with salaries in excess of ?8,500 must be aware that this perk can be a tax liability. It would have to be included on tax form P11D as a taxable benefit in kind.
This type of cover has become more and more expensive over the years, particularly as people get older, the likelihood of falling ill increases and so the premiums become difficult to budget for. An increasing number of doctors now perform private work, becuase of the popularity of this kind of cover. Although there is an ethical argument as to whether those with more disposable income should jump ahead of another person in the treatment queue solely due to financial reasons.