Five Reasons more people in the UK are purchasing Health Insurance


An estimated 11.7 million people in the UK had health insurance in 2022, totaling to around 22% of the UK population. This was an 83% increase from 2021. Why are more people in the UK turning to health insurance and going private for their healthcare?

We’ll take a look into the top five reasons private health insurance in the UK is growing, as well as what to expect from a health insurance policy and how to get started in finding the right one for you.


Increased NHS waiting times

It's common knowledge in the UK that the NHS is under pressure and this is one of the main reasons more people are deciding to take out health insurance or self-paying for private healthcare. Statistics from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) released earlier this year (2024) revealed 1.4 million people wait longer than a year for an appointment and one in five people in England are stuck on a waiting list. The reveal of these statistics highlighted that the waiting times are 50% longer than initially thought. Long waiting times can have a knock on effect on our health when suffering with injuries or illnesses; injuries can worsen, diseases can progress, and the emotional stress can impact quality of life. Learn more about waiting times and their effects in our blog.



More affordable and accessible than expected

Of course, taking out private medical insurance that meets our needs and requirements is going to come at a cost. But more people are realising it is much more affordable than they believed. Policies can vary hugely, to cater to a variety of needs and budgets. Because of this, it can be complex to identify the best policy to suit you, it can be overwhelming and confusing to know where to start when looking for PMI. However - as many are now discovering - using an expert adviser such as Usay Compare, is a must, and makes the process simple. Many different types of policies and cover are available, as well as many different insurers. Our expert advisers use our bespoke comparison technology and their exceptional knowledge and experience to compare the UK's leading insurance policies, asses all of the options available to you, and recommend the policy they think would best suit you. This is a completely free service with no pressure to take out a policy or sign up there and then.

PMI is also becoming more accessible through workplace health insurance schemes. The Association of British Insurers (ABI) found that 86% of people who were absent from work due to illness or injury, were successfully supported to stay in their employment using services provided by their insurer.

Additional research by ABI also confirmed that health insurance is a key driver for over half (57%) of people when choosing a job, and seven out of ten (69%) people would consider taking out health insurance if their employer offered it to them. 

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Health insurers often provide additional benefits

There are also many benefits that come with a health insurance policy. These are different for different providers but most providers do offer: a Digital GP with 24/7 access to telephone and video support, mental health and well-being support, gym membership discounts, monthly rewards, lifestyle and nutrition consultations and fitness products discount.

These additional benefits can be a contributing factor to taking out private health insurance and help to create or maintain a healthy lifestyle.


Some of the benefits from insurers include:

Vitality: Online consultations with UK-registered GPs within 48 hours with the Vitality GP app, Healthy Living Discount and Rewards to encourage you to stay active and healthy, childbirth cash benefit and 50% gym discount with Nuffield, Virgin Active and PureGym.

Axa: Access to the latest licensed approved cancer drugs even if they're not available on the NHS, 24/7 access to Doctor@Hand Digital GP from home or abroad, free new-born cover and a directory of over 250 hospitals.

Bupa:  24/7 Digital GP - Bupa Blua, 24/7 health advice, 20% off FitBit products, Bupa dental treatments discount and fast track service for advice and treatment for cancer, musculoskeletal and mental health symptoms. 

Aviva: Digital GP appointments in as little as 30 minutes, 24/7 stress counselling helpline, savings on gym services and discounted lifestyle products and access to an online health programme.

The Exeter: Digital GP access to unlimited online GP consultations, lifestyle and nutrition consultations, mental health therapy and physiotherapy.


Peace of mind

Another key and rather simple reason for purchasing health insurance in the UK is the peace of mind it can offer. With NHS waiting lists growing, we never know when we will become ill or injured and need to call on healthcare services. Having PMI is a great way to ensure you’re prepared for illnesses or injuries and ultimately reduce costs. In the unfortunate situation where the need for healthcare was affecting your life and waiting for an NHS appointment wasn't an option, without health insurance, going to a private healthcare facility would be costly. Having health insurance allows you to be prepared for anything coming your way. A new YouGov survey revealed that one in eight Britons (13%) used private healthcare for themselves or a member of their immediate household in the last year. The survey also found that 27% of people considered doing so, but decided against it on financial or other grounds. Being prepared with health insurance can make a big difference. 

Increased understanding of the importance of our health

In recent years, there has been more focus on our health and well-being and the importance of putting it first. The percentage of patients in England reporting a positive experience with GP practices fell from 83% in 2021, to 72% in 2022. The data comes from a report from the ONS, which also showed the level of satisfaction had previously remained stable between 82% and 84% between 2018 and 2021. People want to prioritise their health and if they're unsatisfied with GP services, private healthcare becomes appealing.

Furthermore, private healthcare often provides a wider choice of treatments and medications, including some that may not be available or have restricted availability on the NHS. However, do note that access to new and emerging treatments isn't always a guarantee and the availability of these medications will depend on on your chosen provider, your plan and the condition you are dealing with. 

Private healthcare providers have been known to offer new and emerging treatments for cancer that aren’t yet widely available on the NHS.

People paying for their own treatment rather than using insurance, were also at their highest ever level in 2023, highlighting the desperation for private healthcare when illnesses or injuries occur unexpectedly. It's key to be prepared, and health insurance is a great way to reduce costs and avoid a financial burden from private healthcare bills.


How to find the right policy for you

Finding the right policy for you can often be overwhelming when there are many insurers and options. Our three step process helps our customers to find the right policy. Our video below explains the full process.



There are many choices to make when considering insurers and you may not save money or find the right policy if you don't compare options using a comparison service. Everyone has different needs and requirements, that makes it more important to prioritise getting the right health or life insurance.

Having advice can help you to fully understand the policies available to you and also provide recommendations. Understanding your policy before making a claim is vital to avoid confusion if the time comes to use it. You can have complete peace of mind knowing that you are protecting what is important to you.

There are lots of different things you can consider when choosing a health insurance policy for you, take a look at our blog here.

What to expect from a health insurance policy?

There are many fantastic benefits you’ll gain from having a health insurance policy, which typically include:

  • In-patient, out-patient and day-patient cover
  • Cancer cover
  • Digital GPs and Health Support

Other additional benefits can include:

  • Travel cover
  • Dental cover
  • Optical Cover
  • Mental Health Cover
  • Therapies

Other benefits are: having peace of mind and avoiding unexpected large private healthcare bills and a choice of hospital, allowing you to feel as comfortable as possible. 

Whenever you’re ready to find your policy, our advisers will be ready to support you. You can fill out a quote and await a call from our team or get started now and give us a call on: 01285 864670

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