In a bid to skip waiting lists, even those who earn below average salaries are considering paying for their own healthcare according to a recent survey by Spire Healthcare. A quarter of adults who earn below average salaries said they would pay to go private, even though 87% said they did not have private medical insurance to cover the cost of treatment.
The survey showed that 58% of low earners said they would be willing to sacrifice their annual holiday in order to pay for necessary treatment or an operation. The survey of 2,000 people demonstrated that over half think it is becoming more popular for normal people to opt for private treatment because of the increasing waiting times at NHS hospitals. Four in ten of the adults said they felt that the NHS would not be able to look after them in the future.
Dr Jean-Jacques de Gorter at Spire Healthcare says, “In the past, private healthcare may have been seen as something that was only accessible by the wealthy but it is obvious that times have changed. Though everyone may be entitled to NHS treatment, our research indicates that many people are revisiting their priorities, despite the challenging economic environment. In the past year alone we have seen a noticeable increase in people paying for treatment themselves as a one off payment. Some of our hospitals have witnessed as much as a 29% increase year-on-year.”
The new challenge for health insurers is to justify buying insurance compared to just finding self-pay private treatment.