Modern budget formats are making PMI more affordable and businesses are increasingly offering it to younger employees, says WPA
PMI is sometimes seen as a luxury item for wealthy older people, extending choice beyond the NHS and providing patients with more control of their care, waiting times and privacy. However, this myth has become decidedly dated, as the NHS has come under increasing strain and insurers have developed more innovative and affordable solutions for customers.
Headline average PMI premiums are certainly not insignificant - the LaingBuisson Health Cover Market Report 2020 put them in the region of £2,011 a year. But, in fact, many modern budget formats allow customers to pay much less through innovations such as Shared Responsibility.
Annual premiums could be anywhere between £350 and £1,500 depending upon type of cover you're after - a basic or comprehensive plan, your age, where you live and what hospitals you'd like to use.
The ability of PMI, aided by new technology, to now go well beyond taking care of people when they are sick and to allow them to better control long-term health and to have access to services for minor illnesses, mental wellbeing and other benefits has also greatly broadened its appeal. Additionally, the fact that nowadays you may not even need to speak to someone to start a claim has certainly cut through barriers.
Liam McClelland, business development manager, mid and large corporates at WPA, says: "WPA is engaging with customers via their phones in their pockets. Even young individuals who are fit and healthy, in their prime and overly optimistic about their health, are realising that health cover is a worthwhile investment."
The workplace boom
A trend for employers to offer PMI to their workforces has also significantly boosted the numbers of younger people with cover, regardless of income.
Companies of all sizes are increasingly appreciating that its ability to slash absenteeism and presenteeism costs means it has major benefits for the employer as well as the employee.
PMI enables employees to choose to have consultations and operations at times that fit in with their own and their colleagues' workloads and offers them access to a range of wellness benefits that can boost productivity by helping them stay fit and healthy over the longer term.
Edward Watling, senior employee benefits consultant at Mattioli Woods, says "PMI has rarely been something an individual under the age of 25 or so would have invested in themselves but, from an employer's perspective, it is beneficial to offer it to all employees, regardless of age, sex, and wealth."
In particular, businesses are looking at how services can be tailored to different employees and the challenges they may face at different life stages.
McClelland says: "There's a definite need to provide support based on where you are in your life and the path you're on. In fact, younger generations may need more support in their 20s.
"The younger generations appear to be more mindful of their wider health and wellbeing than perhaps the generations before them, meaning a benefit solution should be adapted to support the specific needs of each employer's workforce."
This myth-busting article is one of a series of 10 addressing common myths around PMI. Access the full list
This article was funded by WPA