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1.3 million people relying on workplace schemes to access insured healthcare services

by | May 7, 2024

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This morning’s report from the ABI – Growing Demand: increased use of health and protection services – for the first time shows how many people use insurance provided by their employer to access health services. 

The data shows that, of the 1.8 million people who accessed healthcare through either health or protection insurance in 2022, 1.3 million (75%) relied on workplace provided schemes to do so at a time where record long-term illness levels are buffeting businesses.

This is reflected in the use of virtual GPs, with almost 600,000 (87%) of the 700,000 people who used virtual GPs in 2022, using their employer’s scheme. The number of virtual GP appointments people are making has also grown exponentially, with 1.4 million appointments across the year, a 92% increase on 2021 and nine times more than 2019.

 
 

Insurers arranged 1.2 million mental health counselling and therapy appointments in 2022. 94% of these were accessed through a workplace scheme, with 192,000 of the 200,000 people who used the services using workplace insurance.

Brett Hill, Head of Health and Protection at leading independent consultancy Broadstone, commented: “Employers are playing an increasingly important role in the health of the nation at a time when economic inactivity because of chronic illness is surging.

“Demand for healthcare support like PMI and virtual GP services is growing rapidly and this data from the ABI demonstrates that three-quarters of those accessing private healthcare services via insurance products are doing so through employer funded health and protection benefits.

 

“With employers no longer able to rely on the NHS to maintain the health of the UK’s workforce, it is clear that businesses will need to continue investing in healthcare benefits and support services if they want to protect and improve the wellbeing and productivity of their employees. 

“We support the ABI’s calls for government action to remove tax disincentives and to encourage employers to step into the breach and expand the breadth and depth of services they can offer employees during this public health crisis.”

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