Health insurance statistics

Is health insurance worth the expense?

We’ve looked into the latest health insurance statistics in the UK, such as how health insurance costs have increased over time, how they fare compared to the most popular insurances and why health insurance might be worth looking further into.

Health insurance statistics UK: Highlights

  • An estimated 22% of UK adults had health insurance at the end of 2022, around 11.7 million people. This is an 83% increase from 2021, when only around 6.4 million people (12%) had health insurance.
  • A typical health insurance premium for a family of 2 adults and 2 children is between £700 and £1,800 per year.
  • Nearly 3 in 5 (57%) people chose private healthcare so they could be seen more quickly.
  • Almost half (48%) of all people who chose private healthcare used it for non-emergency appointments.
  • Only 1 in 10 (10%) of those who use private healthcare do so for emergency appointments.
  • A quarter (25%) of people accessing private healthcare do so through a healthcare scheme at work.
  • Nearly a quarter (24%) of people paying for private healthcare dip into their savings to do so.
  • Nearly 1 in 10 (8%) of people who access private healthcare borrow money to cover the costs.

How many people have health insurance?

An estimated 11.7 million people (22%) have health insurance in the UK in 2022, an 83% increase from 2021, when only 6.4 million people (12%) had health insurance. This increase may be due to the strain on the NHS following the coronavirus pandemic.

A typical health insurance premium for a family of 2 adults and 2 children is between £700 and £1,800 per year.

Year People that have health insurance
2022 11,700,000
2021 6,900,000

Why do people choose private health care?

A 2023 poll of UK adults who chose private healthcare found that nearly 3 in 5 (57%) did this so they could be seen more quickly. A further 19% indicated that private healthcare provided a better service than the NHS. For around 1 in 10 people (11%), private healthcare was the only option available.

Reason to choose private health care Percentage of those that chose private healthcare
Don't know 2%
Change in personal financial circumstances 4%
Other 7%
It was the only option available 11%
Better service provided 19%
So I could be seen more quickly 57%

What do people use private healthcare for?

Nearly half (48%) of people who chose private healthcare used it for non-emergency appointments. Around 1 in 5 people (20%) use private healthcare for routine appointments, whilst 17% of people use private healthcare for a minor illness or injury.

Interestingly, only 1 in 10 (10%) of those who use private healthcare do so for emergency appointments.

What do people use private healthcare for Percentage of those that chose private healthcare
Don't know 3%
An emergency appointment 10%
Other 16%
A minor illness or injury 17%
A routine appointment 20%
Non-emergency appointment (e.g. operation, procedure, tests) 48%

How do people pay for private healthcare?

Around 29% of people pay for private healthcare using their disposable income, whilst almost a quarter (24%) use their savings. Meanwhile, a quarter (25%) of people accessing private healthcare do so through a healthcare scheme at work. Nearly 1 in 6 (14%) people pay for private health insurance for themselves.

Nearly 1 in 10 (8%) of people who access private healthcare borrow money to cover the costs, with some asking family or friends for money (6%), whilst others take out a loan (2%).

How did people pay for private health care Percentage of those that chose private health care
Using savings 24%
Disposable income 29%
Through a private healthcare scheme at work 25%
Borrowed money from friends/family/other people 6%
Took out a loan 2%
Through insurance you pay for yourself 14%
Some other way 7%
Don't know 2%
Prefer not to say 3%

The expense and waiting times for common medical treatments

We’ve ranked 6 medical treatments based on the cost of the treatment and the average waiting time for the treatment on the NHS. Both knee surgery and hip replacement surgery are good examples of when a person would save time and money by being covered by private health insurance.*

Treatment Cost of private treatment Average wait time on NHS
Knee replacement £11,814 13.5 weeks
Hip replacement £10,776 13.5 weeks
Cataract surgery £2,410 12.4 weeks
MRI scan £1,298 2.6 weeks
Skin lesion removal £940 6.5 weeks
CT scan £870 2.2 weeks

*These calculations are from data obtained in 2021.

Sources

YouGov
MoneyHelper
Statista

Click here for more research. For all media enquiries, please contact:

Matt Mckenna
UK communications manager
T: +44 20 8191 8806
matt.mckenna@finder.com@MichHutchison/in/matthewmckenna2

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