Health Cover UK Market Report


LaingBuisson’s comprehensive study into the UK’s healthcare insurance market. Fifteenth edition. Published 16 October 2018. (178pp)


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“In a year when UK economic growth was an unspectacular 1.7%, and Brexit negotiations continued to hog the headlines, 2017 presented a static picture for private medical cover demand. However, this belies strong development of wellbeing cover products and services by health insurers which offer corporate customers wider healthcare and wellbeing solutions. 

Philip Blackburn
– Report author


Challenging times ahead as PMI remains flat for a second year

Demand for private medical cover was static in 2017 – the second consecutive year of flat growth – with the number of UK policies in issue remaining at 4 million. This confirms that the increase in demand seen in 2015, as a handful of large corporates extended their schemes to more employees, was a brief fillip in an otherwise flat market.

This unique report shows the four largest providers – Bupa, AXA PPP, Aviva and VitalityHealth – continue to dominate the market with a policy share of over 90%.

In 2017, the number of company-paid policies increased by just 0.5% to 3.1 million while the number of individual policies dipped 1% to 910,000. The number of lives covered by individual policies remained relatively stable in 2017, in part reflecting a trend towards family coverage on policies. Despite subdued market demand, insurers have continued to seek reductions in claims costs to reduce the price of medical cover.

Steep increases in Insurance Premium Tax (IPT) in 2016 and 2017 mean that providers continue to face high numbers of lapses. Insurers have responded by focusing on attracting new business by offering joiner discounts and incentives and by leading on the long NHS waiting lists and rationing for some NHS treatments.

Elsewhere, a small rise has been seen in company-paid schemes and there could be a pipeline of new business created by significant changes in employers’ approaches to employee support which is starting to feed through to many insurers repositioning themselves as health and wellbeing providers – an evolution which is generating interesting and exciting partnerships with technology providers.

While the corporate landscape still has the uncertainty of Brexit to deal with, the rising momentum to improve employee health provides favourable dynamics for increased spend on healthcare benefits by companies.


What the report includes

  • Market structures of:
    – Private medical cover
    – Private medical insurance
    – Health cash plans
    – Dental benefit plans
    – Private primary medical (GP) cover
  • Market demand volumes
  • Market income and values
  • Historic trends
  • Future outlooks
  • Prices
  • Claims paid & margins
  • Health cover product innovation
  • Appendices
    Provider Profiles
    Trade Bodies
    Financial Appendix


Who is the report for

  • All professionals working in or with medical insurance providers and health cash plan providers
  • C-suite professionals working in hospitals and clinics
  • Specialist care providers including physiotherapists, wellness services
  • Private dentistry groups
  • Risk managers
  • Investors and Private Equity
  • Banks
  • Central Government
  • Think Tanks
  • Lawyers
  • Management Consultants


What You Get

      • Print package – Single-user Printed Hard Copy
      • Digital package – Multi-user Digital PDF and Data in Excel + Printed Hard Copy


LaingBuisson is the chosen provider of independent sector healthcare market data to the UK government’s Office for National Statistics.

Additional information

Report Format

Multi-user Digital PDF + Printed Hard Copy, Single-user Printed Hard Copy