Private Medical Insurance in the United Kingdom
In comparative studies of health care, the United Kingdom's health care system continues to be categorized in terms of public finance and public provision. However, over 11% of the United Kingdom population has private medical insurance (PMI), and PMI is an important contributor to the United Kingdom's health economy (the market being worth almost £3 billion a year). This study provides an introductory overview of an often-ignored and significantly under-researched area.
The study is structured according to the three key dimensions of the market for PMI: the product, demand and supply. It also includes a short appendix on the market for health cash plans--an alternative form of private cover for medical expenses with relatively broad take-up. The Introduction provides a classification of forms of voluntary health insurance (VHI) and locates PMI within the wider United Kingdom health care system.