One in three UK Private Health Insurance plans not being fully used

Almost one in three private medical insurance patients in England who are receiving hospital treatment have it supplied and financed by the NHS – even though they are able to claim from their policy. Cancer treatment and emergency procedures worth up to £1 billion are being provided by the NHS to patients who are privately covered, according to a new study by health economists, Laing and Buisson, on behalf of private hospital group, HCA International.

The NHS spends up to £609 million annually to pay for emergency medical and surgical hospital treatment for people with private medical insurance, which is the equivalent of 489,250 emergency admissions.

Cancer care to the value of between £80 million and £125 million is estimated to have been distributed on the NHS to patients with private cover.

The report states that NHS waiting lists could be shortened and a large contribution made to the £20 billion worth of efficiency savings the NHS must make by 2015, if only more policyholders made full use of their cover.