Private insurance tax will hit NHS


By Stuart Scullion, chairman, Association of Medical Insurance Intermediaries (AMII)

Stuart Scullion, AMII chairman

Stuart Scullion

I have previously described the increases in insurance premium tax as being an ill-conceived and ill-thought-through levy in part driven by the previous Chancellor’s desire to deliver a balanced fiscal policy. But at what increased patient numbers and cost to the NHS?

Where consumers want to participate in private care, and have the financial means, we should be encouraging them to do so, as it has a direct impact on the NHS.

There are currently around 10.6% of the UK population insured and using private healthcare services. It could be significantly more.

In my own business, the single biggest factor affecting cancellation of policies is cost, particularly among older consumers.

At a time when they have the greatest propensity to claim and for treatments which typically incur the greatest cost, we are driving them back into the NHS.

We need to think differently.Instead of increasing insurance premium tax, we should remove it from healthcare products much as they do in many states in the EU.

Instead of driving people back into the overstretched services of the NHS, we should reintroduce tax relief on consumer premiums to encourage those willing and able to do so to buy health insurance products and services, which will reduce the drain on the NHS.

This could be achieved in a number of different ways. But my message is loud and clear: there must be greater co-operation and cohesion between the public and private sectors. We need joined-up thinking.

 Taken from his address to the AMII Health and Wellbeing Sum­mit in London on the same day the Chancellor announ­ced the latest insurance premium tax rise