Self-pay is still on the rise, so don’t ignore it

As the proportion of consultants’ income from self-pay hits a new record, Garry Chapman predicts this trend will continue. Just make sure you have a robust system to collect the money.

Many consultants think of private practice as being the insurance market. But it is not that simple. 

Our analysis on the invoice values we raised in the past 12 months shows that the private medical insurance market only accounts for 52%. 

The percentage has continued to fall every year since 2012 when it accounted for 66% of the total, with the remaining 34% split between other organisations such as embassies, hospitals, solicitors – for medico-legal work – and other commercial organisations. 

However, now the lion’s share of this non-private medical insurance invoicing is for self-pay patients, which accounted for an astonishing 33% of the total amount invoiced. This represents a growth from 25% back in 2012 and it is growing year on year at a fast pace.

This figure of 33% is an average across all our consultants and can be significantly more depending upon the specialty, type of practice and the location of the practice. 

For almost every client we have, the self-funding patient is either the largest or second largest payment source and, in some practices, they are over 90% self-pay. 

There are a variety of reasons why this sector has seen considerable growth and the average of 33% is so high. 

The major ones are highlighted below: