Living a healthy lifestyle – eating well and exercising – has become a major trend in the UK over the past few years. Growth in the popularity of organic food, healthy living gurus, clean eating cookbooks, fitness trackers and apps, and new gyms around the UK are all contributing to the health trend that’s sweeping our nation.
The 2012 London Olympics played their part, and the momentum that began with the games continues to inspire Brits to take part in sport and activity around the country.
A 2014, a UK government report backed this up, with evidence that 10% more Brits participate in sports since the London Olympics. The survey found that a massive 15.6 million people aged 16 and over now take part in sport at least once a week – 1.7 million more than in 2005, when London won the bid to host the games.
In the past, the private medical insurance (PMI) industry has been criticised for charging unhealthy, overweight customers – who have a greater chance of becoming unwell – the same as customers who prioritise keeping fit and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
Health insurers have taken this on board, and some PMI providers now offer discounts and incentives for policyholders to stay fit and healthy.
For example, many insurers provide discounts for customers who maintain a healthy weight, based on body mass index (BMI). One Usay insurer, The Exeter, offers a discount on its PMI policies for customers with a BMI of less than 32. Others, such as WPA, only insure customers with a BMI of between 19 and 35.
This focus on BMI stems from the science of health, which says that obesity is one of the worst conditions a person can have for their health (after smoking). The less active and clean living you are, the more likely you are to develop health issues. Higher risk customers mean higher risk for the insurer – and the greater the chances they’ll have to pay out claims – therefore many insurers charge higher premiums for overweight customers.
Leading the charge in this trend among insurers is Vitality (formerly Pru Health). Its popular membership programme offers a range of health benefits and incentives including:
If you’ve made a major lifestyle change – such as losing a significant amount of weight, or quitting smoking – since you took out your private medical insurance policy, it could be worth shopping around for a better deal. Our trained advisers search the market to find the best deal possible – saving you money without compromising on cover.
We know insurance isn’t always the easiest subject to understand, so we’ve produced a range of helpful, plain English guides to clear up any confusion and answer your questions. Choose a guide from the list below to find out more about private medical insurance.
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