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Health: Insurance

Volume 483: debated on Tuesday 18 November 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what assessment he has made of the availability of top-up health insurance in England; and what information his Department holds on providers of top-up health insurance; (235613)

(2) what assessment he has made of the average annual cost to an individual patient of top-up health insurance;

(3) what estimate he has made of the (a) current annual value and (b) likely increase as a result of his announcement on access to NHS care on 4 November 2008 in the annual value of top-up health insurance purchased in England.

The Government response to Professor Richards's review, ‘Improving access to medicines for NHS patients’, set out a package of measures which will reduce demand for additional private drugs, as more drugs will be available on the national health service, more quickly.

As more drugs will be available on the NHS, the Department considers that this will mean fewer NHS patients are likely to want to take out so called “top-up” health insurance than would otherwise have been the case.

As with all stakeholders who had an interest, Professor Richards and his team heard the views of some insurance companies as part of the review process. This did not amount to an assessment of the availability of particular types of health insurance, given the Department's policy is not to encourage the expansion of private health insurance.