The Association of British Insurers (ABI) has joined the chorus of calls on government to cut the rate of Insurance Premium Tax (IPT) on health insurance in next week’s Budget.
The call follows similar pleas from across industry including the Confederation of British Industry, Axa Health, BIBA and Bupa Insurance at the ABI’s own annual conference last month.
According to the ABI, reducing the 12% IPT levied on health insurance premiums would encourage more employers and individuals to purchase the product, support more people back into the workplace, and ease the pressure on the NHS.
The body cited research commissioned by the ABI from Public First which found that 69% of people would use health insurance if it was offered as an employee benefit.
This would mean prompt access to services and treatment which can stop health conditions from worsening and get them back to health more quickly, it said.
The ABI’s research of 2,000 adults also found that 75% of respondents viewed the NHS as one of Britain’s proudest achievements, but 55% thought the quality of the NHS was one of the most important issues facing the country, second only to the cost-of-living crisis (74%).
Most respondents also agreed that each person in the independent system is one less for the NHS to care for so removing the barriers to health insurance will enable employers to play an even greater role in tackling ill health, supporting the NHS and creating a sustainable healthcare system for all.
Yvonne Braun, director of health and protection policy at the ABI, (pictured) said: “Insurers have a significant part to play in preventing ill health, supporting a healthy workforce and reducing pressure on the NHS.
“The independent sector’s strengths in early intervention and speedy diagnosis and treatment can also help keep people in the workplace, which is vital for boosting the economy.
“By cutting Insurance Premium Tax for health insurance, the government could reduce the barriers that prevent it from being taken out, harness the potential of the independent health sector, and help tackle economic inactivity and pressures on the NHS.”