What Challenges and Opportunities Lie Ahead for Self-Pay Healthcare?
Self-pay, access to private healthcare treatment without the need for health insurance, first began a trajectory of market-beating growth in 2021,with a surge of patients paying directly for treatment outside of medical insurance plans.
Self-funded private treatment is at its highest among 60 to 79-year-olds, requiring treatment for issues ranging from cataracts to hip replacements.
Despite a predicted 13% rise in inflation by the Bank of England, and the most severe cost of living crises in decades, statistics from leading market analyst, LaingBuisson’s Private Healthcare Self-Pay UK Market Report: Fourth Edition show a continued increase in the demand for Self-Pay that is bucking the overall economic trends of 2021/2022. However, there is still room to increase the momentum into this market.
What can consultants and private healthcare businesses do to reach out to a wider audience when it comes to self-pay and what challenges lie ahead in this fast moving and complex landscape?
1: From a marketing perspective it makes sense to clearly differentiate from the medical insurance market, ensuring all messaging about Self-Pay how is clear, direct and relatable. For many patients this will be their first foray into private healthcare and patient choices must be presented in a way that supports the consumer to clearly understand what’s on offer.
2: Self-Pay demand is largely concentrated in London and the Southeast, however, statistics from leading market analyst, LaingBuisson’s Private Healthcare Self-Pay UK Market Report: Fourth Edition show that interest is rising in all regions. Look for marketing opportunities outside of current growth regions, there will always be pockets around the country where consumer confidence will be slightly higher.
3: Failure to adapt and be nimble on the supply side will be detrimental.
Health commentator Richard Gregory writes in Independent Practitioner Today: ‘‘My belief is that this is a direct result of the industry’s relative failure to adapt its offering quickly enough to respond to retail consumers. In short, it is a supply-side weakness.”