Six in ten can't fund healthcare costs

Posted in: Research Last updated: 01 Oct 2008

More than 60% of people in Great Britain say they can no longer afford to pay for some of their or their family’s healthcare needs as the cost of living spirals, according to research from engage Mutual.

Of those struggling to pay, more than a third (43%) questioned can no longer afford regular check ups at the dentist, or treatment for dental problems.

As part of its 3GB campaign, which looks at the changing financial relationships between the three generations of family members, engage Mutual asked a GB representative sample of 1,948 adults which aspects of their families’ healthcare costs they can no longer afford, many of which are typically covered by health cash plans.

 Health costs that struggling GB adults can no longer afford:
 Dental check ups                                                       43%
 New glasses/spectacles                                           43%
 Daily vitamins and health supplements                   23%
 Prescription charges for medicines                        20%
Family eye check ups                                                16% 

key findings

  • families with young children (under 16) are heaviest hit by rises in the general costs of living, with seven in ten (70%) of those questioned finding some health costs unaffordable as a result. More than 41% of these cannot fund dental check ups or treatment and prescription charges are beyond the means of almost a quarter (24%)
  • the over 55s are also struggling with more than six in ten (63%) lacking the finances to cover some health costs. Of these, 43% cannot afford new spectacles, and13% struggle to pay prescription charges.

regional data

  • Lancashire and the North East are the serious strugglers when it comes to health costs with nearly seven in ten (69%) suffering. Of these, new spectacles top the list as the most common unaffordable cost for Lancastrians (48%), and regular dental check ups are beyond the means of 49% of those struggling in the North East.
  • the picture in Yorkshire shows more than 50% no longer able to fund some health care costs, with rising costs of living to blame. Of these, 41% are unable to afford dental check ups and new spectacles are now beyond the means of 48%.
  • in comparison to the rest of England, those living in East Anglia have fewer problems funding their healthcare costs, yet the figures still remain high with more than half (55%) stating they cannot fund some of them.

Karl Elliott, 3GB spokesperson for engage Mutual said:

“With the cost of living on the rise, our research shows a shocking number of people struggling to pay for some quite basic family healthcare necessities”

“engage is committed to providing a range of simple and straightforward financial products to meet the needs of the modern British family. Theengage Health Cash Plan can help families budget for and meet the costs of everyday healthcare, providing cash back on14 different healthcare benefits and services, such as eye examinations, spectacles, dental checks and treatment and health screening”

Choosing the Select, or basic level of the engage Health Cash Plan, at £2.40 per week, provides up to £100 cash back on dental costs every year, up to £100 cash back on optical costs every two years, and up to £500 cash back over two years towards acupuncture, chiropractic, osteopathy or physiotherapy treatment. These are in addition to 11 other cash back benefits also offered at this level.

engage Mutual Assurance can be contacted on 0800 169 4321 or by visiting www.engagemutual.com

The information contained in this press release is intended solely for journalists and should not be relied upon by private investors or any other persons to make financial decisions.

notes to Editors:
1. engage Mutual Assurance is a trading name of Homeowners Friendly Society Ltd (HFSL), Registered and incorporated under the Friendly Societies Act 1992, Registered number 964F and its wholly-owned subsidiaries, engage Mutual Funds Limited (eMFL) and engage Mutual Insurance Ltd (eMIL). Both HFSL and eMFL are authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority (FSA). HFSL’s Register number is 110072, eMFL’s Register number is 181487. eMIL is authorised to conduct general insurance business by the Gibraltar Financial Services Commission and is regulated by the Financial Services Authority for the conduct of UK business. eMIL’s FSA Register No is 485680. You can check this on the FSA’s Register by visiting the FSA website www.fsa.gov.uk/register or by contacting the FSA on 0845 606 1234.

2. engage is one of the larger UK mutuals providing simple, value for money savings, protection and investment products. It currently helps over 420,000 customers of all ages to protect, preserve or enhance their welfare, with some of the most straightforward products on the market. engage prides itself on being a family-oriented, modern mutual, providing products that help enable households of all kinds to plan their finances to help meet their future needs. More information on engage Mutual is available at www.engagemutual.com

3. engage supports mutuality, friendly societies and the regional financial services industry through links with the Association of Mutual Insurers, the Association of Friendly Societies, Mutuo and Leeds Financial Services Initiative.

4. engage Mutual Funds Limited (EMFL) is a provider of the Child Trust Fund direct and in partnership with organisations including Yorkshire Building Society and Scarborough Building Society.

5. engage Mutual has been the title sponsor of the Rugby Super League since 2005 and has extended its agreement to 2010.

6. engage Mutual announced its entry into the health cash plan market in July 2008 following an agreement of partnership with Wakefield & District Hospital’s Contributory Scheme (WDHCS). Further to this, 30,000 health cash plan customers transferred from Premier Health Benefits (part of WDHCS) to engageMutual Insurance Ltd.