COVID-19 made Poles aware of the importance of quick access to high-quality medical services and specialist physicians. According to a survey carried out at the request of the Polish Chamber of Insurance, every fifth interviewee with private health insurance purchased or extended it as a result of the pandemic. Additionally, 40% of the respondents who did not have private health insurance were considering purchasing it. More than half of them, due to the epidemic.
‘The pandemic has undoubtedly increased the interest in private healthcare. This is demonstrated not only by the results of our survey, but also by insurers’ data, which show that the number of Poles with private health insurance policies is still rising. Moreover, those who have purchased this type of insurance and companies offering it as part of employee benefits are keen on maintaining the insurance coverage’, comments Dorota M. Fal, adviser to the Management Board of the Polish Chamber of Insurance.
POLES ARE WILLING TO PAY FOR PRIVATE MEDICAL CARE
More than 80% of the participants in a PIU survey declared their readiness to pay extra monthly fees for medical care, in addition to the contributions paid to the National Health Fund. More than half of these people believe that the main advantage of private health insurance is quick access to specialists. It is also important for them to be able to use state-of-the-art technologies, which are difficult to access in the public system (29%),
as well as the short waiting times for a procedure or surgery (24%) and tomography, magnetic resonance imaging and other diagnostic tests (24%). Additionally, 70% of the respondents stated that they were eager to pay for additional health insurance if the amount could be deducted from tax.
WE INCURRED A HEALTH DEBT
‘Public healthcare has been struggling with staffing and financial problems for a long time and the pandemic has exacerbated the situation. The system is currently overburdened. Additionally, last year, we observed a serious deterioration in the health condition of Poles, caused by the occurrence of so-called health debt. Many people postponed preventive and diagnostic examinations or
even treatment. As a result, patients end up in medical facilities when a disease is already
at an advanced stage, which reduces their chances of recovery. Therefore, solutions that facilitate the financing of additional health policies and the creation of private insurance, ensuring quick access, above all, to prevention and outpatient specialist care, would be welcomed. One of these solutions might be the possibility to deduct from tax the amount spent on private medical care’, adds Dorota M. Fal.
A SPECIALIST APPOINTMENT – PREFERABLY PRIVATE
Private health insurance proves effective in prevention and rapid diagnosis and its share in the financing of outpatient specialist care is increasing. Participants in a PIU survey declared that last year they used private medical care mainly to undergo dental treatment (these are mainly out-of-pocket expenses, and not expenditures from
a medical package), visit a specialist physician, undergo USG or X-ray examinations and rehabilitation. According to insurers’ data, there is an increasing interest in consultations with internists and paediatricians as part of medical packages. Therefore, the Polish Chamber of Insurance is expecting a further increase in the popularity of private health insurance in the near future.
- The survey was carried out on 1-12 October 2020 by the SW RESEARCH agency on a group of 2,000 professionally active Poles aged 25-60, who were insured with the National Health Fund.