The letter – signed by Bupa’s chief executive Alex Perry, Axa PPP’s chief executive Keith Gibbs, Aviva chief executive of global health Mark Noble and Vitality UK chief executive Neville Koopowitz – asks Philip Hammond to commit to freezing IPT for the length of this parliament.
The letter states: “Insurance premium tax is essentially a tax on acting responsibly. As a society we should be encouraging people to take responsibility for making sure that their homes, cars and their health are insured.”
These insurers point out that the standard rate of IPT has already been doubled by the Government over the last three years, from six per cent to 12 per cent.
“Any further increases risk pushing more businesses and individuals to drop or reduce their health cover, adding further pressure to the NHS.”
IPT increases have already caused segments of the health insurance market to shrink. Research produced by the Centre for Business and Economic Research (Cebr) in November 2017, commissioned by Bupa, showed that the increase in IPT has already seen nearly 200,000 individuals cancel their health policies.
The letter adds: “When businesses or individuals stop or downgrade their health insurance policies, they become more reliant on the NHS for their healthcare needs, including costly care and treatment for conditions such as cancer, heart and joint surgery which their health insurance would have covered.
“By increasing IPT to help fund the additional NHS spending announced by the Prime Minister in June, the Government would, in effect, be giving to the NHS with one hand and taking away with the other.
Collectively these insurers cover over six million customers who take responsibility for funding some of their own healthcare in additional to contributions they make to the NHS through taxation.
Polling conducted by Bupa shows nearly two-thirds (63 per cent) of people say that health insurance allows others to access NHS treatment earlier and over half (55 per cent) view it as important in relieving pressure on the NHS.