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Private health insurance market sickens

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In the economic squeeze, record numbers of people are electing not to renew their existing private health insurance policies.

According to a report published by analysts Laing & Buisson, the number of people buying their own health policies has fallen to the lowest level since the 1970s,
Dental insurance has suffered a similar decline, with 2% fewer people taking out standalone dental plans last year, a marked contrast to the 31% growth recorded between 2005 and 2008.
As a result of the fall in demand for private cover, more and more people are expected to turn to the NHS at a time when the state provider is struggling more then ever due to planned funding restrictions.
The survey shows that the number of private medical policies fell 4.8% in 2009, after marginal growth of 0.6% in 2008, as the recession took hold. Employer-funded policies fell 4.7% and individual policies dropped 5.2%.
The number of people covered by such policies is put now at 7.2 million, or 11.7% of the population. Of these, just over a million buy their own insurance, the lowest figure ever recorded by Laing & Buisson.

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