Survey suggests confusion around healthcare plans, as 84% overestimate monthly cost

  • Almost four out of five people are signed up to subscription services, with an average spend of nearly £500 a year
  • Only 13% are signed up to health benefits, despite increased interest in holistic health during pandemic
  • 84% overestimated how much health plans can cost – some by more than 10 times as much

The subscription economy is booming, with almost four out of five (79%) adults in the UK signed up to at least one, spending on average £475 a year. Yet, while 96% of people say they are now focused on their holistic health, only 13% reported paying monthly for health benefits that could help them with everyday wellness, according to a recent survey conducted by Simplyhealth.

As one of the UK’s leading health solutions companies, Simplyhealth carried out the survey of 2000 people, aged between 16 and 82, to investigate how COVID-19 has impacted views on mental and physical health, subscriptions and spending habits.1 Findings suggest that the popularity of paying monthly for services and products is here to stay, with 1 in 5 (22%) admitting to signing up to even more during the pandemic. This upward trend was particularly prevalent in younger age groups, with almost a third (31%) of 16-44-year-olds increasing their subscription services as opposed to just 13% of those over 55.

Most popular – and where most money is spent – is entertainment; half (50%) of respondents reported paying monthly for video streaming services, followed by music and audio streaming (27%). Furthermore, 18% of people reported having food, drink and beauty subscriptions. Yet, only 13% of people reported paying monthly for life insurance, or a health or dental plan that could help them with everyday wellness, and just 12% said that they had subscriptions for fitness or wellbeing apps.

A focus on health

This is surprising given that 96% of survey respondents stated they remain focused on their holistic health, with almost half saying that the pandemic has made them care more about both their mental and physical wellbeing (44% and 45%, respectively). Again, this trend was noticeably higher in younger age groups – 53% of 16-24-year-olds said they now care more about their mental health, dropping to 37% in the 55+ category. However, the survey also showed that while 63% believed that they were aware or very aware of the benefits of health and dental plans, 45% overestimated how much dental plans can cost and 84% overestimated how much health plans can cost – some by more than 10 times as much.ii


Dr Catherine Rutland, Clinical Director at Denplan, part of Simplyhealth
COVID-19 has made us reassess many things we previously took for granted, drastically reshaping the agenda around health and wellness. It’s encouraging to see that so many people, particularly those in younger age groups, are remaining focused on their overall health, but it’s surprising that relatively few pay monthly premiums for plans that can help support and maintain this. 

In fact, in our experience, healthcare plans can really benefit younger, working adults with busy lives who value the convenience and cost certainty they provide.

Our survey suggests that there are misunderstandings around healthcare plans, in terms of both costs and benefits. Rather than cover for medical conditions, health plans are designed to provide fast, accessible support for everyday health concerns. Looking after your wellbeing isn’t always easy at the moment, so it’s really important that people are fully aware of the different options open to them and their families, and the benefits these can provide.
Dr Catherine Rutland, Clinical Director at Denplan, part of Simplyhealth

For more information on the results from the survey, including more information on health and dental plans, visit Simplyhealth’s blog: www.simplyhealth.co.uk/subscriptions-and-your-health


About Simplyhealth

Notes to editors

Help with everyday health 24/7

Unlike traditional health insurance, health plans help take care of customers around the clock. Customers pay a monthly premium and, when they need to visit opticians, dentists, physiotherapists or other healthcare professionals, they can claim back the costs. From just £7.50 a month, Simplyhealth plans also offer customers access to a range of virtual healthcare services you can access wherever you may be, including 24/7 video GP appointments, cover towards routine prescription costs, easy video physiotherapist assessments, and vital, instant 24/7 access to mental health and wellbeing support through telephone counselling.

Simplyhealth also offer a trio of apps – SimplyMe, SimplyConsult and SimplyPlan – to make it straightforward to look after your health and wellbeing, get quick access to the healthcare you need and easily manage your plan.

i Nationally representative survey of 2,023 UK respondents carried out by Censuswide on behalf of Simplyhealth in April 2021

ii Based on a Simply Dental plan level 1 starting at £9.55 and a Simplyhealth plan level 1 starting at £7.50 per month. 10% of respondents estimated a health plan would cost £76 or more per month.

About Simplyhealth

Since 1872, we’ve been helping people make the most of life through better everyday health. Our plans make sure individuals, families and employees can easily access in-person and virtual wellbeing services, and afford to stay healthy by claiming costs back on dental treatments, visits to the optician, complementary therapies and much more.

Today we’re delighted to be the UK’s leading health solutions company, with almost 1000 colleagues serving 2.3 million customers. We don’t have shareholders, so we’re led by our purpose of improving access to healthcare, for the many, for the long term. We’re passionate about using our voice in public health affairs and partnering with charities to reduce health inequality – each year we commit to giving 10% of pre-tax profits to a range of community causes. And we ensure our business takes care of the planet too, achieving Carbon Neutral + status in 2021.

To find out more, visit www.simplyhealth.co.uk