One in ten not visiting doctor for fear of cost

One in ten not visiting doctor for fear of cost

Consumers have been warned they are under-protected as it emerged one in 10 adults avoid going to the doctor in case it results in large costs.

According to a poll of 2,000 adults conducted by OnePoll and 4Homeopathy, the average person will spend more than £65,000 in their lifetime on resources such as gym memberships, vitamins and supplements or medical prescriptions to maintain or improve their basic health.

On top of this, a mere 14 per cent of those polled said they were financially prepared for any emergency that may arise.

This was although one tenth of adults said they avoid seeing the doctor in case it results in a costly diagnosis and 12 per cent are already suffering with a medical condition that causes them significant expense.

Robert Harvey, head of protection advice at Drewberry, said: "Even despite this whopping sum of £65,000, no amount of expenditure can prevent entirely the risk of things going wrong.

"Illness and injury can strike at any time with significant cost, such as losing a household's main income through accident or sickness befalling a breadwinner and not being able to keep up with your bills.

"We'd suggest adding to this expenditure with a health insurance policy designed to cover such an eventuality."

Alan Lakey, director at Highclere Financial, agreed that a protection plan was the only way to properly insure against serious illness or work absence.

He said: "Unfortunately, it often takes a tragedy such as the death or ill-health of a loved one or close friend to galvanise people into action."

But Justin Harper, head of protection policy at LV, said many protection policies had benefits within them that could help these statistics and make policies more enticing for consumers in the short term.

For example, policies often include benefits such as access to a GP, counsellor or physiotherapist which give consumers something for their money right now, instead of paying for a policy that may never have to pay out, he said.

Mr Harper said: "At LV, all someone has to do is tap a button on the app, and they can arrange a video call with a healthcare professional for a few hours time. It’s much easier to access than going to the doctor’s surgery.

"Having access to these benefits means insurance policies are more tangible with benefits available to the consumer now."

He added: "Insurance in general is also a lot more affordable than most people think and with these additional advantages and services most policies provide, the benefits feel more tangible and relevant."

Mr Harper also suggested that certain workplace benefits could decrease the average amount spent on health-related resources.

"Something we increasingly see employers offer is healthy food at work, gym subsidisation and general support in the workplace.

"Unfortunately, most people don’t work for large companies which can offer such benefits."

Royal London’s protection specialist, Jennifer Gilchrist, agreed that policies had more benefits to them than perhaps initially met the eye.