Could a health-conscious decision to wear a Fitbit now, impact upon your future ability to obtain health insurance?
CCS Insight, a technology analysis company, says that sales of the Fitbit, Apple Watch and Samsung Galaxy Gear could hit 2.6 million in 2018 across the UK.
In the future, could it be possible that only the healthiest customers enjoy lower premiums? Premiums are already being calculated based on the information provided by these devices by some insurers. Higher charges could be in store for individuals that reveal more information to their insurers than they had realised.
According to Phillipa Kelly of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales:
“Fair doesn’t necessarily mean cheap. Insurers will be able to write policies more effectively in future and we will see costs go up for some people and down for others. But we don’t want a situation where people are unfairly excluded from cover by things they can’t control.”
"Predictive insurance modelling" is just one of the hundreds of patents filed by insurers looking to gain further insights into customer data as shown in a recent study by the Swiss Re institute.
Rules regarding the allowance of data from particular health tests exist in order to stop insurers from unfairly penalising customers, such as those with predispositions to certain illnesses. Fitbit shares data such as exercise data, calories burned, heart rate and sleep patterns with third parties, and more instances are expected to be added.
Part of the reason for concern is that the industry has operated on the concept of the "pooling of risk", where the majority covered the minority that might be on the edge of being covered or not. The new paradigm will benefit some, but penalise those who are currently on the fringe, but are insurable.
Vitality however, refutes these concerns, as Dave Priestley of Vitality emphasises that "We are trying to give the members control over their renewal increase...it is good for us and it is good for you."
If you think private medical insurance could be for you, contact Westminster Wealth Management today. One of our skilled advisers can help you to find the right policy to look after your health, including that of your finances.