Aon report: UK is in an unprecedented era for private medical cover

  • 2024 Global Medical Trend Rates Report is based on insights from 113 Aon offices that broker, administer or advise on employer-sponsored medical plans
  • Report forecasts the average medical trend rate for 2024 to be 15 percent; up from 8.5 percent in 2023


Aon plc (NYSE: AON), a leading global professional services firm, has released its 2024 Global Medical Trend Rates Report based on insights from 113 Aon offices that broker, administer or advise on employer-sponsored medical plans.

The findings reflect the medical trend expectations of Aon professionals based on their interactions with clients and carriers represented in the portfolio of the firm’s medical plan business in each location. In the UK, the report forecasted the average medical trend rate for 2024 to be 15 percent, up from 8.5 percent in 2023.

The trend rate figures represent the percent increase in the cost of private health care – insured and self-insured – that are anticipated to be required to address projected price inflation, technology advances in the medical field and plan utilisation patterns.

The top medical conditions driving medical plan costs in the UK are:

  • Musculoskeletal and Back Issues
  • Cancer and Tumour Growth
  • Mental Health

Rui Silva, vice president and medical trend leader in Health Solutions for Multinationals at Aon, said: “We have been in a period of remarkable inflationary conditions and economic volatility. The series of shocks affecting economies around the world after the COVID-19 pandemic continue to create an unstable environment for the health care market, despite continued signs of improvement. Volatile conditions will persist.

“Despite uncertainty on how long global inflationary pressures will last, it is clear from the locations surveyed that the medical trend rate will see a sharp rise in 2024 among employer-sponsored medical plans.”

Rachel Western, technical lead, Health Solutions at Aon in the UK, said: “The UK is in an unprecedented era. Private medical cover has always been positioned to work alongside the National Health Service (NHS), but the NHS has its own well documented difficulties, both from a primary and secondary care perspective. At the same time, health awareness, following the pandemic, is at an all-time high. Therefore, there is increased usage of private medical services, both on a self-pay basis and through private medical schemes.

“Utilisation of virtual GPs is also increasing, further exacerbating the pathway as more are recommending private treatment. It is compounded by significant increases in cost of treatment for certain conditions (especially around cancer) due to technological and clinical advancements and people claiming for more complex states of treatment, partly due to the after-effects of treatment delayed by the pandemic.

“All of these contribute to medical inflation, in addition to general inflationary costs driven by the current economic climate. We are at an all-time high trend rate, and this currently shows little or no signs of reducing.”

Western continued:
“With rising trend rates, generally comes rising premiums. The key to managing these costs is to claim less, without reducing levels of cover, or those you cover. To get medical benefits working smarter, not harder, employers can focus on health and wellbeing strategies, particularly ensuring supportive preventative tools are implemented.”

As employer-sponsored medical plans become a larger part of total rewards expenditure and the pressure mounts on accurate forecasting and management of costs, this report will serve as a valuable resource for organisations to plan global budgets and benefits strategies, and to build more resilient workforces for 2024 and beyond.

Globally, Aon has forecasted the average medical trend rate for 2024 to be 10.1 percent, up from 9.2 percent in 2023 and the highest since 2015. The top medical conditions driving medical plan costs globally are:

  1. Cardiovascular
  2. Cancer/Tumour Growth
  3. High Blood Pressure/Hypertension.

Read Aon’s 2024 Global Medical Trend Rate Report here.

About Aon

Aon plc (NYSE: AON) exists to shape decisions for the better — to protect and enrich the lives of people around the world. Our colleagues provide our clients in over 120 countries and sovereignties with advice and solutions that give them the clarity and confidence to make better decisions to protect and grow their business.