Has Health Insurance Got it The Wrong Way Round?


This article is intended as an invitation to challenge our thinking around what real health insurance would best look like, with the aim to encourage you to view protecting your health in a proactive and strategic manner.

Common definitions of insurance say words to the effect of: ‘Providing protection against a possible eventuality’. I’m a big fan of proactively protecting our health and well-being. I’m proactive rather than reactive in things anyway, so health being no different. However with regards to health insurance it got me thinking the other day, in that has much of society got it all backwards?

When I say health insurance, most will think of common commercial health insurance policies, which in its common form could be defined (in a very overview capacity) as; an agreement between a financial services/medical company and an individual, to provide a level of medical service should the individual experience poor health. This process might include an assessment of risk factors for future disease potential. Exclusions and limits of cover would be calculated into the policy and an annual or monthly premium would then be calculated and cover would commence, as would the direct debits out of your bank account, whether you use the service or not.

This instantly provokes a question in my mind, that being; ‘is health insurance really the correct title for such a product?’ In this instance we are engaged in a policy, or financial product where we are paying a financial services/medical company to provide a level of peace of mind that in the possible event that we suffer poor health, we can be assured a level of treatment speed, quality and privacy and an element of security, relating to medical costs (for readers in the UK; above the services available via the NHS). There are other reasons why people many have such policies, but as an overview this could be viewed as what we are paying for. I’m not suggesting such a product is good or bad here more questioning the thinking. My point being, by its very nature such a service is used in the event of an individual already reaching a stage of poor health, to such a degree that they are in need of such services.

Is it me or is this picture completely backwards? We might be investing a high percentage of our disposable income (again dependent on level of cover, health insurance company you might use and your individual risk factors) commonly for years on end to financially pay for the consequences of a deterioration of health.

I propose would real health insurance not be the proactive pursuit of building, or actively insuring good health? Rather than focusing on the after effects once health is lost to whatever degree, when the window of opportunity to genuinely insure health might well have been missed.

Surely the only way to insure health is to proactively nurture your health and wellbeing over your lifetime. We could state that many commercial health insurance policies do conduct regular health screening assessments, to serve as early warning of disease, as such have proactive elements to a degree, (as well as peace of mind) the question being the difference in their common focus on health assessments measuring markers for ill health/disease, compared to a fully holistic health building approach beyond just aiming for the absence of disease.

The view of real health insurance I wish to propose is one of a complete focus of time and resources to a planned strategic, comprehensive, holistic and integrative approach to building health, striving for great health, systematically building health in all areas, being mindful of the importance and interconnectivity of all of the body’s physical, mental emotional and indeed spiritual aspects and their contribution to the level of health you experience.

Health practitioners of a holistic approach would be well positioned for such an endeavour, primarily due to the holistic nature of their work, as well as the breadth and depth of skill sets required for such an objective, such as exercise, health and lifestyle, holistic nutrition, stress management, digestive function among other skill sets. The task may well require the coordinated effort of multiple practitioners, using differing modalities over a lifetime, all working in the same direction towards your comprehensive and strategic health building plan.

So to conclude I put forward the proposition that Real health insurance is the nurturing of one’s own health with a proactive, comprehensive holistic approach. I would just invite you to ponder on the points raised in this article, to best support your own health.


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About the author, Shaun Mckeown: could be labeled as a performance strategist, or coach, or a life balance specialist. In essence Shaun is a strategic, creative problem solver, with a holistic view. He has over 15 years professional experience helping people with health, well-being, sport performance, reducing stress and life balance. He has a BSc.(Hons) degree in Sport and Exercise Science, as well as experience coaching and teaching in exercise conditioning, holistic lifestyle and nutrition, sport performance and Reiki. So has both science and holistic perspectives. 


The information contained above is provided for information purposes only. The contents of this article are not intended to amount to advice and you should not rely on any of the contents of this article. Professional advice should be obtained before taking or refraining from taking any action as a result of the contents of this article. Shaun Mckeown, disclaims all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on any of the contents of this article.