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Private medical insurance popularity grows

According to figures from the Association of British Insurers (ABI), the number of people taking out Private Medical Insurance (PMI) has risen year-on-year for the first time in recent years.In 2006, 1,030,000 individuals took out personal PMI policies, up 1.8 per cent from the 1,012,000 personal PMI policies in 2005.The number of businesses taking out corporate PMI has increased even more than this, with 2,345,000 corporate PMI subscribers in 2006 an increase of 4.1 per cent on 2005's total of 2,254,000 corporate subscribers.Collectively, personal and corporate PMI plans now cover 5.9 million people in the UK. Commenting on the statistics, Nick Starling, the ABI's director of general insurance and health, said: "Private Medical Insurance offers people greater choice of treatment and other services for a wide range of medical conditions and injuries. It also takes pressure off the NHS, so by buying PMI, people are effectively reducing the burden on Britain's hard-pressed health service. "It is encouraging that more individuals are choosing to buy PMI for themselves and their families. PMI bought by companies on behalf of their employees has continued to increase in popularity too, helping to ensure that people can get back to work sooner after illness or injury."

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