Pick of the Pundits: Health insurance faces a battle: Experts on the different aspects of personal finance talk to Vivien Goldsmith and Maria Scott about the prospects for 1993 as signs of recovery grow firmer: Jan Lawson

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Jan Lawson, partner with The Private Health Partnership, expects that premium increases this year will be no more than 10 to 15 per cent, but they could be a bit less as insurers fight to hang on to business.

'People have put up with increases this year but they are threatening to cancel their insurance if there are further large rate rises.

'The development of budget packages was designed to get new people into medical insurance, but next year it will be a matter of hanging on to existing subscribers.'

Ms Lawson predicts that employers will start to reappraise their schemes and conclude that they have been too generous. Some will withdraw cover for spouses and children. Others will be moving on to a cafeteria system of benefits so employees can choose whether to take full medical cover or give it up for better pension benefits or some other staff perk.

She also believes that subscribers who are excluded from cover for pre-existing conditions will be arguing strongly - and successfully - that they should pay less for less comprehensive cover.

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