Our top three products of the year
It has been a busy year in the world of private medical insurance (PMI), but inbetween battling with consultants and hospitals over the divisive issues of control and cost, insurers have still found time to bring to market a wealth of new products.
Among the offerings which caught Health Insurance’s technical editor Andy Couchman’s eye this year have been a hybrid plan bridging the gap between PMI and cash plans, and an international PMI (iPMI) provider’s first foray into the UK market. Here, we round up the three best products of 2012.
* Perhaps the most innovative launch this year came from Westfield Health, with its Hospital Treatment Insurance, which aimed to target a ‘middle ground’ between traditional PMI and cash plans. It covers up to 1,300 surgical procedures with prices starting from £5.37 per employee per month – but some crucial exclusions apply, including consultations, and treatment for heart and cancer conditions. Although the long list of exclusions was highlighted as a potential issue, Couchman said the plan could provide a good alternative to PMI, especially when used in conjunction with a cash plan, and awarded it seven out of 10 stars. Click here to read the full review.
* Receiving an impressive eight-star rating in August was Bupa’s community-rated SME offering, Bupa Select. The product was updated this year with the creation of a range of additional options – the plan has three tiers: Key, Enhanced and Complete - which Couchman said helped to “simplify” the offering. Another standout feature of the plan is that it pays double the normal NHS cash benefit if cancer treatment is carried out on the NHS. See the full review here.
* But the product of the month crown in August went to Allianz Worldwide Care’s new Signature plan. The launch marked a new territory for the iPMI provider and was unusual in that it allowed treatment to be undertaken inside or outside the UK market. The product – dubbed “fully portable and transparent” by Allianz Worldwide Care – is targeted at senior management executives and covers cancer treatment, chronic conditions, routine maternity, routine health checks, and dental and optical treatment. The move effectively marked the launch of a new UK PMI provider, and was praised for offering a variety of options to match cover to need and budget. The full review is available here.