Private medical insurance (PMI) provider WPA is to pay customers a second rebate to reflect the reduction in claims as a result of COVID-19.
The insurer was the first UK insurer to pay customers a rebate as a result of private and independent sector hospitals being – effectively – out of use for PMI customers in order to support the NHS during the pandemic.
A spokesman for the provider said that as a result of the overall decrease in claims and reduced access to elective care because of the NHS/private hospital contract, it will pay members a second rebate before the end of June.
WPA Chief Executive Nathan Irwin said that while the lockdown meant that customers with clinically urgent requirements were still able to access care, less serious procedures were postponed.
He said: “To reflect the reduced usage of WPA policies, we provided a first premium rebate in April and have announced a second rebate will be paid to customers by the end of June.
“Across all of our customers, the April payment totalled £3.7m and this latest payment will be similar.
“With lockdown restrictions easing and private hospitals increasing the number of routine procedures, we expect there to be a significant backlog of postponed treatments and claims will begin to rise quickly.
“We remain committed to not profiting from this pandemic and will observe claims levels over the coming months before determining whether any further rebates are appropriate.”
The NHS/private hospital contract is due to finish at the end of June although NHS use of private facilities is expected to extend into a second contract.
A spokesman for WPA said that “on a practical level”, it is “likely” that the availability of private facilities will vary by hospital and by region over the coming weeks.
He said: “WPA is continually working with the private hospital networks to facilitate access for customers and has confirmed that COVID-19 antigen tests will be covered where this is required as part of a treatment plan.”