The British Medical Association (BMA) has told the insurance industry that it may decide not to finalise a deal on medical report charges.
The threat comes after The Independent newspaper reported that a deal had been struck between the Association of British Insurers (ABI) and the BMA. This led to the BMA’s accusation that the ABI is using “megaphone diplomacy”.
No deal has yet been reached which means insurers are still paying up to a 50 per cent increase in fees to doctors for filling out insurance forms since the deal expired earlier this year.
This could mean a rise in premiums for protection and critical illness insurance premiums unless insurers find new ways of underwriting.
Dr Peter Holden, the Derbyshire-based chairman of the BMA professional fees and General Practitioner Committee (GPC) negotiator, said he is “hopping mad” and “furious” about the story in the national press which quoted the ABI as saying that an agreement had been made.
He said: “We do not undertake ‘megaphone diplomacy’. If we had done a deal we would announce it jointly after it had been signed and sealed. Now I’m very much minded not to do a deal.
“For once, market forces are on our side. The amount of time and effort that goes into writing the reports means insurers have to pay for them. We are charging insurers £60 to £100 and doctors are already doing very well by it.”
James Sergeant, a member of the ABI health team, said: “We haven’t yet come to an agreement.
“We have up-lifted the amount to £31 from the previous figure for general practitioner’s (GPs) reports but have not changed the medical examination fee, it remains at £42.80.
“We have told members that, pending an agreement, those are the figures we think insurers should pay.”