Alliance Surgical’s as.one plan is an alternative or supplement to conventional private medical insurance (PMI). The plan is available to anyone resident in the UK (a group plan will follow later), there are no age limits, and lifestyle and previous medical conditions do not affect either cover or price.
Customers get one free specialist consultation a year, without having to go through the normal gatekeeper route of GP referral. Instead, the customer first speaks with the as.one consultant triage team, who then guarantee an appointment with a specialist within five days. Those specialists comprise over 1,200 of the UK’s most eminent medical consultants, with each one being peer recommended, and practicing in the NHS as well as privately.
All tests, procedures and treatments are arranged by as.one. Customers can also refer for conditions not usually covered by PMI e.g. for cosmetic surgery or varicose veins (which may not be covered by PMI).
If treatment is needed, as.one organises fast-track treatment free of charge through the NHS. If treatment is not available through the NHS, the customer pays for the treatment themselves.
If the customer does not claim in any year, 40% of the annual fee is converted into as.one healthcare credits. These can then be used to pay for extra consultancy visits or even private treatment in future.
Cover is available to individuals, couples and extended families. For families and couples, visits and credits can be shared and the plan gives two free consultancy appointments a year.
The plan costs £29 a month for individuals, £51 a month for couples and an additional £13 a month for each additional family member (which can include siblings, immediate dependants and grandparents). As this is not insurance, insurance premium tax (IPT) is not payable.
Commission is payable to intermediaries at 10% initial and renewal on individual plans.
What They Say
Sales director Gary Smylie said: “We want to get rid of the wedge that’s been driven between people who have the problems – the patient – and the people who have all the skills to make it better – the doctor.”
What We Say
"PMI is expensive, especially in the personal sector, so something that offers an alternative but at lower cost should have inherent appeal. as.one is interesting, both because of its medic driven background and because of its very different approach to getting good healthcare treatment fast.
"It is certainly likely to be cheaper for most people than conventional PMI (especially if you are older), but it does mean that more than one specialist consultation a year is not covered (unless more than one person is insured or if credits have been brought forward) and if the treatment is not available on the NHS (or your client wants to have private treatment) the plan won’t pay for that.
"On the other hand, many people will not need even one consultation a year on average, the plan means don’t even need a GP referral and, if they are happy with NHS care, there should be no additional costs (but they may have to travel further than to their local hospital). Those with pre-existing conditions are accepted and there are no age limits. Other family members can also be covered – even including grandparents. The plan can even be used alongside conventional PMI (perhaps for PMI with no outpatient cover).
"Will it suit every client? No, but it does offer a radically different alternative."