AXA PPP’s solution to the issues of sustainability and affordability of private medical insurance (PMI), at least for larger employers, was launched (or re-engineered) in October.
Called ‘The Healthcare Pathway’, it claims five key benefits compared to traditional PMI:
* Prevention. The Employee Health Gateway is a personalised web-based service to encourage employees to live healthier lives by making small, steady changes to lessen their health risks. It also offers more intensive support to those ‘at especial risk’.
* Guidance. The 24/7 Health at Hand health information service is provided by qualified healthcare professionals for members (and their family) affected by heart disease or cancer.
* Fast access. The Fast Track service links GP open referrals to fast access to a choice of up to three AXA selected specialists. AXA can even book the appointment if required.
* Treatment. Through AXA’s provider network of 120+ hospitals and 15,000+ specialists.
* Recovery. A dedicated physiotherapy team plus information and support from the Employee Health Gateway.
For employers that means a healthier workforce; a better patient journey; controlling costs; faster return to work; choice and flexibility, and a boost for recruitment and retention, the insurer says. For employee health it means taking wellbeing personally; financial peace of mind; quick access to treatment; a choice of specialists; easy access to hospitals, and simplicity.
By encouraging use of its provider network, AXA says members should typically be no more than 15 miles from a selected hospital (or five miles in London).
What They Say
Sales and marketing director James Freeston said: “We understand the tough economic, social and health landscape employers are dealing with and the pressure they’re facing to provide for employee healthcare at a cost their businesses can sustain. Meeting this need, while also tackling the causes of medical inflation, demands a new way of thinking. Our response is to pioneer a better healthy journey: The Healthcare Pathway – helping employees stay healthy by providing engaging health guidance, speeding them to the right treatment when they need it and supporting them throughout their recovery. And at the same time tackling costs and ensuring financial sustainability.”
What We Say
"None of the elements of The Healthcare Pathway is particularly unique, but it adds up to a fairly cohesive whole. It starts with taking the employee from wherever they are now, through sustained or better health, to getting fast access to see a specialist when necessary and, for the roughly 50% who then need treatment, getting that quickly and efficiently, before supported recovery helps them back to sustained and improving health again. Obvious and logical yes, but not the way things have been done in the past, which is one reason why some elements of the medical profession will doubtless rail against it. Some may also see the pathway as restricting choice, but the reality is choice is still there, just more restricted than before.
"The pathway is also likely to be extended and changed in future too, so see this as a work in action rather than a final solution.
"Does it work and is it necessary? Yes to both – PMI inflation is its most serious threat going forward and AXA PPP’s solution looks to have the potential to achieve that. If it does, more employers should become encouraged to set up PMI in future."