Family Care is a corporate hybrid aimed at giving families some of the benefits of both health cash plans (HCPs) and private medical insurance (PMI) centred around benefits based on the child’s health. The basic plan pays up to:
* £500 a year per child for specialist consultations for children.
* £1,000 a year per child for diagnostic tests and scans (including CT, MRI and PET scans).
* £150 a night (max 30 nights per child pa) for parental overnight accommodation with child.
* £35 a night (max 30 nights per child pa) per child for out of pocket expenses when a child is in hospital.
* £15 a day (max 30 days per child pa) for car parking.
* £80 a day (max 30 days per child pa) for childcare cover.
* £30 a night (max 30 nights per child pa) for kennel and cattery fees.
* £500 a year per child for recuperation. £150 is paid after seven consecutive nights in hospital, increasing to the full £500 after 14 consecutive nights in hospital.
In addition the plan provides a 24/7 telephone advice service plus the Best Doctors’ InterConsultation and Doctor Online services.
The plan costs employers £99 a year (or £10.75 a month) and each plan covers up to four dependant children up to their 18 birthday (cover starts when they are 61 days old, so excludes most birth-related conditions). Increasing that to £220 a year converts the plan to Family Care Protect, which in addition pays for surgical procedures undertaken on a daycase basis or which require a single night stay in a private hospital.
Pricing for voluntary and flex schemes is available on request.
A three year fixed moratorium applies to pre-existing conditions.
What They Say
Medicash sales director Paul Gambon said: "A family coping with a sick child may be dealing with a huge amount of stress, worry and expense, which will have a direct impact on the workplace. The Family Care range is specifically designed to help address one of the most challenging issues an employee can ever face.
"The plan can deliver savings through reduced premium expenditure and its associated P11D costs. It will also demonstrate that an employer cares about the wider wellbeing of the workforce. We are anticipating a good response from brokers and employers."
What We Say
"PMI schemes for children have been marketed before and have had some success for children in boarding schools, offered on a school by school basis. However, relatively few private paediatric hospital services exist in the UK and, where they do exist, parents may have to travel some distance to access them. HCPs usually include child benefits (although the main focus is usually on the parents) and most PMI schemes are aimed at adults and families (again with children covered, but usually at extra cost), so Medicash (in association with Medex Protect) is treading new ground by launching this scheme.
"In doing so, it recognises that to parents, their children’s welfare is not only paramount, but health issues can also lead to a raft of extra costs for the parents. Now, for less than £100 a year, employers can provide a range of benefits for their employees with children that could well run into four figures should claims be made.
"The main benefits are more HCP than PMI and cover tests and consultations. About half of adults don’t then go on to be admitted to hospital (the figure for children may be different), so the plan means parents can quickly get an initial diagnosis should there be a risk of a holdup if relying on NHS care. If treatment is needed, the NHS can then be used in most cases. Cover goes further, with a raft of built-in benefits to cover parents’ additional costs and, for the Protect version, paying for common surgical treatments too. The helpline and Best Doctors services also add value – not least in reassuring as well as helping parents."
"Will the plan succeed? New ideas are often treated cautiously, but this plan has the benefit of including well-established benefits – it’s the overall package and focus that makes it different. Employers could simply include full PMI cover for children, but that could be considerably more expensive (for them, and for employees as a P11D benefit) and, may be little used, as most paediatric treatment is delivered by the NHS. PMI does though provide wider in, out and daypatient cover.