Although these are two separate policies, they are linked inasmuch as Worldwide is an international private medical insurance (iPMI) policy designed to appeal to expatriates, while Elite is a UK PMI policy, and clients may switch easily between the two, depending on whether they are working or living in the UK or overseas.
Worldwide has three areas of cover (Europe, Worldwide excluding US and Worldwide) and offers five levels of cover. Maximum annual benefit varies from 500,000 (£, US$ or €) for Bronze cover up to 2,000,000 for Diamond cover. Unusually, financial limits and premiums are the same for each currency.
Most benefits are full refund, although some benefits have annual limits. Psychiatric treatment (which has an initial ten month waiting period and limits inpatient treatment to 28 days a year) is only full refund on Diamond plans, other levels having financial limits (e.g. 10,000 currency units for the second top plan, Platinum, or no cover at all under the entry level Bronze plan). Bronze also only covers out-patient treatment if it follows an inpatient surgical procedure.
Depending on cover level, plans can also include dental benefits, repatriation benefits, maternity, accidental death and emergency medical cover outside of area. Maximum benefit for chronic conditions is 50,000 currency units.
A choice of 2/2/2 rolling moratorium, full medical underwriting, continued personal medical exclusions (CPME) and continued moratorium, and medical history disregarded underwriting options are available. A choice of excess is available (from 50 currency units per person per annum, offering a 5% premium reduction, up to 5,000 units, which gives a 40% premium reduction.
The UK-based Elite plan is built around a core offering with optional add-ons for out-patient cover; alternative therapies; psychiatric care; private GP, dental and optical; executive benefits (e.g. wellbeing, maternity cash and London premier hospitals) and also offers a choice of excesses and underwriting options.
What They Say
Business development manager Andrew Sandilands said: "Freedom Worldwide completes our portfolio of PMI products. With a growth in the demand for international PMI [iPMI], it is particularly important that policyholders have the right level of cover for their location and needs. The suite of Freedom Worldwide plans have been designed specifically to meet those requirements, with a wide range of plans from a fully comprehensive policy to an in-patient only plan. With the ability to switch to our Freedom Elite domestic plan without further underwriting as their circumstances change, Freedom now offers quality, competitive cover across a range of plans to suit all prospective or current PMI policyholders."
What We Say
"The idea of being able to switch seamlessly between UK and iPMI is a good one, so this plan could appeal to many whose career could include spells in the UK and elsewhere.
"In practice, while the ability to switch is valuable, the two plans offer different benefits that do not always match (in some cases, of course, they do not need to) so an alternative may be to have an iPMI plan that can also still be used in the UK. Indeed, Freedom Healthnet points out that clients can choose to keep their Worldwide plan going, or take one out even if they expect to continue working in the UK.
"Having the same benefit financial limits for each of the three major currencies is also an interesting idea but in practice means that a sterling denominated plan will offer the highest benefit levels, albeit with the highest premiums too. Conversely a US $ denominated plan currently offers the lowest benefits and premiums, but the relative positions could change as currency exchange rates fluctuate.
"That said, the plan should appeal to the increasing number of people whose career will take them to various countries, sometimes at short notice and sometimes for relatively short periods too."