HealthBridge is a private medical insurance (PMI) policy designed to bridge the gap between what the NHS offers and what people can afford to pay for PMI.
Within an annual maximum benefit of £15,000 the policy pays for:
* Consultations up to £1,000 a year.
* Diagnostic investigations, scans and tests.
* Pre-operative tests.
* Surgeons’ and anaesthetists’ fees.
* Surgery and theatre fees.
* Hospital accommodation, nursing and intensive care costs.
* Medical admissions and related services.
* Specialist fees for medical admission.
* Post-operative consultations, investigations, physiotherapy, tests and dressings.
* NHS Support Allowance of up to £2,400 if free NHS rather than private treatment is chosen.
* Up to £350 a year for outpatient therapies.
* Up to £500 a year for psychiatric consultations and counselling.
* Up to £150 a year for appliances and aids after an inpatient admission.
* New child bonus of £100.
* Nursing at home care benefit of up to £500 a year.
All benefits are per person per year. The plan also includes a 24/7 Lifeline nurse-led health advice line with a doctor callback service.
A 5/2/2 year rolling moratorium applies to pre-existing conditions and all policies include a 15% co-payment, up to a cap of £250 per person per policy year for most benefits. Heart and cancer treatment is not covered, nor is emergency treatment.
CS Healthcare says a family of four with two 35 year old parents and two children under age 12 living in the South West, Midlands or Wales would pay £56.66 a month, compared to over £180 a month for its comprehensive Your Choice product.
What They Say
CEO Mark Rothery said: “It seems likely more of us may turn to the private sector in the future. Our research confirms that significant numbers are happy to consider lower-cost options – cover with a more limited range of benefits, but which still addresses the areas where the NHS is less able to deliver – in an attempt to bridge the gap and connect with more affordable health insurance. We believe the plan delivers quality cover at a premium within people’s reach and sets a new benchmark in this sector of the market.”
What We Say
"PMI is now in the unenviable position whereby more people recognise its value (partly through fear of where the NHS is going) but fewer are able to afford it or to keep paying above inflation price rises each year (which are compounded by the fact that cost rises sharply with age at older ages).
"Insurers are looking to cut costs where they can, but the reality is that cover has to suffer too to make policies more affordable, especially to individual buyers.
"CS Healthcare’s solution – based on research forums and qualitative research it says – is effectively to recognise three things. First, that the NHS can be relied on for very expensive treatments such as heart and cancer. Second, that customers will be prepared to pay some of the costs themselves (in this case a capped 15% co-payment). Third, that benefits should be limited, including an overall £15K a year cap. That limit may look on the low side, given some PMI claims, but it is enough to cover many expensive treatments such as hip replacement surgery at around £12,500, CS says.
"Does it work? On the whole, yes. Of course one can easily criticise any PMI product that provides less than fully comprehensive cover, but that rather misses the point that most people can’t (or won’t) pay for such cover. If the cost savings quoted are typical, clients have to decide whether they can afford the premiums and also perhaps afford the ‘gaps’ between this plan and more comprehensive cover. We think many will.
"One final point – the plan is only available to those who currently or in the past have worked in the public or not-for-profit sectors. But that includes family relatives too so, if a client’s spouse/partner, son/daughter or parent qualifies, then they do too, regardless of their own employment history. That means the potential market for this plan is actually a pretty big group, but it doesn’t include everyone."