Westfield targets gap between PMI and cash plans with surgical procedures product

Westfield Health has created a new product offering access to over 1,300 surgical and medical procedures while maintaining the cost security of a cash plan.

The provider believes its new Hospital Treatment Insurance can flourish in the space between traditional PMI and cash plans and leverage the demand created by increasing pressure on the NHS.

Westfield says it does not expect the product to be used as a replacement for PMI, but instead believes it may be offered to tiers of staff currently not benefiting from comprehensive healthcare.

Cover starts from £1.24 per employee, per week and employees can receive treatment at any hospital in the UK where private treatment packages are available. Heart and cancer are excluded, with the provider arguing these are services best dealt with by the NHS. Commission is 20 per cent initial on virgin business, with 10 per cent trail.

Westfield executive director, sales and marketing Paul Shires says: “While the NHS is excellent at providing care for life-threatening illnesses and emergencies such as cancer and heart disease, patients requiring non-urgent treatments may begin to suffer, and face longer waiting times for routine surgery and scans as the NHS attempts to save £20 billion by 2015.

“Delays in non-urgent medical care can increase sickness absence and place a heavy financial burden on employers. Hospital Treatment Insurance will help employers to manage staffing levels more effectively and lower costs, while employees – many of whom will be able to access private care for the first time – will benefit hugely from quick treatment and having more choice and control over where and when they have their surgery.”

“The challenge for all health insurers is to anticipate those areas where NHS provision is limited or unavailable – and to develop products accordingly.”