Standard Life Healthcare, the group being rebranded from Prime Health, is launching a private medica...
Standard Life Healthcare, the group being rebranded from Prime Health, is launching a private medical insurance plan cutting the cost of cover by up to 80%.
Choices is a high excess PMI policy in which policyholders can opt to self-pay for the cost of treatment up to an excess of £1,000, £2,500 or £5,000, with the balance being covered by insurance if the total cost is higher.
Monthly premiums for a single person aged 29 would be £5.93 on the new plan with a £5,000 excess, compared with £38.30 where there is no excess for a similar policyholder taking out one of the group's standard comprehensive PMI plans.
For a single person aged 29 with a £2,500 excess the monthly premium is £8.95 on the new plan and £15.88 with a £1,000 excess.
Choices also carries an investment option to provide a personal health fund to pay for cover and a treatment information service to help people organise and negotiate treatment below the excess level.
Mike Hall, Standard Life Healthcare managing director, believes the product fills a gap in the market.
He said: "For the first time people can buy a product that gives them greater control over funding and provision of their healthcare.
"They can save for lower cost treatments rather than wait, access private treatment at affordable prices and have the security and peace of mind of insurance for higher cost treatment of more serious conditions."
Earlier this year research commissioned by Standard Life Healthcare found that 60% of people would contribute to a savings plan if it had an insurance back-up to pay for the cost of more expensive treatment.
The same percentage also said they would rather pay for treatment than wait on NHS waiting lists.
Meanwhile three out of four said they would be prepared to pay towards treatment up to the excess levels offered by the group and eight out of 10 people would value the treatment information service. The cost of private treatment for a heart by-pass is typically £12,500 while a knee or hip replacement can cost up to £7,500.
Hall added: "Choices removes the financial dilemma of how to fund healthcare, providing comprehensive cover with no financial limits at an affordable price."
On the Standard Life Healthcare rebrand Scott Bell, Standard Life group managing director, added: "Standard Life Healthcare is going to share the strength of the Standard Life brand. This provides a great opportunity for our healthcare subsidiary to benefit from our strong name in the financial services market."
Prime Health was acquired by the Standard Life group in 1994 and the renamed company has around 350,000 policyholders.
Hall said: "We shall continue to put the needs of our customers first, and will be looking to ensure that the quality, value and service we provide is second to none."
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