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HealthBridge plan sets new benchmark for quality lower-cost cover

23 July 2015

The NHS needs to make some £22bn¹ of savings over the next five years, which means change is on its way.  The Service will most likely continue to prioritise more complex and urgent treatments – for cardiac issues, cancer and other major medical problems – and it is in these areas that we are able to rely on top quality care, delivered in the most-timely manner.  However, waiting times for less urgent conditions – for cataracts, orthopaedic surgery, general surgical procedures, diagnostic investigations and tests, or to see a Consultant – can be lengthy.

It is with this in mind that mutual friendly society CS Healthcare has launched HealthBridge, a new health insurance plan designed to bridge the gap and to connect people with quality private health insurance and quicker access to treatments at an altogether more affordable price.

CS Healthcare, which has been providing private medical insurance to Civil Servants since 1929, today serves the needs of those working in (or who have worked in) the public sector, charitable or not-for-profit organisations, privatised organisations, and their families.  In launching its new plan, the Society appears to have set a new benchmark for lower-cost PMI plans.  HealthBridge has been designed in conjunction with the Society’s members on the back of a series of research forum groups and two phases of qualitative research², which evidence a growing recognition that we may need to take greater levels of personal responsibility for our healthcare needs.  A total of 44% of respondents stated that they would either start paying for PMI if services do not improve, or would want to even if they could not presently afford it – and it was this research which defined the new plan.

HealthBridge is an affordable health insurance solution for those under 65 years, designed to help bridge the gap between private health cover and the NHS.  With a cover limit of £15,000 per person per policy year, HealthBridge provides members with support when they need it, and quick access to those all-important diagnostic tests, treatment and surgery whilst avoiding potentially lengthy NHS waiting times.

Typical treatment costs
The policy limit will give members sufficient provision to pay for a host of treatments and procedures:
• Endoscopy, such as Colonoscopy – £1,700
• Ultrasound  – £200
• Scans  – a CT scan at £500; a PET scan at £2,400
• Surgical removal of impacted or buried tooth/teeth – £1,800
• Hip replacement surgery  – £12,500

Competitive premiums
By way of example, a family of four – two 35 year olds, with two children under 12 – living in the South West, the Midlands or Wales, would pay £56.66 per month for HealthBridge, whereas comprehensive cover through CS Healthcare’s your choice product would cost in excess of £180 per month.  Whilst a single 25 year old living in London would pay £21.70 per month for HealthBridge which compares with £58.84 for your choice.

(see Notes to Editors 1).

Commenting on the structure of the Plan, Mark Rothery, Chief Executive Officer at CS Healthcare 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.  As affordability was highlighted as a critical factor by those participating in the research, we have opted for a compulsory co-payment feature, capped at £250 per person per year; this means that the Society is able to deliver quality cover at a really competitive premium.”

HealthBridge key features
• Investigation and Detection: members are covered for diagnostic investigations and tests including ECG, EEG, ultrasound scans, blood tests and X-rays, as well as specialist consultations;
• Treatment and Surgery: members are covered for hospital care for in-patient, day-patient and out-patient surgery, including pre-operative tests, surgeon and anaesthetists fees, surgery and operating costs, hospital accommodation, Consultant and Specialist fees and post-operative treatment.  Whilst treatment for heart and cancer conditions is excluded from cover, aftercare support for new heart and cancer conditions is covered under the Plan’s Recovery and Support benefits;
• Recovery and Support: to help ensure recovery is smooth and in an environment that is designed to help the member to recover in a clean, safe and private place, HealthBridge offers attractive allowances for out-patient therapy such as physiotherapy, osteopathy and chiropractic treatment, psychiatric consultations and counselling, appliances and aids following an in-patient admission, nursing and home care following a hospital admission, and £100 cash when a member welcomes a new child into their family (subject to a 12 month qualifying period.  Co-payment does not apply to Recovery and Support benefits);
• NHS Support Allowance: if for any reason a member elects to receive surgery on the NHS, they may be entitled to receive HealthBridge’s NHS Support Allowance, a cash payment which may be used to ease their time in hospital or to support their recovery;
• Moratorium Underwriting: applicants do not need to complete a health questionnaire, instead any pre-existing conditions are excluded under moratorium underwriting terms;
• Guided healthcare: in the event of a claim, the CS Healthcare team will assess the options in the member’s local area and provide three options from the Society’s network of hospitals, selected for their ability to deliver high standards of service and comfort

In an earlier CS Healthcare research study³ 45% of respondents stated that they were happy to be told where they could receive their treatment at the point of claim or did not mind, with 70% stating that they would consider lower-cost options if the insurance premium was lower for cover where the hospital at which treatment was ultimately delivered was specified at the point of claim.

Commenting on the launch, Rothery said, “The cost of comprehensive private health insurance continues to rise.  The introduction of HealthBridge means we can cater for a broader range of needs and budgets, providing quality cover for those at different life stages.  We know that many younger professionals, in the earlier stages of their careers, wish to make private healthcare provision.  At the other end of the spectrum, some of those towards the end of their career are looking to cut the cost of their cover and identify a more affordable option.  Others, well-established within their careers, may be on relatively modest salaries.  We set out to design a sector-leading product to match the needs of our market and with all of these groups in mind.  The plan delivers quality cover at a premium which is within their reach, and we believe HealthBridge sets a new benchmark in this sector of the market.”

Those seeking further information on the new HealthBridge plan and/or who would like to obtain a quotation should visit the Health Insurance section of the CSIS website.

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