CS Healthcare has launched a health insurance plan in response to planned changes in the NHS which is struggling to cope with a forecasted £30bn funding shortfall by 2020, Mark Rothery has said.
The chief executive at the friendly society said the new plan, called HealthBridge, would help connect people with private health insurance and provide faster access to treatments at a more affordable cost.
The plan promises access to diagnostic tests, treatment and surgery, avoiding potentially lengthy NHS waiting times, and will cover a scheme member for some of the most expensive procedures, such as hip replacement surgery.
Mr Rothery added: “The NHS remains strong in many areas, but we are likely to see growing numbers look to connect with more affordable health cover designed to work alongside the NHS and which helps to bridge the gap.”
He referred to Simon Stevens’ 20-page report, Five Year Forward View: Time to Deliver, in which the NHS England chief executive said £22bn needed to be found in the next five years.
While the government has committed £8bn to plugging the funding gap, he said the NHS was likely to continue to prioritise more complex and urgent treatments such as cardiac issues, cancer and other major medical problems, with waiting times for less urgent conditions likely to be lengthy.
Mr Stevens said: “The NHS cannot close these gaps alone. We will need our partners across health and social care in local and national government, individuals and their communities and the corporate and charitable sectors to use their levers, unleashing local energies to help create the future we want.”
A family of four made up of two 35 year-olds and two children under the age of 12 living in the South West, Midlands or Wales would pay £56.66 a month for HealthBridge. Cover through CS Healthcare’s ‘your choice’ product would cost in excess of £180 a month.
A single 25-year-old living in London would pay £21.70 a month for HealthBridge cover, compared with £58.84 with ‘your choice’.
Jack Chandler, director at Gloucestershire-based Switch Health, said: “Many people cannot afford private medical insurance so something definitely needs to be done, with the need for a middle ground. CS Healthcare’s offering will hopefully push other insurers to follow suit and tailor their policies towards this market.
“The problem is that the specialists are charging too much so insurers are justified to charge more, as they are less able to offer it cheaper. If specialists were more affordable, the insurers could offer PMI at more competitive prices, which would make it much more affordable for people.”