Victoria, 24, is a supply teacher who lives in Cambridge. Her boyfriend has been encouraging her to take her financial situation more seriously and has recommended she takes out private medical insurance. She leads an active life and regularly attends the gym. She eats healthily and is a vegetarian. Her family is healthy but her grandmother has recently been diagnosed with Alzheimer's. Victoria can afford £70 a month. What can you recommend?
- Stephen Walker, Medical Insurance Services.
Although Victoria can afford to pay £70 a month, she will not have to spend that amount in order to access good comprehensive cover. When considering the best options for clients, advisers need to look beyond what appears to be the obvious choice and consider the service levels, long-term value and affordability provided by insurers.
National Deposit is a company with high service standards and no age-related or inflationary premium increases which could provide the security of affordable premiums when Victoria is most likely to require private medical insurance (PMI).
The National Deposit Healthcare Deposit account enables her to choose the premiums she wants to pay, ranging from £20 to £200 a month. The premium paid determines the level of cover provided and can be increased by £10 once in any one year in order to increase the cover. A monthly premium of £50 will provide maximum annual medical cover of £25,000 and dental and optical cover of £750. Half of each monthly premium will be put into Victoria's own personal deposit account. If she needs to make a claim, her deposit account will pay 10% of the cost (rising to 25% at age 65). If she stays reasonably healthy and rarely needs to claim, the money in her deposit account will accumulate and is there for her to withdraw as she wishes. A top-up option at £5 a month provides an additional £20,000 of medical benefit to call on in the first five years if the money in her deposit account is not sufficient for her to claim the full benefit available.
- Liam Kennedy, Standard Life Healthcare
Victoria is at an ideal age to take out PMI as she will receive benefits which can suit her lifestyle at a cost within her budget. Standard Life research shows more young people are looking for advice on how to fund the healthcare they may require, especially if they cannot or do not want to wait for treatment on the NHS.
Victoria's grandmother's situation will not affect her PMI application and she can rest assured her premiums will not be any higher as a result of any family illness.
Standard Life Healthcare's Primecare policy would cost her £67.98 a month, with no excess, and would include no financial limits on eligible in-patient, out-patient or day-patient treatment; and a range of extra support services such as a 24-hour GP telephone helpline.
A Primecare Plus policy would cost £74.14 with a £100 excess and £61.79 with a £250 excess. Primecare Plus provides the extra peace of mind that comes with worldwide travel insurance and cash benefits.
Given Victoria's interest in eating healthily and regularly exercising she should be pleased to know all Standard Life Healthcare PMI plans come with free online access to medically validated health and wellbeing advice plus tips, alerts and information on everything from nutrition to exercise and more.
- Dave Priestley, PruHealth
The fact that Victoria is active, uses the gym and eats well works to her advantage. PruHealth can offer PMI that rewards her efforts to be healthy. It has developed a reward scheme called Vitality that integrates with gyms, health screens, fruit and vegetable retailers and other health related products.
Customers want these health products but often need a little encouragement to build them into their lifestyle on an ongoing basis. Vitality covers five areas - education, exercise, nutrition, screening and smoking cessation - and members can earn points by participating in healthy activities related to each area.
Victoria can earn Vitality points for going to the gym and for buying fruit and vegetables as well as a number of other healthy activities including downloading healthy meal plans from PruHealth's website and declaring herself a non-smoker. By earning points, Victoria could benefit in the form of discounted premiums provided she has made no or low claims.
Although the risk of illness such as Alzheimer's may seem a long way off at the moment, life or critical illness cover is also worth investigating. Like PruHealth, with a PruProtect policy, Victoria could benefit from leading a healthy lifestyle and for £75 a month could have health and protection insurance.
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