The UK health and wellbeing provider Benenden has entered into a partnership with Bupa in a deal worth more than £200m over the next five years.
Bupa will now administer the Benenden Personal Healthcare product on behalf of Benenden and arrange local diagnostic and treatment services for covered members.
The insurer will also become the plan provider for the Benenden Health Cash Plan products.
Giles Webster, chief finance officer at Benenden, said: "With a deal worth more than £200m over five years, this announcement is significant in the healthcare sector. This new relationship between two of the industry's leading players is enabling us to further improve our service offering to nearly 900,000 people across the UK."
Webster continued: "We're a mutual organisation with the primary aim to use our member funds wisely, so our value for money offering will be improved by Benenden's new arrangement with Bupa. Additionally, we will also be able to provide our members with improved access to treatment services closer to where they live, through an extended network of UK hospitals."
The new provider relationship has removed removed the need for members to pay upfront for diagnostic services before seeking reimbursement. Payment for the service will be handled directly between Bupa and providers.
Improved provision of treatment services for members will also be introduced from late October - Benenden members requiring treatment will continue to be directed to Benenden-approved hospitals but will do so via the Bupa network.
Webster added: "Benenden looks to develop relationships with other leading healthcare organisations such as Bupa, which is important because we're an organisation looking to play a greater role in the future of UK healthcare. Like Benenden, Bupa has no shareholders and invests any financial surpluses in more and better healthcare services and this makes them a good fit with our own own ethical financial model as a mutual, not-for-profit organisation."
The agreement followed a tendering process that also sees the transfer of the Benenden Health Cash Plan, which provides additional cover for such things as dental and optical treatments, to Bupa.
All existing cash plan products, customers and claims were transferred to Bupa in July 2015.