Four new conditions and earlier pay-outs for members on NHS waiting list
Vitality has added severe sepsis, necrotising fasciitis, desmoid-type fibromatosis and myasthenia gravis to serious illness cover (SIC).
The addition of severe sepsis reflects a doubling in hospital admissions in the past three years, making it more common than heart attacks, reports show.
Vitality will also pay out earlier for 23 conditions where a member is included on an NHS waiting list for surgery, while enhancing its children's cover and some of its existing definitions.
The upgrades bring about the removal of ‘heart attack - of specified severity', a definition which Protection Guru's Higgs called "dated". "This required the need for characteristic ECG changes and rises of cardiac enzymes or troponins levels, which have generally been superseded by more precise high sensitivity versions of these tests in clinical practice," he said. "This change means that Vitality now have only two heart attack definitions which will pay either 50%, 75% or 100% of the sum assured depending on the severity. This is an increase in the amount paid at the lowest severity, but still less than what would be paid by standard critical illness policies for heart attacks unless booster is applied."
He also said the "catch all" carcinoma in situ and motor neurone disease definitions have been brought in line with "the most comprehensive definitions in the market", adding that "it is also positive to see burns to the face now included within the various third-degree burns definitions".
Children's cover has been enhanced with cover for type 1 diabetes for core and optional serious illness cover for children; children's hospital benefit (£100 a day from day 14 up to £3,000) and a new total permanent disability definition for children.
"Vitality have at last included type 1 diabetes for children, drastically improving coverage here," added Higgs. "Unlike previous upgrades, Vitality have been unable to retrofit these improvements to policies currently in force which is a shame but for new customers the upgrades will be welcome."
Deepak Jobanputra, deputy CEO at VitalityLife added: "I'm also pleased to announce an important change in how we assess total permanent disability in children. Up until now we have used the same approach as we use for adults and this change will mean the assessment is relevant and more appropriate for children."
£570 a month benefit
Asks Alan Lakey
Decided by 'independent' panel
A fixed pay-out of £2,500