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ABI ends accord over doctors’ fees

The Association of British Insurers has ended its arrangement with the British Medical Association on agreed fees for doctors’ reports and medical examinations.

The rate per GP report agreed between insurers and the medical profession is £89, with supplementary reports £22.70.

The fee arrangement was due to run until March 2011 and the ABI’s decision to end it now could lead to an increase in charges for GP reports. But Munich Re head of marketing Andy Milburn says the move does have advantages for the industry.

He says: “We would prefer it if the GPR increases in price as a result of this so the industry starts relying on them a lot less and looks more towards wet signatures and tele-interviewing.”

In a letter to ABI members, director general of insurance and health Nick Starling says the change means members are no longer obliged to use the agreed fees but they cannot discuss fees with other insurers. There is no change to the status of the existing ABI-BMA guidelines, medical information and insurance.

Starling says: “In light of a review and legal opinion, we are withdrawing any obligation on members to honour this collective commitment. It is for individual members to decide how to go forward.”

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Comments

There are 4 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. This is a really big ticket item. Upside is that it will force companies to look seriously at their point of sale u/w system rules. Downside is that it could impact siginificantly upon those applications where a GPR is absolutely necessary e.g. tumours, heart disease etc where costs could rise significantly and further delays arise.

    Really cant see why tele u/w is always seen as the solution by some people. It just loads unnecessary costs into the business…

  2. I would not want to see the situation where individual negotiations start happening at surgery level. GP reports already create delays in the underwriting process without that added complication. And yes other methods of evidence are fine – and it is good to hear a reassurance company advocating this – but the same reassurers also require GP reports – so there has to be give and take from both sides.

  3. Can I clarify what I said here? If prices go up then providers may rely less on GP reports, which is good as 85% of them add little value based on Munich Re research. BUT if they go down in price then providers will see their underwriting bill reducing too, thats good as well. My worry is if that happens that providers end up asking for MORE GP reports as they’re cheaper to request…

  4. Er hello Andy, prices go down I dont think so. There is already a proportion of surgeries who want more than the current fees and this will increase as news about the agreement ends…

    And yes Roger, we are into a “free market” where the industry cannot act to set an standardised fee for GPRs, because this is price fixing, and each Doctor/Practice can state the fee they want to complete the report. If this is higher than the level the insurer is offering then this will lead to further delays…

    As I said in my earlier comment, any insurer with any sense will upgrade their pos system scripts and rules to eliminate unnecessary GPRs but for cases where a GPR is necessary then I would suggest we will see delays increase and costs rise.

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