Groupama Insurances has brought out a healthcare cash plan for individuals and smaller and medium-sized companies that are looking for a cheaper alternative to private medical insurance (PMI).
Cashwise has three levels of cover and provides cash benefits for routine healthcare expenses. Monthly premiums range from £9.80 to £20.30 for single cover and from £17.50 to £36 for family cover. Children under 18 are covered free, but benefits are reduced compared with the adult rate.
Members get 100 per cent of dental costs a year up to a maximum of between £65 and £125, depending on the level of cover taken. The child rates are applied on the same basis up to a maximum of between £40 and £80.
They also get 100 per cent of optical costs up to a maximum of between £70 and £165 for adults and between £40 and £115 for children during each 24-month period.
Other benefits include between £20 and £40 a night up to a maximum of 50 nights for inpatient hospital admission and the same amount for maternity inpatient hospital admission after seven consecutive nights.
Health Shield's options is a similar cash plan that has six levels of cover. Premiums range from around £6 a month to £39 a month and unlike the Groupama plan, it does not reduce benefits for children.
Comparing other benefits between the plans, Health Shields premiums start at a lower rate and this means its level one and two benefits are limited compared with level one and level two of the Groupama product. However, Health Shield pays 100 per cent of the cost of specialist consultations and treatments such as acupuncture, whereas the Groupama product refunds 50 per cent of costs.