Western Provident Association has des-igned self-pay protect, a healthcare
cash plan that helps with the cost of hospital treatment for short-term
illness or injury.
The plan is concerned only with inpatient or day-case private hospital
treatment and follow-up outpatient treatment for 90 days after the patient
has left hospital. It has three levels of cover and a 90-day deferred
Under level one cover, patients are reimbursed 30 per cent of the cost of
their treatment. With level two, 50 per cent of the cost is reimbursed and
with level three, 75 per cent of the cost is reimbursed. The maximum amount
that each person can claim is £50,000 a year.
Premiums are based on the person's age and the level of cover they
require. For level one cover, premiums start at £30.69 a year for
under-18s, rising to £123 a year for elderly patients. Premiums for
level two range from £69.30 a year to £279.30 a year and from
£99 a year to £399 a year for level three cover.
This plan is unusual in that it does not provide cash benefits for routine
medical treatment such as eye tests and dental examinations or cash
benefits during childbirth.
Other healthcare cash plans such as Norwich Union's cash plan provide
these benefits. However, the NU benefits for a hospital stay are limited
compared with self-pay protect.
Some patients put off by NHS waiting lists may go for private treatment
and self-pay protect could be useful in meeting these costs. But costs are
reimbursed only after the treatment has taken place so patients must still
find the money in the first instance.