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Peak practice

Pinnacle Insurance has introduced a healthcare cashplan for the mature end of the age spectrum. The Medex senior plan is available to anyone between 18 and 79 but the benefits are geared towards older people.

The plan has five levels of cover with premiums from £1.50 to £12 a week. It includes benefits for a hospital stay, routine dental and optical treatment, hearing aids, lump sums for recuperation and care for the elderly, funeral benefit and complementary medicine such as acupuncture and osteopathy. Free cover is provided for policyholders&#39 partners under 80.

Most healthcare cash plans cover benefits older people would never need, so the Pinnacle plan could be a useful addition to the market.

A comparison with Norwich Union&#39s new individual cash plan illustrates this point. Like the Pinnacle plan, it has five levels of cover, with premiums ranging from £6 a month to £30 a month for a single person and £8 a month to £30 a month for couples. Maternity and paternity benefit of between £200 and £1,000 for each child is provided, which older people are paying for but would not need.

However, some benefits that are relevant to older people are more competitive with NU. For a premium of £12 a month, NU pays 60 per cent towards the cost of a hearing aid up to £110. Someone paying the equivalent at £3 a week with Pinnacle would get 50 per cent of the cost up to £45. Similarly, nursing home inpatient benefit would be higher at £50 a day with NU compared with £15 a day with Pinnacle.

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