Western Provident Association has designed self pay protect, a healthcare cash plan designed to help with the cost of hospital treatment for short-term illness or injury.
The plan is concerned only with in-patient or day case private hospital treatment and follow-up out-patient treatment for 90 days after the patient has left hospital. It has three levels of cover and a 90-day deferred period.
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 cover, 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 like Norwich Union's cash plan provide these benefits. However, the benefits it provides for a hospital stay are limited compared to self-pay protect.
Some patients who are put off by NHS waiting lists may go for private treatment and self-pay protect could be useful in meeting those costs. But costs are reimbursed only after the treatment has taken place, so patients must still find the money in the first instance.