A ground-breaking product from Passport2Health, a new entrant to the private healthcare insurance market, is set to change the shape of UK health coverage and challenge the high cost of traditional private medical insurance (PMI).
With typical savings of up to 50 percent[i] , and from as little as Â£19 per month[ii] , the scheme combines high quality private diagnostics in the UK with private treatment overseas. It promises greater choice and faster access to affordable private healthcare for the majority of Britons financially excluded from mainstream PMI products.
The UK’s first fully packaged coverage for treatment abroad, Passport2Health provides rapid access to some of the finest private medical facilities internationally, including door-to-door, concierge-managed travel and accommodation for the patient and a companion.
Passport2Health CEO and founder Frank Levene, a former BUPA director, says that the escalating price of UK health insurance, combined with continuing pressure on household spending, has left many people unable to afford cover for private treatment – leaving them faced with lengthy waits with the National Health Service.
This lack of choice for UK patients inspired Frank to provide a more innovative PMI solution, focused on providing fast access to excellent treatment at more affordable prices. He said: “For years, millions of people in this country have gone without health insurance for themselves and their families, but with Passport2Health they can now afford to take advantage of the same high quality healthcare enjoyed by our European neighbors.”
According to industry figures, almost seven million people are currently covered by PMI in the UK[iii] . However, there has been little if any market growth over recent years, despite research showing that many consumers would buy PMI if it were more affordable. In fact, escalating premiums mean that subscribers have declined by more than 10 percent since 2008[iv]
Against a backdrop of continuing economic pressures, Passport2Health has developed its pricing structure to provide an affordable alternative to increasingly expensive personal policies, or a replacement for employee benefits that have been downgraded or withdrawn.
Most significantly, according to Levene, the scheme will enable ordinary people to access high quality private healthcare for the first time. He said: “It’s a chance for regular working people, who aren’t fortunate enough to already be in a plan, to provide first-rate health coverage for themselves and their families.”
Customers have access to some of the finest hospitals internationally, including those in France, Germany and Spain, as well as Belgium, Cyprus, Portugal, Gran Canaria and Malta, and soon to be added Israel and Turkey. Every hospital is hand-picked by Passport2Health’s expert team for its exemplary clinical standards, and each is carefully selected for its English language capabilities, service quality and patient comfort.
Medical tourism is a growth area, with approximately 60,000 people[v] believed to travel from the UK each year for treatment abroad. Until now, however, patients have had to put together their own package and pay the full price in one go. With Passport2Health, everything is fully covered and all arrangements taken care of, including return travel, treatment, accommodation and after-care, plus integration into the UK health service on return.
Pricing reflects the lower cost of European healthcare and efficiencies Passport2Health has achieved through its international provider network and outsourced business model. The company operates a small core team with low fixed costs, supported by expert service providers for sales administration, customer service and claims handling, including clinical case management. This provides a scalable and replicable model that can flex according to customer demand.
In addition to CEO and founder Frank Levene, the Passport2Health management team is comprised of: Dr. Richard Dale, an eminent consultant surgeon; Alex Ballantyne, founder of NetDoctor.co.uk; JoAnna Bowles, whose financial services experience spans roles with Nationwide Building Society, Aviva, Portman Building Society, and American Express; James Davies, former sales director at Standard Life Healthcare and following its acquisition, PruHealth; Anne Vorley, who served as an underwriter with PruHealth and Standard Life Healthcare; and John Statham, former strategy director at Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance Group.
Passport2Health aims to become the leading provider of insurance covering medical treatment abroad for people and companies resident in the UK, and envisages initially capturing a modest 1.5 to 2 percent share of the UK PMI market.
The product is aimed at small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and individual clients, and is being sold through selected PMI specialists and insurance brokers, as well as directly via the internet. Customers can deal with Passport2Health via the Web, telephone or through their intermediaries.
In addition to personal plans, Passport2Health will appeal to employers, particularly SMEs, as an affordable and attractive alternative to the spiraling cost of corporate schemes. The product is also ideal for the self-employed seeking affordable health coverage, flexibility on dates and the earliest possible return to work.
While the NHS is highly valued for emergency and urgent surgery, elective treatments such as angioplasty, hernias, hip replacements or cataracts can now be treated overseas without joining a long waiting list. Passport2Health says that procedures are scheduled as fast as possible, to suit the patient – normally within two to four weeks of diagnosis.
Customers have the same access to their usual general practitioner, plus a generous allowance for private specialist consultations and diagnostics in the UK. With the exception of cancer, patients are covered for the same types of surgical procedures as many other UK PMI schemes, including a wide variety of treatments in specialisms such as orthopedics, ENT, cardiology, ophthalmology, urology and gynecology.
[i] For a 30-year-old. Prices as at 27/02/12 shown on both comparison and insurer’s websites
[ii] For a 30-year-old. Prices as at 27/02/12 shown on both comparison and insurer’s websites
[iii] Figures according to Private Healthcare UK – http://www.privatehealth.co.uk/service-to-industry/statistics-and-data/private-healthcare-key-facts/
[v] Figures according to Treatment Abroad – http://www.treatmentabroad.com/press/medical-tourism-facts/