Private medical insurance for executives

If you read nothing else, read this…

• Outpatient treatment limits for executive staff can be upgraded to a full refund.

• Some executive employees do not have to disclose medical history.

• Executives’ families are generally included in their PMI plan.

• Common features of executive PMI include: diagnostic scans, cancer treatments, pregnancy complications and health screenings.

Additional features make executive PMI schemes a valuable recruitment and retention tool, says Jennifer Paterson

Private medical insurance (PMI) is often used as a tool for recruitment and retention, to manage sickness absence, and to ensure staff return to work quickly after an illness or operation.

But there is a significant difference between what is typically covered by a group PMI scheme and one designed for executive staff. The former includes access to an online nurse or GP service, a choice of insurance products, and prompt access to eligible private medical treatment at over 250 hospitals. An executive scheme includes these basics but is sweetened with a few extras.

Kevin Murdoch, proposition development manager at Aviva UK, says: “A fully comprehensive executive PMI would cover inpatient, outpatient, dental and optical treatment, and can start to look at health screening as well.”

PMI is one way to let executives take charge of their own medical treatment, says Karen Gamble, director of health and wellbeing at Heath Lambert Employee Benefits. “When they are looking at the benefits, they want it clean, simple, and anything, any time, any place. Whatever level of ache or complaint they have, they want it sorted out privately. Executives have gone back to the time when you had PMI to jump the queue.”

Outpatient treatment

While group PMI schemes typically cap outpatient treatment cover at £1,000, executive schemes provide a full refund. Mike Izzard, managing director of Premier Choice Group and outgoing chairman of the Association of Medical Insurance Intermediaries (Amii), says: “The £1,000 would cover things like consultations, X-rays and routine outpatient treatment. The more expensive stuff would be covered outside the £1,000, such as cancer help at home, home nursing, and GP-referred therapies like osteopathy, acupuncture, physiotherapy and chiropractic care.”

Executive PMI schemes are also underwritten differently. Group plans are typically medically underwritten, which means staff must disclose all their medical history and will not be covered for pre-existing conditions. But executive plans will disregard medical history. Mike Blake, compliance director at PMI Health Group, says: “The reasons for this are recruitment and retention. Some policies will be medically underwritten but will have a section for executives that will be medical-history disregarded, and some will be entirely medical-history disregarded for all employees.”

Executive PMI schemes are also extended to cover an employee’s family members more often than under a group scheme. Murdoch says: “[Executives] are spending a lot of time away from their family, so they want to make sure their family is protected.”

Executive plans also include cover for use when travelling abroad, such as emergencies that lead to repatriation or evacuation. Izzard says: “If an executive needed repatriation or evacuation, it would cover that as well, but a normal employee plan would not.”

Also commonly covered through executive PMI are diagnostic scans, most cancer treatments, pregnancy-related complications and preventative screenings.

The inclusion of screening demonstrates many employers’ focus on preventing potential health problems, which could lead to absenteeism. Murdoch says: “At the executive level, there are more preventative screenings, making sure executives are fit and capable of doing their job.”

The additional benefits of executive PMI, therefore, help employers to focus on recruitment and retention, while keeping executives as fit and healthy as possible.

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