Bupa pays tax-free benefits

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The Independent Online
BUPA, the largest independent healthcare organisation, has launched a scheme that pays tax- free cash benefits if you have to stay in an NHS or private hospital. The policy also offers payments towards the cost of pregnancy and optical and dental treatments, writes Sue Fieldman.

HealthCash has three levels of cover. At the lowest level the pay- out is pounds 30 a night for each night spent as a hospital in-patient, pounds 15 daily benefit for day-case surgery, and an extra pounds 250 long-stay benefit if you are in hospital for more than 14 days. You also get pounds 50 for dental care, pounds 50 for optical treatment and pounds 100 for pregnancy.

The cost for a single person in the 18-39 age group taking the lowest level of cover is pounds 3.90 a month. Married couples pay pounds 7.40. Premiums increase with age.

On 2 September, Prime Health will launch its Lifestyle hospital and medical cash plan, which will pay pounds 30 a night and a single cash payment of up to pounds 5,000 for a critical illness. The monthly cost for a single person is pounds 8.30 for the lowest level of cover.

The cheapest cover with HSA, the traditional player in the market, is pounds 1.20 a week.

Remember that these policies are not traditional medical fees insurance. Bupa may be synonymous with paying for operations, surgeons and drugs, but its HealthCash policy and all the other cash benefit schemes only pay pre-agreed cash sums.

Bupa 0800 600555; Prime Health 0483 303176; HSA 0264 353211

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