Fees insurer offers Bupa with frills

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The Independent Online
PRIME HEALTH, the medical fees insurer, has launched a health insurance policy that may prove attractive to people looking for a relatively low-cost plan with added frills.

Primecare Select covers in- patient and out-patient care at any of Bupa's 29 private hospitals.

Extra benefits include an upgraded room, free visitor meals, free overnight accommodation for relatives if the patient is seriously ill, a daily newspaper, pounds 5 of telephone calls, and a personalised nursing team. There is a limited benefit paid for recuperative care.

The Prime policy, like most medical fees insurance, does not cover medical conditions that existed during the previous five years.

If someone needs treatment for a pre-existing condition, Prime will negotiate a fixed price for the operation with a Bupa hospital. Subject to status, the policyholder will be eligible for an interest-free loan from the Bupa hospital of 90 per cent of the agreed fixed cost spread over 12 months.

Bupa has two arms - health insurance and its private hospitals. Bupa health insurance policyholders will no doubt want to know why Prime has a more attractive package with Bupa hospitals than the nearest equivalent Bupa policy, Bupa LocalCare.

LocalCare policyholders are limited to one designated hospital nearest to them. There is no frills package and no provision for an interest-free loan.

The monthly premium with Prime for a single person of 28 is pounds 17.60. The premium for the Bupa policy is pounds 18.34 a month or, with a pounds 150 excess on claims, pounds 14.73.

The insurer OHRA is to allow policyholders to have private treament in one of 18 French hospitals.

The French option does not cost any extra. It is designed for people on holiday in France, on business, or with second homes there. People resident in the UK whose general practitioner will refer them have to pay their own travel costs.

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