Health insurer WPA is giving a second premium rebate to its PMI customers which will be paid by the end of June.
It is expected this will be worth a total of £3.7m, a similar amount to the rebate offered in April to reflect the reduction in claims as a result of Covid-19 and reduced access to elective care.
Private hospital providers have made facilities available to the NHS to help cope with the increased demand due to coronavirus. This has restricted access to non-emergency operations and treatment available under corporate PMI plans.
WPA was the first insurer to announce it was paying a rebate. Other insurers have followed suit, although not all are making payments at present. A number of larger insurers have said they will calculate any rebate over a two year period, as claims are expected to rise steeply once the immediate crisis is over.
WPA chief executive Nathan Irwin says: “The lockdown period from March to June restricted healthcare in both the NHS and private sectors.
“This meant that customers with clinically urgent requirements were still able to access care, but less serious procedures were postponed.
“Across all of our customers, the April payment totalled £3.7m and this latest payment will be similar.”
He says lockdown restrictions easing and private hospitals increasing the number of routine procedures, the company expects there will be a significant backlog of postponed treatments and claims will begin to rise quickly.
He adds: “We remain committed to not profiting from this pandemic and will observe claims levels over the coming months before determining whether any further rebates are appropriate.”
The NHS/private hospital contract is due to finish at the end of June although NHS use of private facilities is expected to extend into a second contract. On a practical level, it is likely that the availability of private facilities will vary by hospital and by region over the coming weeks.
WPA are continually working with the private hospital networks to facilitate access for customers and have confirmed that Covid-19 antigen tests will be covered where this is required as part of a treatment plan.