30 Sep

Group Private Medical Insurance Doesn’t Have To Be Expensive Thanks To “Bolt Offs”


For HR Directors and Financial Directors in organisations across the country, private medical insurance for staff is one of those employee benefits that sounds so useful but which sounds equally expensive. It doesn’t, however, have to be as expensive as many think it is with most providers offering "bolt offs", a mechanism which can make PMI a lot cheaper.

We’ve all heard of "bolt ons" and anyone who has ever tried to buy even a simple mobile phone contract will probably be sick of the term. Less familiar, however, is the term "bolt offs" yet this could be the difference between a group private medical insurance (PMI) scheme being too expensive for a company or being within their budget’s reach.

While most providers offer a PMI solution that has a default core cover, there is also usually the chance to add on to or take away from that core cover, with the cost of the cover adjusting accordingly. We’re all used to the idea of optional extras, but the idea of removing some aspects of a core package to reduce the cost is alien to many.

Take, for example, Aviva’s Solutions corporate healthcare package. The core cover includes the normal things like hospital charges, diagnostics tests, radiotherapy & chemotherapy, specialists’ fees, overseas cover, ambulance costs and some other basic healthcare benefits. Buyers then also have the option to add to or, more interestingly for some HR and Finance Directors, take away from that core cover.

There is the ‘Six Week Option’ for instance, which can reduce the costs of the package by up to 25% by changing the policy to mean that employees looking for treatment and who find that the NHS waiting list is less than six weeks will not be covered. If the waiting list is over six weeks then the private medical insurance package would cover the employee as normal.

Introducing a member excess option which sees an excess paid once per person each year can also reduce costs for a company to make private medical insurance an affordable option. Even though some members of staff may not be thrilled at having to pay a little towards their private healthcare costs themselves, most will be happy to contribute a little if it makes it possible for their employer to offer PMI as an employee benefit.

With discounts to the core cover for selecting the member excess option ranging from 7% to 18%, this option could be the difference between corporate private medical insurance being affordable or not.

Opportunities to reduce the number of hospitals included in the cover, the number of non-essential treatments included and the kinds of out-patient care included are also available and can all reduce the costs of a group private medical insurance scheme drastically.

There are several private medical insurance providers out there to consider and most provide such an option with the chance to tailor the healthcare cover in order to reduce costs. All of a sudden, private medical insurance could be an affordable employee benefit for some business.


If you’re not sure how well-suited your organisation is for a group private medical insurance scheme or want to know if bolt offs could make it a realistic option for you then do get in touch and we can talk you through your options and outline the exact costs of the various options available to you.

Photo credit goes to phalinn

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