Monday, December 19, 2011

Health News - private hospital satisfaction

Private hospitals achieve good patient ratings reports Health Insurance magazine this week, with the encouraging figures coming from the latest Dr Foster hospital guide. While the data only relates to patients who were in receipt of knee and hip replacements, this goes some way to illustrating the wider patient sentiment regarding private hospitals. Dr Foster's website decribes its service in the following way: "Dr Foster produces authoritative and independent guides to health services in the public and private sectors. Dr Foster's aim is not only to inform, but also to act as a catalyst for change." 

Health sites like Dr Foster - plus all the new diagnostic and treatment apps available, and on top of that, the many health blogs available - mean that it is very much a changed landscape these days. And with the more information available to the public, it means that the public's reactions, responses and manner of consumption are likely to become more sophisticated as time progresses and more information becomes available.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Miracle cancer drug...

Interesting news report over at Gizmodo concerning a "miracle drug" that has kept cancer at bay for 70 year old American, Don Wright.

Don has run 60 marathons in 41 US states since being diagnosed with myeloma (a form of cancer affecting white blood cells) eight years ago.

Amazingly, Mr Wright only takes one pill a day (pomalidomide) and has more trouble with his knee than with his illness.

In other cancer news, this week it emerged that patients in Wales could be asked to rate their care
as the government plans a major overhaul of services there. This is part of an overall strategy for cancer care in Wales entitled Together Against Cancer, with improvements intended to be rolled out by 2016. More info from walesonline.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Labour Question Patient Health Risks

Labour have accused the government of putting patient safety at risk by implementing the new NHS changes.  Risk assessments carried out by local health trusts have uncovered concern about the ability for facilities to cope with the increased workload involved in implementing massive structural changes and cost cutting, alongside maintaining the standard of patient care.

This week sees the Health and Social Care Bill enter yet another committee stage in the House of Lords. The controversial bill could lead to the abolition of strategic health authorities and primary care trusts, and could allow hospitals to fill budget shortfalls by catering for people with private health insurance.

There is widespread concern for the future care of the elderly, children and pregnant women in particular, with all being especially vulnerable and likely to suffer most from sub standard care. It is expected that the increased workload could lead to higher rates of sickness absence, further jeopardising patient care.

The big issue Labour have at the moment is the disclosure of the risk level, however the government claim the risk information has been published twice in 2011 as part of the impact assessment. It looks like the controversy over the bill is set to continue for some time, with few parties agreeing on the best way forward. 

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Monday, November 28, 2011

Supreme Court To Review Healthcare Reforms

West face of the United States Supreme Court b...
Image via Wikipedia

The issue of health insurance seems to always be in the news in America, especially in the last couple of years as a result of the reforms which were passed last year.

The system is vastly different to the one in the UK, with almost all Americans required to have a health insurance policy or they will be fined through the tax system. The Supreme Court is set to rule next year on the recent reforms to ascertain if they are in line with the US constitution.

It has been a source of constant debate, with the majority of candidates in the recent presidential debates condemning the new laws, in particular the penalty aspect.

The conservative argument in favour of the reforms is that most responsible adults, in particular those with families, will get a health insurance policy. Either they will be covered though a business health insurance policy at their job or they will purchase it themselves. The cost of care is far too expensive for those who do not have insurance therefore the costs are outweighed by the benefits.

There are some people who will not be able to obtain a policy, perhaps those with high risk factors or pre-existing conditions, because the cost will be too high. Even some healthy individuals may find the cost of a policy too high. These are the people set to gain the most from healthcare reform, by either getting access to much more affordable health insurance or by being exempt from the penalties.

It will be interesting to monitor this situation in the coming months. It really makes the healthcare system in the UK seems far less complex. 

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Friday, November 25, 2011

Primary Care Trusts Banning Approved Medication

Some medications approved by the NHS are being banned by some health trusts as they are too expensive. Medicines blacklisted include treatments for asthma, diabetes, epilepsy, cancer and heart disease despite being approved by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice).

An investigation carried out by GP newspaper found that round 25% of trusts have banned the use of Nice medications. A freedom of information request found that 33 of the 71 primary care trusts had a blacklist, with 18 of those including medications on the Nice list.

If a doctor deems a drug approved by Nice to be clinically appropriate then according to the NHS constitution the patient has the right to receive it. The care trust lists contains medications which are classed as “not prescribable” or not effective enough.

The Department of Health say there is no excuse for PCT’s to be denying patients access to medication if their doctor thinks it is necessary.

Those not wishing to be at the mercy of the NHS have been looking at private health insurance, with the sector continuing to perform well. While there is often a cap on the amount companies will spend on medications they are far more flexible when it comes to prescribing certain medications. 

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Monday, November 21, 2011

Online clinic on prostate disease

Do you know all you should about the risks of prostate disease?

Running from 25th November until 1st December - TalkHealth in conjunction with prostate Action, AXA PPP healthcare, and NHS Choices - are running an online clinic on prostate disease, where a team of experts will be on hand with advice on everything prostate related - from prevention of prostate disease, to managing prostate conditions.

The online clinic is easy to use, so why not head across and find out more about this important subject. Prostate disease is actually a lot more common than many of us realise, so if you'd like information, advice or guidance - head on over. If you're a concerned partner and the man in your life is too shy to discuss the subject - no problem - just log in and find out more on his behalf!

More info here -

Thursday, November 10, 2011

US Health Insurance Debate Goes On

It's interesting watching all the debate about the healthcare reforms in the USA and seeing just how difficult some people find it to get health insurance. Some have to work 7 days a week at different jobs just to get cover for their family, which really makes you appreciate the free NHS care available for everyone in the UK. Health insurance gets you the best quality care, but those not in a position to buy a policy still have access to healthcare.

Strangely, some people seem to see the problem as a lack of effort from other citizens (image from here)
It's not an ideal scenario, so those fortunate enough to have good jobs which provide medical insurance can really consider themselves lucky. The rest will just have to find a way to work within the system for the time being.
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Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Cancer Diagnosis Times Fall

The NHS has managed to significantly reduce cancer diagnosis times across the UK, according to official figures.

At the turn of the millennium it took on average 96 days from the first GP visit to diagnose bowel cancer, while now it is only 75 days. Oesophageal cancerdiagnosis times were also reduced from 59 to 48 days. Several other cancers showed a slight drop, but none as significant as bowel and oesophageal cancers.

Researchers trying to find the main causes of the improvement have highlighted the nationwide rollout of guidance in 2005 which helped doctors decide where a patient should be referred for treatment.

The Department of Health has invested £450m to improve its cancer strategy and improve diagnosis times, aiming to close the gap on the best healthcare systems when it comes to survival rates. 

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Monday, November 7, 2011

Finding The Right Health Insurance Policy

Doing the proper research is important when searching for a health insurance policy. It is a complicated market, but by considering as many of the important factors as possible you should be able to find the ideal coverage.

First you should consider the level of cover you require. Standard inclusions are usually the cost or any stays in hospital and any fees which may be incurred through visits to consultants. You should also be covered for any surgery required providing it is not for a pre existing condition. Beyond these standard inclusions many policies can be highly customised and there are many options available. 

To help you determine exactly what you would like covered by your policy it is a good idea to make a list of the things you would like to incorporate. If you need glasses or contact lenses it might be a good idea to include an optical care component. This could reimburse you for a set percentage of the cost of eye tests, frames or lenses. 

For women considering having children in the near future a maternity care component may be a worthwhile investment. Many insurers also offer a dentistry option which will refund some or all of the cost of any dental work you may require. If you can put together a list of things you really want it will be easier to reject any other potential additions to the policy when it is time to purchase. 

If you have a particular doctor or specialist you like to visit you should check if they are included in the insurers preferred treatment network. The more expensive policies will allow you to make use of a far wider range of doctors and facilities, but you will certainly pay for the privilege. You should enquire about the treatment network to ensure there are good facilities close to where you live. Should you require longer term care it will be far better to be closer to home than at the other side of the country. 

The last thing to consider is how much you can afford to pay. Once you have outlined your needs you need to find one which bests matches them as well as your budget. Many employers will offer a group health insurance plan which could save you money, so it's worth checking to see if your place of work provides this. If you start getting quotes which are too expensive you may need to reconsider which elements are really essential and remove some of those which you do not need. 

There is an overwhelming amount of information available at times, so it is important to take your time and make sure you understand everything before committing to a policy. There are services available that will evaluate your needs and find you the best policy available, so if you are lacking time or are not confident about doing your own research it can be worthwhile looking into these services.  

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Wednesday, November 2, 2011

NHS Breached Personal Data 806 times in the Last Three Years

Recent figures from privacy campaign group Big Brother Watch have shown that 806 separate incidents, involving patient medical records being compromised, have taken place at 152 NHS trusts between July 2008 and July 2011.
The group had access to the majority of NHS organisations in the UK and found several breaches of confidentiality including 23 incidents where patient information was posted on social networks, 129 separate incidents where employees were looking up at the details of colleagues and relatives; moreover on 57 occasions confidential information was lost or stolen by staff.
Surely these findings are likely to tarnish the NHS reputation and erode patient’s confidence; as Nick Pickles, director of Big Brother Watch, said: “This research highlights how the NHS is simply not doing enough to ensure that confidential information is protected”

Monday, October 31, 2011

US Health Insurance Costs Rising

Businesses and staff in the US are struggling to meet the increasing cost of health insurance policies, with the cost of yearly family premiums growing at a faster rate than wages.

The country is still dealing with economic issues, however premiums have risen an average of 8% compared to last year which exceeds the wage rise an average employee will have received.

The US system largely relies on employer provision of healthcare but worryingly there is a year on year decrease in the amount of people covered by their employer. Most schemes involve workers contributing towards the policy to allow it to cover their family too, with the average employee contributing 28% of the cost. This is an increase of 131% when compared to 10 years ago.

While no specific reasons have been given for the above inflation increase it has been widely suggested that insurance companies set their premiums in anticipation of the economy improving, which unfortunately has not yet happened.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Healthcare For The Self Employed

Many businesses large and small provide health insurance to their employees, but those who are self employed will need to arrange a policy themselves to cover any unforeseen illnesses.
One of the real advantages of working for someone else is the knowledge that you and your family can be protected through a company health insurance plan, with many people considering this a key component of their benefits package.
As a result it is important for self employed workers to have fast access to high quality healthcare to allow them to return to work as quickly as possible. Most insurers offer coverage to businesses, so it’s advisable to get a small business health insurance quote to ensure you are covered.
Policies will be available that cover just the individual, their spouse and even their immediate family. The cost of the policy will increase depending on the number of people included, so make sure to find something that suits your budget.
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Thursday, October 13, 2011

Healthcare at the heart of America Election Race

Even though the US presidential elections are still one year down the line, the battle to secure the nomination of the Republican Party is on full swing. As expected healthcare policies are very much a hot topic in the recent debates between the candidates.
Mitt Romney, former governor of Massachusetts, has taken much flack due the healthcare reforms that he pioneered when he was in charge. These reforms, which aimed to make healthcare universal, are very similar to the individual mandate introduced by Obama that forces individuals to buy a private medical insurance policy.

The following video by front runner Rick Perry, former governor of Texas, is an example of the animadversion that Romney's healthcare policies as a governor of Massachusetts generate accross the certain sections of the Republican Party.

You can watch the video here.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Getting the most from dog insurance

Our usual focus for this blog is of course on the myriad of topics around health insurance for people – however, as this is an ‘overall’ insurance blog we thought it may be useful to focus on the topic of dog insurance.

Peace of mind for you and your dog

We love dogs, but we are all too aware that their inquisitive nature of man’s best friend can get them into some potentially dangerous situations, which unfortunately can lead to consequences requiring some financial outlay. This is where a dog insurance plan can help to at least give you peace of mind should your dog require help of some kind.

Dog insurance policies - what they include

In line with the rest of the health insurance sector, there are differences between each dog insurance policy offered by the top insurers: including PetPlan, Animal Friends, Buddies and the RSPCA. What we would say is that there are a few key policy strands that you should insure are in place when considering a dog policy, these can be:

  • Complementary treatment
  • Help with behavioural problems 
  • Overseas vet fees
  • Personal liability
  • Dental care for your dog
  • Minding services
  • Kennel fees if there's an emergency
  • Vets fees in general

Shop around for dog insurance

As insurance experts advise, when considering taking out any sort of policy - its best to shop around. Get a dog insurance quote from a number of sources before making your final decision.

Are there any key elements that we have missed?
What dog policy do you consider to be the best?

Leave us a comment to let us know.............thanks!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Healthy Minds

Today is World Mental health Day - so if you're on Twitter and want to Tweet it to your followers, the hashtag is #worldmentalhealthday

The day seems to have really taken off on Twitter which should help raise awareness to a great degree, with all manner of celebrities using the hashtag and letting their followers in on this good cause.

There's not so much happening on YouTube, but I did find this video - check it out:

Friday, October 7, 2011

Would you get dental care abroad to save money?

According to a recent news report, private dental car in the UK is becoming so expensive that a growing number of patients are travelling to Eastern Europe for dental care, where treatment is remains much cheaper.

At the moment an average UK private dental check up bill can cost over a hundred pounds, but many people are now discovering that more expensive treatments can be obtained in countries such as Hungary and Poland. A number of health based travel company's have now been set up to offer packages to deal with the demand, with some claiming to offer flights, accommodation and treatment for less than a standard private dental operation in Britain. According to the operator Dentist Abroad, 70,000 people travelled abroad for treatment, but this figure comes with a warning - as the British dental association reports that 29% of these people had to be treated in the UK for complications after treatment abroad. Anyone considering treatment abroad is urged to check qualifications and the history of their chosen dentist, as regulations may not be as strict as they are in the UK.

However, with great saving to be made on health cash plans, there are ways to get private dental care without running up huge costs or having to arrange holiday days. Would you consider getting dental treatment abroad?

Can green tea stop us piling on the pounds?

Weight management is an important issue for many of us, and the benefits of being within a healthy weight range extend to everything from reduced risks of diabetes, to a longer lifespan.

And although we all know that eating sensibly and exercising is a good way to maintain the weight, it's sometimes good to know we can have a helping hand. This is where green tea might come in useful - as a recent study has shown that it may help slow weight gain.

The study revealed the effects after overweight mice were given compund epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) - which is commonly found in green tea. The mice, who were also fed a high fat diet, put on weight 45% more slowly than another group of mice being fed the same diet, without the green tea.

And instead of suppressing the appetite (as green tea is often thought to be useful for) - EGCG was shown to slow down the bodies ability to absorb fat, and help burn it more effectively.

Will you be drinking more green tea to help maintain your weight?


Thursday, September 29, 2011

Backpain at work: Can your employer help?

Ever return home from work with a sore back? You're not the only one - and around a quarter of the UK population will suffer from back pain at some point in their lives.

Many cases of back pain can be brought on by long sitting or standing periods at work, and anything from the wrong safety equipment to the height of your chair or computer screen could contribute to these aches and pains.

But there are some things that employers can do to promote back safety in the workplace, and a number of regulations are in place to ensure these standards are upheld. Here are some of the ways your employer can help promote good backcare in the workplace:

Risk Assesment: All employers should adhere to goverment guidelines perform health and safety risk assesments, which an assesment of back safety in the workplace. Knowing about these can help ensure you know what is and isn't acceptable at work.

Handling goods: There are a number of back pain regulations surrounding the manual handling of goods at work, and a few things employers can do to make things safer for the backs of their staff members, such as putting wheels on heavy crates or implementing lifts for heavy materials. Keeping yourself up to date on these regulations mean that you will know exactly what your workplace should be providing, and enable you to make informed decisions when it comes to looking after your back at work.

Chairs and equipment: All chairs and computer equipment should be appropriately levelled so as not to harm the backs of employees when sitting for long periods of time. This NHS guide offers some more information on the chair and computer adjustments that can be made to reduce back pain.

Access to medical advice: Bigger organisations sometimes give employees the chance to seek medical advice from a company doctor or offer free or affordable business health insurance so you can get checked up if you ever have back pain. Access to this advice will make sure you know what you should and shouldn't be doing at work when your back is sore - and you can also get advice about the ways to strengthen it and keep it healthy out of the office too.

Keeping active: Staying active and not sitting or standing in the same position for too long is recommended to keep backs healthy. Employers should encourage or allow movement around the workplace at regular breaks, so you are never left in the same position for too long.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Benefits of Telemedicine

Nowadays almost every person in the UK has access to the internet either at home or at work, yet it is hard to find examples where internet enabled healthcare is applied. According to a report by the NHS Confederation, the NHS is behind the rest of the world when it comes to telemedicine; the underlying part of this problem is the assumption that patients are always in favour of remote consultation.

Telemedicine is an especially attractive proposition for those patients that live in rural areas, one example of a successful application it is the remote stroke consultation where doctors can use video to talk to their patients as well as viewing their scans from a laptop. This allows them to make swift care decisions on treatment that can be provided at the local’s patient unit. A quick delivery of drugs is essential when it comes to minimizing the effects of a stroke; according to the North Cumbria University hospitals trust, the introduction of this service will mean that 24 more patients in the area will survive a stroke each year.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Healthcare UK - all we hoped it would be?

Interesting story in the Mirror recently about the child healthcare index and the UK's placing.

Being a G8 country you'd guess (not unreasonably) that we'd be in the top 8 countries worldwide for child healthcare - but no. We're 14th. That's nine places behind Belarus and 11 places behind Ireland.

Story here - what do you think of the UK's index placing of 14th?

Monday, September 12, 2011

Will calorie labeling make healthy eating easier?

This week McDonalds will start displaying calorie information in all 1,200 of thier UK fast food outlets, as part governments plans to encourage calorie labeling in restaurants - designed to help encourage people to choose a healthier option as they order in restaurants.

The goverment's responsibility deal aims to give people choice, and encourage healthy eating even in the depths of a fast food outlet - notorious for serving meals with an unexpectedly high calorie content. Coffee shops are keen to get on board too, which chains like Starbucks signing up - which the goverment hopes will help encourage more people to choose options like an Americano, with just 17 calories, over a hot chocolate with whipped cream, which can have up to 556 calories.

Some people, however, have questioned the effectiveness of such a scheme - with some claiming that anyone entering a fast food restaurant is surely aware that the calorie content of most of the food is high, meaning that they are unlikely to change their mind upon seeing a healthier option.

But for those who are trying to keep healthy, the move is likely to be welcomed - and at least this way we can be sure that an innocent enough looking coffee or sandwhich won't turn out to be half of our daily calorie intake.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Reflexology heals a facial scar: But can it help you?

The word reflexology is probably most commonly known for stress reduction, or the healing of aching bones - but a recent Telegraph article has reported on the use of the treatment to reduce a scar on a woman's cheek.

Caroline Boucher was left with a large facial scar after undergoing several surgergies and a skin graft to remove and treat malignant melanoma - but after eight months of weekly reflexology treatments, the scar is now far less prominent.This has the potential to bring new uses to the treatment, which has a mixed reception in the medical world - with some praising and some dismissing the usefullness of reflexology.Often thought of as an alternative therapy, lots of private health insurance providers are now offering reflexology for conditions like frozen shoulder. So what is it? And is it any good?

Reflexology is a treatment which involves massaging hands, feet and ears with specific parts of the hands and fingers - to treat other areas of the body through corresponding 'reflex areas'.The treatment dates back thousands of years, having first been practised (albeit in a slightly different way) in ancient China and Egypt.

This BBC health video on reflexology is quite interesting, and explains the benefits and background of the treatment well. what do you think about reflexology?

Friday, September 9, 2011

9/11 Cancer Link

The Fire Department of New York City has carried out some research that proves that the fire fighters who were involved in the rescue efforts of the terror attacks on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, have a higher risk of developing cancer.
The findings of this research will be published in the medical journal “the Lancet”. This research argues that the exposure to toxic debris causes an increase in cancer risk as well as developing other ailments such as asthma. Ten years after the infamous attacks the number of members of the fire and police departments who have died from cancer surpasses the death toll of those who perished on the day of the attacks.
Quite shockingly the US government does not recognize this association and as a result does not provide healthcare cover to the cancer patients who risked their lives ten years ago. This situation is likely to spark controversy on the 10th year anniversary of the attacks.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Small Businesses Are Overpaying For Health Insurance

An article in American Economic Review has discovered that the majority of small businesses are over paying for small business health insurance.

The over payments are linked to the trouble some small businesses have comparing numerous quotes for health insurance, which increases the average paid by around 29%. Small businesses show a trend of switching policies frequently, something which can be costly. The suggestion is that policies offering similar coverage are being sold at a wide variety of prices, suggesting there is some obstacle to competition which would see most similar products sold at similar prices.

The massive variations in coverage offered by the insurance providers, alongside the different prices, makes the choice difficult for small businesses to find the best deal. The excessive policy switching also makes it difficult for insurers to price up the plans as it's not clear how long the customer will stick with them. These factors combine to create a volatile and ultimately costly marketplace where small businesses are the real losers.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Huge Increase in Travel Insurance Claims

The amount claimed from travel insurance policies has increased almost 400% in the last few years, with insurers claiming the increase in older people indulging in exotic foreign holidays and those taking a 'gap year for grown ups' are responsible. The outgoings for overseas illness had increased to £275m in 2010, up from just £74m in 2004.

With travellers over 65 three times as likely to claim as those under 35, and those over 85 8 times more likely, the increased average age of travellers is being held responsible for the increase in claims. With UK travellers venturing beyond the EU the European Health Insurance Card fails to bear the brunt of the cost of care, leaving insurers with the bill.

Given the nature of the industry it's hard to imagine this increase in outgoings won't be mirrored by an increase in profits. The underwriters in the industry are more than aware of the risks in insuring older travellers and will no doubt have their figures correct. The advice to travellers is to make sure not to just select the cheapest health insurance quote, but to ensure you pick one which covers all your needs should you require to claim.


Friday, August 19, 2011

Healthy news, healthy views ...

Being a cheery lot here at Your Private Healthcare Insurance Blog, we're not ones to dwell on some of the - what shall we term them? - challenging economic headwinds that blow from time to time.

There are many ways in which we can all stay physically and financially healthy - insurance being one of these - but of course it pays to be mindful to the whole panoply of health assistance out there.

Some examples of this kind of thing would include keeping up to date with the health pages of the broadsheet newspapers - always worth a read, and they don't just report on developments within the healthcare and medicine industries - there's also a wealth of advice in there too about how to keep yourself in good shape - I think the Telegraph even has an expatriate health section - which shows just how comprehensive the info available at your fingertips is these days.

Of course it's always a good idea to put health ideas into practise - whether it's reviewing your health finances or just taking up an interest in healthy eating and cooking.

In fact, some days it's probably best to go straight to the health pages - oh, okay, maybe the football pages too. And the crossword. And not forgetting the TV listings too...

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Health benefits at work: what do staff want?

Most workplaces offer at least some employee benefits, which can be a great way to raise morale levels and increase staff loyalty.

The perks offered can vary from things such as discount childcare, to free parking - but according to a recent article in The Guardian, many employees are becoming increasingly worried about the financial impact of poor health and periods of absence.

The article reports that 1/3 of workers are worried about falling ill and not getting paid, while 11% of staff have taken at least six months off already throughout 2011.

So in light of these recent figures, should more employers be offering business medical insurance and income protection for times of illness?

Medical insurance is generally accepted as a valuable staff benefit, which in turn is useful to the employer too – as bmi can offer things such as Saturday appointments, and reduced waiting lists, which may help reduce sickness absence. And if staff know that their employer is dedicated to keeping them healthy and helping them get back to work quicker after a period of illness, it is possible that, coupled with income protection, private medical insurance could be a preferred benefit over discounted childcare and car parking.

What do you think? Would you like your workplace to provide medical insurance?

Friday, August 12, 2011

National Health Insurance For South Africa

Yesterday the South African government announced the approval of a national health insurance plan to replace the outdated and weak public facilities currently available. The pilot scheme should begin next year, with a full national roll-out estimated to take around 14 years.

The finance minister Pravin Gordhan advised the new scheme would be funded through tax revenue, additional mandatory contributions from employers and and there is the possibility of combining with the private sector to offer plans for treatments and services not covered by the main scheme.

The country's current quality healthcare is almost entirely provided by the private sector, which is only available to around 16% of the current population. The remainder of the 50 million population rely on public hospitals, which are overburdened and under staffed under the current system. The legislation will be drawn up in the coming days.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

New urine Test for Cancer

Recent research has discovered a new urine test which can screen men for prostate cancer.

Currently doctors use blood tests as a way to look for elevated levels of a protein called serum prostate-specific antigen (PSA), however this protein can exhibit a high level for other reasons than cancer. As a result there are currently many misdiagnoses and plenty of unnecessary biopsies.

The results of the recent study displayed a very strong correlation with urine tests and the aggressiveness of the cancer. According to chief researcher, Scott Tomlins, the results of the tests are an excellent way to segment men according to their probability of having cancer, which subsequently helps deciding whether it is necessary to have a biopsy or not.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011


We are delighted to announce the acquisition of IUS Pty Ltd (IUS), Australia’s largest provider of  income protection insurance as an employee benefit . IUS was founded 15 years ago by Peter Grzonkowski and is a recognised market leader.
Coverforce welcomes IUS’s Directors George Hodgson and Colin Pausey to its Board and senior management. George and Colin have proven capability and will bring valuable knowledge and experience to the company.  
Coverforce Chief Executive, Jim Angelis said “The acquisition of IUS is meaningful to Coverforce and represents a continuation of our growth strategy. With almost $50 million in annual gross written premium, IUS adds considerable scale to our business.

Coverforce was founded in 1994 and provides  insurance to business, professions and industry groups. Coverforce is a top five Australian owned  insurance broker by size. Annual gross written premium exceeds $100 million.
For further information visit our website at  or
contact Jim Angelis on 02 8814 7777

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Key Man (Key Person) Insurance for Businesses – is it really a necessity?

Industry Insider: Malcolm Jones 

Hi Malcolm, as a financial advisor, how long have you been dealing with Key Man and other life Insurances?

I started back in 1968 and still going – so it’s been quite a long time.

Amazing that’s nearly 43 years, has Key Man insurance been around since you started, or is it a relatively new insurance?

No, it’s not new. Key Man Insurance has been around since I started, but it was never as popular or as important as it has become today. It’s also become known as Key Person insurance, a relatively new term reflecting the changes in the modern workplace, where many more women are now holding Key positions within businesses.

Why do you think it’s become more important today?

Put simply, businesses are carrying more debt these days than they ever have in the past, and this has left them more exposed than ever.  The problem isn’t the debt itself - it’s actually that a lot of it is guaranteed by a key person in the business, generally a shareholder who is independently wealthy. If this person were to die, then the loans guaranteed by them become immediately payable, in full and in cash, as the security is no longer there.
Key Man insurance provides that cash up front to Cover expenses such as these; this is the reason many banks will request a Key Man policy as a requirement of loan approval. On these policies, the bank is actually noted as a beneficiary.

So, what is Key Man (Key Person) Insurance, and what does it cover for?

Key Man insurance is a life insurance policy owned by a corporation, and taken out on an employee. In the event of a claim - the beneficiary is the corporation.

A Key Man policy covers the corporation against financial losses arising due to the death or permanent disablement of the key person.

These losses can be substantial and quite varied, and include things like:
  • the costs of purchasing shares from the deceased estate to maintain control of the business
  • paying corporate recruitment & training fees, plus a starting bonus and/or salary packaging which may be required to entice a similarly skilled person into the position.
  • paying out or refinancing loans guaranteed by the deceased
  • meeting business expenses and maintaining business value whilst undergoing this transition
Though the beneficiary on the policy is the corporation itself, Key Person policies also benefit a surviving spouse or other beneficiaries of the deceased estate, this is because they help to ensure that the equity value of any shares held in the business remain unchanged from their previous values, (prior to the key persons death or permanent disablement). This means that the value of the deceased estate is not diminished.

Does a Key Person have to be a shareholder?

No they don’t. A key person is anyone the corporation feels would cause it to suffer a substantial financial loss should they die or become permanently disabled.

This can be a shareholder or course, but it could also be a mid level manager with important contacts and personal relationships, or highly skilled employees like scientists, programmers or engineers working on business critical projects.

 Where can I go to find more information?

To find out more about Key Man Insurance, simply contact me (Malcolm Jones) on 02 8814 7777 or 0409 603 121.

Important Note: The above information is to be used as a guide only. For more detailed information please contact Malcolm Jones at Coverforce on 02 8814 7777 or 0409 603 121 or refer to your PDS (Product Disclosure Statement).

Malcolm Jones - Financial Advisor is an Authorised representative of AAA Financial Intelligence Ltd AFSL: 312478 ABN: 23 093 616 445 Representative number: 267643