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.