The Western Provident Association (WPA) has launched its new Health Top-Up cash plan, which is intended to supplement basic NHS care by covering costs that the Government body will not. Specifically, these costs will come from life-prolonging drugs that have been rejected for NHS provision.
The cash plans are cheaper than private insurance, which have seen premiums skyrocket because of the cost of newly available ‘miracle’ drugs. Cash plans are stripped-down, and do not provide full insurance. They do, however step in when the Government’s cancer fund—which pays for rejected drugs if doctors believe patients would significantly benefit from them—says no.
A significant example of NHS-rejected drugs is Avastin, a ten-month course of treatment for bowel cancer, which costs £18,000. Some believe that treatments for cancers even rarer than this could suffer because of the number of applications that will likely be made to the Government cancer fund.
The Health Top-Up scheme’s premiums range between £7.37 and £18.98 per month, with cancer coverage costing an additional £4.20 a month. The lifetime limit is £50,000 for drug payouts, and covers people aged up to 65 with no history of cancer in their immediate family. Smokers pay a £10 additional premium per month.
The only similar alternatives are critical illness policies, which pay out lump sums if patients are diagnosed with one of a range of serious diseases, including cancer.