Independent Broker Says Bupa’s Open Referral System Could Become The “Norm” For Medical Insurance
Bupa’s announcement to introduce an open referral system for their customers has been met by a mixed response from the medical insurance industry.
Whilst some commentators are completely opposed to the change, independent medical insurance brokers M&L Healthcare Solutions (http://www.mlhs.co.uk/) say the move may not be a bad thing.
M&L Healthcare Solutions was formed in October 2011 by business partners Simon Lively and Steven Maguire who used to work for Bupa. They provide specialist independent advice to consumers looking for affordable healthcare insurance cover to ensure the right level of cover for their needs.
They also boast a knowledgeable team with over 100 years combined experience in the medical insurance industry, leaving them perfectly positioned to comment on the recent move by Bupa.
Senior Partner Simon Lively explained, “The open referral system potentially takes away members choices about which consultants they see, and which hospitals they’re treated by. The flipside of this is by introducing this new system Bupa should be able to improve its claims spend, and those savings would probably be passed on to the customers in the form of lower premium increases.”
Although an open referral system does go against the basic principal of traditional medical insurance which gives patients and their GP more control over who treats them, Mr Lively believes the change in policy by the largest provider of medical insurance in the UK could lead to other insurers following suit.
“If Bupa manage to save money, maintain quality/service levels and consumers warm to the new system, then it’s quite possible other insurers will introduce an open referral system themselves. Of course if their membership levels and market share drops then they may rethink their strategy,” he says.
Clearly, other leading insurance providers are waiting to see how the move pans out before deciding what to do, but with the coalition government making sweeping changes to the NHS, more people than ever could turn to private medical insurance regardless of an open referral system.
“I think we’ll just have to wait and see what the market decides. Whilst choice of Consultant and hospital will always be important to consumers, in a tough economy saving money on your premium is also a major consideration,” says Mr Lively.
“Whatever happens we’ll make sure M&L Healthcare Solutions is on hand to explain the new system to consumers, so they fully understand the implications of any medical insurance cover they buy.”
M&L Healthcare Solutions is an independent medical insurance broker based in Cambridge. The company aims to give its customers value for money and peace of mind. M&L Healthcare Solutions offers advice on private and business cover.
They’re not affiliated with any insurance companies, so you can be confident the advice you receive is completely impartial.