Seven questions to ask your medical insurance provider.
Around 86% of organisations still choose an outside insurer to provide their employees with private medical cover, according to Watson Wyatt's 1997/8 medical benefits survey. If you offer your employees private medical benefits, you should therefore ensure that you are paying the right premium and being offered an appropriate level of service. So:
- Ask the insurer for information such as the split of claims between employees and dependants, details of outpatient and inpatient treatment costs, the conditions giving rise to claims, the hospitals being used. Using this information, ask the insurer to review how the plan is working.
- Ask how the insurer is keeping claims costs under control, particularly for your employees.
- Ask if premium rates include commission and ensure that this is rebated to you if you deal directly with the insurer.
- If you have an adviser, ask how much commission is being paid to him.
- If premiums are going up, ask the insurer to explain in detail why
- Ask the insurer for a copy of its 'service standards', which should detail what they promise to do for you. At the end of the year, ask your insurer to review how they have performed against these measures.
- Every member of your health plan who makes a claim should be asked to complete a 'customer satisfaction survey' by the insurer. At the end of the year, ask the insurer for a breakdown of results for your plan members.
If you have a question you would like one of our experts to address, write to: SME, 174 Hammersmith Road, London W6 7JP.