Health-on-Line Provide Alternatives To Relying On NICE For Their Cancer Fighting Drugs

August 12, 2008 (PRLEAP.COM) Business News
Mike Dalby, director of online Private Medical Insurance (PMI) company, Health-on-Line, today gave a real alternative to those individuals concerned about the provision of drugs and treatments available on the NHS.

Recent reports detail the decision by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) to deny access to four specific drugs designed to treat kidney cancer, on the basis of cost. This decision has been met with anger by some charities and experts who believe this decision will mean sufferers have access to only one drug, to which, reports indicate, many individuals do not respond.

This recent report again brings to the forefront the topic of NHS budgets and drugs that can have dramatic effects on the quality of life of those diagnosed with cancer. Inevitably it will ignite the debate surrounding self payment and the current rules that state individuals are unable to pay for drugs themselves that are not available on the NHS, unless they are willing to pay for their entire treatment process. With new drugs possibly costing in the region of £30,000 a year, per patient*, there have been calls for the guidelines to be relaxed.

Whilst the decision by NICE is unfavourable to some, it is understandable when consideration is given to the ever escalating costs incurred by the NHS. At a time when NHS budgets are expected to encompass ongoing medical advances across a wide spectrum of health issues, the costly attack on superbug infections and the rising culture of compensation claims, it seems alternatives need to be considered to avoid drug denial becoming the norm.

Private medical insurance, once seen as the expensive option, can provide reassurance that should the worst occur, eligible treatment will be provided for new conditions subject to policy terms and conditions. With flexible products and pricing available PMI is becoming a more affordable choice for the general public. Most insurers will not pay for drugs that have not obtained a license from the European Medicines Agency (EMA) or those that are currently under experimentation, however, they will provide access to new drugs licensed by the EMA based on the individual's needs.

"By considering alternative healthcare options available to individuals PMI cover could help alleviate the stresses placed on the NHS. Whilst the NHS continues to provide excellent primary and emergency care, PMI can support these services by providing cover for unexpected illnesses" says Dalby. "A comprehensive PMI scheme with Health-on-Line will cost a 45 year old less than £50** a month. Considering the typical annual costs of new cancer drugs, along with the other range of benefits available under the plan, PMI can be a competitive option providing not only peace of mind, but access to some of the most commended hospitals at a time most appropriate for you and your family."

Health-on-Line offers a modular based PMI product aimed at individuals or businesses that are looking to protect themselves against the unexpected. The reports relating to tiered treatments inspired the company to introduce an additional module to the current line up. The core aspect of the scheme, called Essential Cover, already provides cover for out-patient treatment of cancer, including radiotherapy or chemotherapy, alone or in combination. Policyholders also have up to 12 months cover, subject to the policy terms and conditions, for licensed chemotherapy drug treatments (such as Herceptin and Avastin) which may be needed for a prolonged period of time. By including the option Cancer Upgrade, members could have up to 36 months of cover for these drugs.

The fact that PMI companies are taking note of the current debates concerning the provision of treatments, and taking action to provide reassurance to their members, suggests this is a subject that is here to stay, and by taking on some of the costs relating to illness allows the NHS to redistribute these funds accordingly.

*Source: BBC News
**Based on a 45 year old living outside of London, with £250 voluntary excess, Personal Choice plan Options 2 & 9. Rates correct at the time of print.

Founded in 2000, Health-on-Line is an innovative Private Medical Insurance (PMI) company based in Bournemouth. With Health-on-Line, you can tailor your PMI to meet your specific needs by providing a range of options to select from. You can obtain quotes, tailor the policy and purchase your PMI through our online system or call us on 01202 544 445. Our policies are underwritten by AXA PPP healthcare and policy holders have access to over 200 quality assured hospitals throughout the UK.