Go

Paycare

The Product

Paycare Go is a health cash plan aimed at young adults aged 18-24 (actually 24 years three months at outset). The logic of starting at age 18 is that it is the age at which many ‘free’ NHS benefits stop. For example, many young people (unless they are in full-time education or are otherwise exempt or sometimes depending on which UK country they live in) will no longer be entitled to free prescriptions, eyecare or dentistry. However, most are likely to have little or low income, so affording such extra costs can be quite tough.

Paycare Go provides the following maximum annual benefits and a choice of two cover levels (Level 1 and Level 2):

          Level 1 Level 2

Optical charges (100% of cost up)                     £40       £80

Dental charges 100% of cost up to                    £40        £80

Specialist consultations and tests (100% up to)  £75       £150

Professional therapy (physiotherapy;
osteopathy; chiropractic; acupuncture;
homeopathy; hypnotherapy; and reflexology
(100% of cost up to)                                       £50       £100

Inoculation/vaccination (100% of cost up to)      £30      £60

There is also a 24/7 Paycare counselling and help line. Level 1 plans cost £5 a month and Level 2 plans £10 a month. At age 25, the customer is transferred onto Paycare’s Direct Plan. There is an initial 13 week waiting period, some restrictions on changing benefit levels and specialist and professional benefits cannot be claimed for pre-existing conditions. Premiums can be paid by parents or by the young person themselves.

Pros

  • Health cash plan benefits for young people who are now starting to have to pay health costs.
  • Can be funded by parents.
  • Low monthly cost.

Cons

  • Three month initial waiting period.
  • Some pre-existing conditions not covered.
  • Need to convert to another plan at age 25.

RATING:
7.5 out of 10

SELECT THIS FOR... Young people aged 18 to 24 and a quarter, and their parents.

The Company

Wolverhampton based Paycare started life in 1874 with the aim of safeguarding factory foremen from doctors’ bills. Today, the not for profit organisation is a major health cash plan provider and, since 1964, its charity trust has donated almost £2m to good causes.

Contact Details

Website: www.paycare.org

Telephone: See website for most appropriate contact numbers.

The Literature

See website for details.

What They Say

Chief executive Gail Maltby said: "We believe Paycare Go will be seen by many parents as a great way of helping their offspring stay fit and well despite them having limited finance. We have to accept that in the eyes of many young people their priorities are much more likely to be food, drink, cars, clothes and the like, rather than good health. Giving them the gift of continued good health is a thoughtful present which will almost certainly be appreciated, whether in the short or long term."

What We Say

Andy Couchman Andy Couchman

"Young people can start to do a lot of things when they get to age 18 (voting and drinking in pubs for example – although not necessarily in that order). One downside is that many previously free health benefits can, at that age or a bit older, become chargeable and, at a time when income is invariably low and expenditure high, that can be a problem.

"Paycare has recognised that and come up with an inexpensive solution that costs from little more than a pint of beer a month. For parents too, funding such a plan can make sense and saves having to work out what on earth you buy a young person for their birthday. It would be useful to have an annual premium option – making the plan ideal as a birthday present – and there are some cover limitations too, but overall this plan could appeal to parents (especially) but also to other relatives and could open up a potential new market for intermediaries too."

Tony Levene: Lack of choice - the only aspect of private healthcare that is truly transparent

"The Competition Commission's market investigation is unlikely to change much for customers" Tony Levene