Insurance firms target top-ups

Health insurance companies are looking to capitalise on the government's U-turn on top-up treatments.

Following the announcement by health secretary Alan Johnson that patients who buy drugs privately will no longer be denied NHS treatment, insurers are looking at developing new insurance policies.

Standard Life said that although the market for policies covering drugs not funded by the NHS might be small, products could be developed to meet consumer demand to have certain treatments privately and others on the NHS.

Natalie Jane Macdonald, managing director of Bupa UK Health Insurance, said: 'We want to develop products that provide people with peace of mind about their healthcare and will consider all opportunities.'

Norwich Union said it welcomed Mr Johnson's announcement and would like to see the government taking into account 'wider treatment options'.

tom.moberly@haymarket.com

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