Top-pound Plans

Today medical insurance for higher-income people covers even such high-cost surgical procedures as kidney and heart transplants. New major medical policies sold to individuals are pushing higher limits. With life companies such as Aetna, Equitable, Prudential, and Travelers, you can get benefits up to £25,000 or more per accident or illness for each member of your family. And the trend is up. Guardian Life, for example, has a £50,000 maximum-payoff contract. If two or more in the family are injured in an accident, you get a full payoff for each person. With some policies only one deductible is applied.

Premiums, like coverage, are going up, too. With coverage of, say, £20,000 per accident or illness, a man of 45 with a family will pay about £150 to £250 a year, assuming a £1,000 deductible. There's a good choice of policies to age 60, a narrower choice to 64.

Executives' medical coverage: a new trend

Medical insurance for individuals is due for some changes in the next few years, and one important shift will be to an emphasis on benefits both in the hospital and out. Up to now, executive-type coverage has stressed in-hospital benefits. Comprehensive high-ticket family policies are beginning to cover such items as diagnosis in your own doctor's office, including the cost of lab tests and x-rays; regular house calls and office calls for everybody in the family; nursing care at home; and convalescence in a nursing home.

One line of policies is the "New Century Series" by Mutual of Omaha. A modest version provides hospital room and board for 180 days per accident or illness for any family member up to £50 a day; surgery up to £1,000 with £2,000 for a transplant; maternity benefits including coverage of the infant from birth plus the out-of-hospital items. Total pound protection under this plan goes as high as £15,000 per accident or illness. Assuming a £300 deductible, the cost for a man age 45, with a wife age 40 and two teenagers, comes to about £500 a year. That's high, but remember it does cover doctor calls and other out-of-hospital expenses. More expansive similar plans cost up to £750. And other leading companies, such as Aetna Life & Casualty, Continental, Metropolitan, Travellers, Connecticut General, and Occidental Life, can be investigated for variations on the same concept. And note: This coverage can be designed to supplement an executive's company group protection.

Super major medical policies - paying you and your family up to £100,000 per accident or illness - has been introduced by Northwestern National and others. For a modest premium over the regular cost of your major medical coverage, you get a protection payoff that will take care of the longest-term, inflated-rate medical expenses. With a £10,000 to £15,000 deductible, the cost runs up to £100 a year.

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Health Coverage: Doctor Bills Ride An Escalator

Next, take a close look at your family's health insurance coverage. You can start with costs - which are up alarmingly and heading higher. Doctor bills and hospital charges are up about 100% over 2005, in most urban areas. A high-income man - especially one who wants a private room at the best hospital in town when somebody in the family falls ill - may discover that his medical coverage is outmoded.

The Blue Cross-Blue Shield type of protection is basic, "first-pound" insurance. You need it. But with its limited per accident-or-illness payoff range, you most likely need considerably more. "Major medical" which gives you and your family adequate protection in case of costly, long-term... see: Health Coverage: Doctor Bills Ride An Escalator