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WPA, or Western Provident Association, is a non-profit private health insurance company based in Taunton, Somerset. It was founded in 1901 by a group of workers as the Reading Work People's Voluntary Hospital Contributory Fund.
With an extensive network of partners, WPA offers rewarding policies to individuals, families, and some of the UK's largest companies. Some say that it revolutionised healthcare in the UK, considering its heritage goes back over 100 years. In fact, the World Health Organisation named WPA a leader in the development of new cost-effective policies. Its groundbreaking cancer treatment is also worth mentioning.
Populus, a member of the British Polling Council and a leading market research company, interviewed 299 consultants about health insurers. 62% of consultants commended WPA - twice as many as their nearest competitor.
Below are a few unique benefits of WPA that we want to highlight:
WPA has an almost perfect rating on TrustPilot - 4.8/5 stars based on 1042 reviews.
92% of those reviews are five-star feedback: "easy to communicate with", "the app is easy to navigate", "every person I have dealt with has been 100% on the ball". As you can imagine, there are many praising comments, often being specifically thankful to the staff.
Despite being buried among positive feedback, the criticism shouldn't be overlooked. One person left a review claiming that WPA was very good at finding "loopholes in their policy", and another was unhappy about "denied claims". So, if you consider signing up, make sure you understand the policy and rights through and through to avoid ending up in the same situation.
After you choose your policy, level of cover, premium, etc., and get the details finalised, the next time you'll need WPA will be during the claiming process. We will describe a typical scenario.
You visit your GP, who may refer you for further consultations, testing, and treatment. If your treatment requires hospitalisation, you can choose a private hospital or private facilities within an NHS hospital.
After being discharged from the hospital, you will likely need a follow-up visit. Depending on the condition and course of treatment, you might also need out-patient care. If your treatment is eligible to make a claim, you can start the process online. Preferably, consult with WPA after the first GP visit and before further consultations and treatment. You might get full coverage on all treatments (we will explain what is covered below).
It's a common practice among insurers to calculate policy costs on a case-by-case basis. You can use this special tool to get an estimated insurance quote based on your individual needs and circumstances. We used the tool to calculate the approximate cost of WPA insurance for a healthy 30-year-old in southeast England.
|Standard monthly cost||£10.88||£25.28||£72.29|
You can also adjust your policy and add optional perks, which will drive the price up. Below are a few examples of what you can add.
|Essentials (no co-payment)||Premier (£500 co-payment)||Elite (£500 co-payment)|
|Extra out-patient (£1,000)||Not included||£14.60||Included|
|Dental care||Not included||£9.88||Included|
|Overseas medical treatment||Not included||£1.01||Included|
|Premium hospitals||Not included||£2.80||£5.13|
|Total cost with extras||£12.96||£60.89||£77.42|
All policies under WPA Flexible Health and Multi-Family Healthcare can be purchased with up to a 25% rate discount. If you pay annually, you can get 25% off in your first year, 15% - in the second, and 5% - in the third year. But this is a limited-time offer, so be sure to check availability.
WPA offers personal and family health insurance under the Flexible Health policy in three tiers: Essential, Premier, and Elite.
WPA Essentials is the entry-level policy that is mainly focused on surgery benefits. Patients get access to fast-tracked private surgery, in-patient, and day-patient benefits. The policy applies to elective, non-emergency surgeries for diagnosed conditions with an annual limit of £50,000.
Let's see what benefits are available and what is considered eligible treatment.
|Type of Benefits||What's Included||Notes|
|In-patient and day-patient treatment||Hospital treatment||Accommodation charges and operating theatre fees across 600 hospitals|
|Critical care levels 2 and 3||Anticipated pre-planned critical care|
|Specialists' fees||Surgeons, physicians, and anaesthetists|
|Post-operative consultation and tests||One follow-up consultation within 90 days following the procedure|
|Prostheses||Passive and active|
|Out-patient treatment||Consultations with a specialist and diagnostic tests||Consultations with a specialist and X-rays, blood tests, and ultrasound|
|Pre-admission tests||E.g., blood tests, ECGs, and chest X-ray|
|Therapy||Within 90 days following the in-patient procedure|
Advanced cancer drugs - lifetime benefit for targeted cancer therapies not available from the NHS - are offered as optional extras. The treatment must be prescribed and supervised by a UK Oncologist. The administration of the drug and directly related costs are also covered.
The add-ons also include targeted cancer therapies that are not available on the NHS. Members can get up to 12 consecutive months of treatment for blood-borne cancers and adjuvant therapy.
WPA Premier is advertised as a mid-range plan that adds benefits to the standard cover. Unlike Essentials, this policy has no annual limit. The majority of WPA members (62%) choose this policy for optional extras.
WPA Flexible Premier offers all the benefits of the Essentials plan, so refer to the table above for the majority of treatment covered. In addition, Premier covers and complex diagnostic scans and self-referred therapy (chiropractic, osteopathy, and physiotherapy).
There is also extended coverage of cancer care:
Members can extend coverage to include:
WPA Elite is the most comprehensive policy that offers the biggest range of benefits. In-patient, day-patient, and out-patient benefits are accompanied by cash benefits for dental care and optical treatment. As with Premier, there is no limit per year.
In 2021, WPA Elite was awarded the Moneyfacts Private Medical Insurance Five Star Rating.
WPA Flexible Elite ticks off the same types of treatment as Essentials (refer to the table above) and Premier, but with much higher limits (sometimes unlimited) and for a wider range of hospitals and specialists. Below are just some of the benefits:
Here are the add-ons available for members insured under WPA Elite:
Also awarded the Moneyfacts Private Medical Insurance Five Star Rating in 2021, WPA Multi-Family is a multi-generational plan for extended families in the UK. The cover extends to two families or more living at separate addresses. It has preferential terms compared to individual policies and no upper age limit.
WPA's multi-family policy is structured similarly across all three levels. Below is the table of what the Standard plan offers, which is the core cover.
|Type of Coverage||What's Inlcluded|
|In-patient and day-patient treatment|
Consultations with specialists and diagnostic tests are offered at a £350 limit.
WPA Multi-Family Enhanced offers all treatments listed in the table above. The table below illustrates additional benefits, so if you're considering this policy, consider both tables.
|Consultations with specialists and diagnostic tests||£1,000 • £1,500|
|Overseas emergency treatment (excluding USA and dependencies)||Optional extra|
|General dental treatment||£200|
Multi-Family Comprehensive extends the Standard cover even further. Below are the additions made to the core plan.
|Consultations with specialists and diagnostic tests||Unlimited|
|Overseas emergency treatment (excusing USA and dependencies)||Included (70 days per trip, maximum 180 days and £500,000)|
|General dental treatment||£450|
This policy is different to most private health insurance plans. Instead of focusing on medical emergencies, NHS Top-Up Cash Plans are meant for essential routine healthcare costs. In other words, you don't need to be ill to receive benefits. The policy applies to anyone under the age of 65, children are included at no charge, and there will be no medical examination.
Top-ups provide a cash sum towards supplementary costs, which you may incur when treated under the NHS. The plan partially covers the expenses for different services, including specialist treatment, therapies, optical, and parking.
75%-100% reimbursements are available with a 30-day qualifying period.
|Cash Benefit Type||What's Included||Level 1||Level 2||Level 3|
|GP||Private GP consultations, diagnostic tests, vaccinations, prescriptions||£50||£100||£150|
|Specialist consultations||Second opinion||£150||£200||£250|
|Optical||Eye tests, prescription glasses and sunglasses, contact lenses||£65||£100||£150|
|Therapies||Up to 4 sessions of physiotherapy, osteopathy, acupuncture, chiropractic care, homoeopathy, chiropody, or podiatry||£200||£300||£400|
|New baby||Birth or adoption||£50||£100||£200|
|Hospital stay||Maximum 20 nights at an NHS hospital||£400||£700||£1,000|
|A&E||Up to three visits||£20||£40||£60|
The following Extras are available for an upcharge and at an annual limit.
|Annual Benefit||Monthly Premium|
|Scans and screens||£200||+£1.85|
|Mycancerdrugs||£50,000||+£4.40 (£10.55 for smokers)|
|Essential European cover||£100,000||+£1.05|
Dental care is part of the NHS Top-Ups core benefits. Below are the limits per person per Cash Plan year.
|Level 1||Level 2||Level 3|
|Routine dental care (check-ups, scale, polish, X-rays, fillings, and hygiene treatment)||£65||£100||£150|
Dental injuries can be covered as optional extras, adding £2.60 to the monthly premium with an annual benefit of up to £10,000. If a member sustains an injury (external blow to the face, teeth, or jaw) that requires restorative dental treatment, they can get a partial cash benefit if applied within 72 hours.
WPA has a special co-payment method that they call Shared Responsibility. While similar to an excess, this is an alternative approach to controlling premium costs.
No matter how small the medical bill is, 75% of each claim for eligible treatment is paid to the member. The rest - 25% of the bill - is paid by the member directly to their treatment provider.
Your contribution to the cost of treatment is deducted from your chosen level of SR per policy. Once you reach the level, 100% of any eligible claims will be paid by WPA for the rest of the year.
Let's take the example of the Shared Responsibility co-payment and what happens after you reach the required level from the WPA website. These figures are based on a £500 limit.
|Treatment||Claimed amount||WPA pays||Member pays|
|The required limit is reached.|
WPA Premier levels are:
The higher the co-payment level, the lower the premium. To find out the exact discount percentage, leave a quote request.
Shared Responsibility levels for Elite policies are:
Similarly, the level you choose will change the monthly contribution.
WPA does not provide cover for the following list of conditions and treatments:
You will have to pay 25% of your medical bills until you reach your chosen level of Shared Responsibility. After that, you don't have to pay toward your treatment. If you choose a hospital cash plan, you will need to pay first - and then you can submit a claim to get some of it back.
If you are dealing with a long-term or chronic condition or a disability, you still have the right to take out a WPA insurance policy. But they will not include cover for treatment that is needed because of pre-existing conditions. By law, insurers must be fair and reasonable with how they treat exclusions.
Before the policy comes into effect, you will be asked to sign a declaration about your medical history. WPA representatives will draw up a personalised contract detailing what is covered or excluded based on this information.
WPA products are renewable annually. You will have 12 months from the start of the policy (shown on the Certificate of Registration) before all benefits reset. Members are contacted around 21 days before their renewal date to discuss the terms (if needed). Any changes can be made only at renewal, while medical underwriting terms are kept the same.
Yes, but if you want to transfer from a previous health insurer under the same medical underwriting terms, there should be no break between policies. You will need to provide a copy of the previous health insurer's Certificate of Registration. WPA will assess the terms and possibly apply the same personal exclusions. The new terms may be worded differently and have additional exclusions.
You will need to notify a WPA representative and wait out a 30-day notice period before the policy is cancelled. After 30 days, you may receive a partial refund for the premium paid for the current policy year. If you make a claim when insured by WPA, no premium will be refunded.
You can cancel at any time, but the cancellation won't come into effect instantly. You can start at any time, but the process will take up to 30 days. If you cancel within 30 days from the issue date on your Certificate of Registration, you cancel with a full refund.
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