A leading health insurer is aiming to revolutionise the private medical insurance market by launching a 'multi family' product that allows one person to buy a policy for multiple family members.
WPA says its Multi-Family Healthcare Plan is the perfect opportunity for the 'Bank of Gran and Granddad' to use their accumulated wealth to pay for their extended family's healthcare.
It says baby-boomer grandparents give a total of £2.8 billion a year in cash to their grandchildren, fund one in four private school pupils, and are responsible for up to 35% of all childcare for families with working mums.
Prices are determined by where people live and their age, but the firm claims that by pooling family members together, the new policy is considerably cheaper than traditional health cover offered by rivals.
The policy can be extended to any family member as long as they are related by blood, marriage, civil partnership, adoption or fostering, or are a cohabiting couple.
According to HMRC rules, payments made out of after-tax income which don't affect standards of living, are normally exempt from inheritance tax – WPA says this means Multi-Family premiums could be exempt.
Rod Bramston, managing director of WPA's private client business, said: "This is about structuring family finances effectively. Grandparents now play a crucial role underlining a growing shift in family funding with potential tax advantages."
Graeme Godfrey, director at bestgoprivate.co.uk – an independent PMI specialist – said the product was "innovative" and will attract people who had never previously considered private medical insurance.
He said: "WPA is well known for excellent service and I feel that this innovative product will help grow the market where perhaps some family members may have not opted for PMI cover. Currently, independent brokers will research the market and select an insurer specifically for the needs of the customer where different members of a family may be insured by a combination of insurers.
"It will be interesting to see if WPA remains competitive over the medium term (2-5 years), as their comparison on cover and premiums has been made against insurers who offer a No Claims Discount, and WPA offer their own discounts too.
"In a competitive marketplace more choice for the consumer can only be a good thing."