PPP is aiming to help intermediaries target the growing self-paid operation market with a new PMI product that carries a £5,000 one-off, lifetime excess.

The healthcare arm of Axa said its Healthy Outlook policy is markedly different from many of its competitors' policies where the excess can apply to either each successive claim or per rolling 12 month period.

Some policyholders may be charged an excess twice, PPP claims, if their treatment falls across two 12-month periods.

PPP hopes the policy will bridge the gap between rising premium costs on the one hand and increasing demand for self-paid treatment on the other. PPP estimates that up to one in four operations are self-paid.

Commercial director of PPP, Fergus Craig, said: “The policy will appeal to people who are not insurance minded and who are prepared to fund some of their private healthcare costs but who want to cap their personal exposure.”

Healthy Outlook has two levels of premiums. There is an initially low premium for policyholders who maintain a clean claims record.

But premiums may increase by up to double the initial amount if individuals make a claim, and they must pay a one-off excess of up to £5,000.

However, PPP alleges its higher rate premiums are still 30% cheaper than the comparable rates of their competitors' high excess policies.

The lifetime excess policy also includes a £200 cash benefit for every day spent in a NHS hospital (up to £2,000 per year) and international emergency assistance.

However, policyholders are restricted to PPP's network of 320 quality assured hospitals, compared to Bupa which offers up to 800 with its excess healthcare policy.

Commission payable to brokers is 40% for initial contracts and 5% on renewal.

Healthy Outlook was launched on January 1.