Healthcare has always been at the forefront of everyone’s minds, especially since the beginning of COVID-19. With good reason, many people have gone into great depths to uncover what healthcare options are available here in the UK. The NHS is the cornerstone of the UK healthcare system, with majority of its services accessible for free to patients when needed and deemed necessary. Yet, there’s the continual rising pressures on the NHS due to resourcing, budgets, waiting lists, COVID-19 which has left the service being extremely stretched and often, harder and lengthier to access.
The Private healthcare system plays an important complimentary role to function alongside the NHS, not to replace it. There are multiple reasons why people would opt to take our private healthcare over and above the medical offerings already on hand where possible. Private health insurance can aid in a speedy diagnosis and recovery through reduced waiting times to access relevant Specialist Consultants. It can also be used to ensure the everyday wellbeing of people, from routine checks to blood tests and diagnostic assessments.
There are multiple options when it comes to private healthcare insurance, from varying products to compliment your needs, a plethora of independent and market providers to choose from, as well as different levels of care and payment options.
Private healthcare / medical insurance is designed to cover the costs of private medical treatments for acute conditions, which are not pre-existing at the time of the policy commencement. There are various levels which can be tailored to the individual needs of the policy holders, such as the types of treatments, the location of treatments and the contribution the insurer will be willing to make and what the policy holders contribution will be, known as the excess.
Below are some of the most commonly asked questions about Private Medical Insurance:
Why do I need health insurance?
Having health insurance is very much a personal preference, especially as UK residents get free treatment on the NHS. There are so many reasons why health insurance is beneficial. First and foremost, you will be diagnosed and treated much quicker, usually with a Specialist Consultant of your choice at a desired Medical Centre or hospital. It gives you the freedom of choice; choice of who to see, when to see them and where to see them. In addition, it may cover medication and treatments which are too expensive on the NHS or not approved by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence in England and Wales (NICE).
How do I choose the right private health care policy?
Scrolling through the multiplicities of healthcare insurance options can be overwhelming, we get that! It’s a minefield coming to grips with what’s deemed essential and affordable, versus what is the crème de la crème of healthcare insurance. Private healthcare does not need to break the bank and can be tailored to your budget and needs, as there are indeed a wide range of reasonably priced plans which can still provide you with the peace of mind should you ever need to access medical services.
There are a couple of ways to choose a private health care policy. This can either be done through your employer as part of a company benefits plan, where both the employer and employee will contribute. If this is not on offer, you can access a policy through an insurer directly, an independent broker (such as Protectus Healthcare), a Financial Advisor, your bank and more. There are also numerous health insurance comparison websites, which give you the option to compare prices and of course, the finer details.
What does it cover and not cover?
There’s a no one-size-fits all approach when it comes to private health insurance, as each policy varies, dependent on what you purchase and who you purchase it from. Usually, basic cover includes the cost of most in-patient treatments, tests and surgery. Some may extend to incorporate out-patient treatments, where you may need to incur a small fee in addition. A lot more policies are now including mental health treatments such as talking therapies and access to psychiatrists.
There are also variations in what treatments health insurance will not cover, such as pre-existing medical conditions, childbirth costs and cosmetic surgery.
What’s the best age to buy private health insurance?
There’s no right or wrong age to buy private health insurance. If you purchase a policy at an early age, you will pay less for the policy. Premiums usually increases with one’s ages because health risks usually increase with age.
Are there any alternatives?
Whilst most people would generally consider the NHS the only other alternative to taking out a health insurance plan, there are in fact some other options. Firstly, there’s critical illness cover which can be used to claim back for treatments against specific serious health problems. Secondly, there are healthcare cash plans, which spreads the cost of you, or your family’s healthcare expenses into a monthly plan. These often include other benefits such as regular check-ups and money back from dental treatments.
What if I can’t afford private health insurance?
It is crucial to consider the financial implications of taking out private health care. The cost of various treatments and procedures will surpass the cost of the policy if you’re in need of medical intervention. However, the cost of policies does vary dependent how comprehensive they are. Before signing up, ensure you take into account that the monthly or annual payments fit into your budget, as well as any excesses there may be.
2 tips to remember before purchasing private health insurance:
1. Be honest about your medical history: Ensure your medical history in your application is accurate and truthful, as a lack of disclosure may cause your claim to be rejected or policy cancelled in extreme circumstances.
2. ALWAYS read the small print: make sure you know what is and is not covered as there may be limitations of some treatments or medications. The details about excess and excess options as well as if there are no-claim discounts will all be detailed herein. Sometimes the small print may be technical, so always ask your provider if you’re unsure about something to cover your back.
We understand that finding the right insurance policy may be tricky and overwhelming in such a saturated market of options. With over 20 years of experience in the health care industry, our Health Care Specialists can help tailor a health insurance plan to suit you and your family. Get in touch.