With hundreds of different health insurance policies available on the market today, choosing the right coverage can be a daunting task.
What is private health insurance?
Private health insurance covers all or some of the cost of private medical treatment.
In the UK we have the NHS – this provides free diagnosis, medical treatments and emergency services. If you have private health insurance you can choose to use private medical services instead of the NHS – when appropriate. Private medical insurance means you can choose to see private doctors, specialists and be treated within a private hospital. People with cover will still need to use the NHS for emergency services.
The perks of having private health insurance include the choice to stay within a private room, you’ll have more choice regarding where you’re treated and you can also have access to some medicines and treatments which are not available via the NHS.
How does it work?
Firstly, the price of your policy all depends on your age, location, general health and previous medical history. You need to decide how much you want your policy to cover, for example, basic policies will cover essential treatment whereas a comprehensive policy covers more specialist therapies and complementary medicines.
There are many options that can help reduce the cost of your premium, for example adding an excess, there is usually a compulsory access (usually around £100), but you can also add a voluntary excess, which means that if you do have to claim you do claim you pay an agreed amount toward the treatment/medicine. You can also agree to be treated by the NHS instead of claiming if you are treated within six weeks by the NHS.
What do I need to know before I take out a policy?
When taking out a policy it is important to ensure that you are fully aware of everything included and excluded from your policy and what your insurer needs to know, this can include:
- Underwriting – some policies will require an examination and analysis of an individual’s medical information, which establishes the likelihood of the individual making a claim, which can affect the cost of your policy, whereas some are moratorium which requires no medical history but all pre-existing conditions are excluded for at least two years.
- Pre-existing medical conditions – some insurers will include pre-existing conditions whereas other will not, including them in your policy can increase greatly. It is important to make your insurer aware of your pre-existing medical conditions as if you don’t it can result in cancellation of your policy.
- Cancer cover – every policy is different, some will include cancer cover, some only for selected types and then others will exclude it completely.
- Exclusions – With most policies there are some things that mostly always excluded these include: cosmetic surgery, fertility treatment, treatment associated with pregnancy or childbirth itself or emergency care (A&E treatment).
Taking all these factors into account it is important to get exactly what you want from your insurance to make sure you’re happy with what you are paying for – it is also important that you are happy with the price you are paying.