Private Health Insurance often called Private Medical Insurance or PMI
What are Private Medical Insurance or Health Insurance?
Private medical insurance is the price you choose to pay for having the ability to be seen by a specialist of your choice, treated in a hospital of your choice and at a time which is convenient to you. By being able to bypass the NHS waiting list it means if you are self-employed that you will be able to get back to work earlier and maintain your business. Additional comforts of your own room and en-suite facilities are another bonus
Large corporations often enhance a job offer with Private medical Insurance as this means the workforce is not on long term sick leave but treated quickly and again productivity maintained.
Private medical insurance is often taken out by people who are worried that they will not be seen fast enough or be treated quickly by the NHS services.
Private health insurance and private medical insurance can sometimes be confused with other insurances relating to health for instance cash back health plans and critical illness. Make sure you are clear your purchase is what you want.
Can I afford Health Insurance?
Some company’s may offer a health insurance programme which you pay a contribution towards, however this can still be beyond many people’s pockets, especially if you are Plus Fifty as the premiums rise as you age.
It is worth noting that if you make a claim against your policy the cost will raise currently this is at 10%. When taking out a policy, be aware that your annual renewal premium will also rise, often well above the rate of inflation.
There is no getting round it private health insurance is not cheap, but if you can afford it, it may be worth considering for peace of mind. Ultimately you will get what you pay for if you are looking for top notch care it will be expensive.
How to keep the cost of Private Medical Insurance down?
For the Plus Fifty’s we know we are not in the cheap seats and that means looking around for the best deals. Buying health insurance online can sometimes mean that you will receive discounts, but it is a good idea to shop around. As with all things get three quotes and make sure they cover all the same benefits.
There are lots of loopholes and conditions so you really need to read the small print.
The last thing you want to do is to purchase Health Insurance only to find out you’re not covered when it comes to pay the bill.
Some ways of reducing the costs can include options like
Letting the hospital choose a consultant to treat you
Letting your insurer decide which hospital will treat you
Time delay – this means you will wait for six weeks which is the usual NHS waiting time
You can pay a voluntary excess
Cost sharing where you agree to pay a proportion of all costs
Paying annually can reduce costs
Some health insurance policies offer no claims discounts
What Health Insurance do I need?
Ideally seek the assistance of a broker who will offer you independent advice making sure the policy exactly meets your requirements. FSA rules dictate the broker must disclose if they are independent, limited to certain insurers or represent only one company.
You will need a health insurance policy that is tailored to your needs, quite a few offer blanket policies with aspects you will not necessarily require. You may need to pay a premium for an existing condition or risk not be covered for it at all.
You will need to check that whoever you choose to cover you is regulated by the FSA. The Financial Services Authority (FSA) is the regulator of the financial services industry in the UK. You can check the FSA register to ensure the company is regulated here. http://www.fsa.gov.uk/
What Health Insurance doesn’t cover?
Health insurance doesn’t usually include pre-existing conditions, which means a company will not insure you for any disease or illness which you have experienced in the past five years or had either advice or treatment for. Some plans will only cover you for a certain amount of time, some cancer treatments may only be treated for a limited time. Even if you have not been officially diagnosed with a condition but have consulted your doctor and are medically linked you may not be covered.
It is important you find out exactly what you are not covered for as the list is often extensive. What the company covers you for can sound enticing but do read the small print. Plus Fifty’s can often find that once they are locked into a contract they have difficulty moving to a different insurer as the requirements may be altered or the premiums higher.
Most common Private Medical Insurance Exclusions
- A and E admission
- Outpatient’s treatment, medicines or dressings
- Private GP
- Long term treatments i.e. asthma
- Dental ( unless incorporated in policy)
- Drug and alcohol abuse services
- Routine well person health examinations
- Mobility equipment
- Cosmetic unless due to illness
- Some psychiatric care
- Transplant surgery unless specified
Types of Medical Insurance
Primarily there are three different types
Budget or Low cost Health Insurance
This usually kicks in if treatment is not available after six weeks from the NHS this policy does not usually include outpatient treatment, physiotherapy or any complimentary therapies
Comprehensive Health Insurance
A policy of this kind will include hospital stays and all costs associated with the stay, in addition to the above.
Premium or Total Health Insurance
These types of policy incorporate all kinds of different cover including dental, and long term cancer treatments.
What is full medical underwriting?
You will be asked to give full and comprehensive details of your medical history; failure to be accurate may result in your insurance company not paying for your treatment. Your Insurance company may write to your doctor for further details
What is moratorium underwriting?
This is where the Health Insurance company will not ask you to give any details of your medical history. They will not cover you for any treatment related to a condition or anything you have sought advice on or have taken medication for in the last five years.
It is very important you make sure you are covered for what you think you are paying for. All Health Insurance policies should have a cooling off period of 14 days whereby you can cancel the policy and receive a full refund.