Private Medical Insurance- What’s in it for you?

We all fall under the weather every now and then- that is how the human body is wired. It could be a minor ailment that can be sorted out with pills from over the counter. It could also be a major ailment, requiring outpatient hospital visits or admission. What is common in both scenarios is health expenditure- how much do we actually spend on accessing health care?

Health insurance has been designed to reduce the financial shocks of ill health. In other words, to reduce out of pocket health expenditure. There are generally two forms of it in the UK, the NHS and private medical insurance.

NHS is a government designed scheme for everyone while private medical insurance is run by private companies for subscribers.

According to the Dailymail, about 10% of the population is covered by private medical insurance, and within this private cover, one million operations are performed annually.

Why people choose private medical insurance?

People choose private medical insurance over the NHS due to the following reasons:

  1. Shorter waiting times
  2. Faster diagnosis time
  3. Privacy

It is important to note that the specialist care givers that are operating in the NHS are the same ones that treat private medical insurance patients- just that they act quicker.

What does private medical insurance not cover?

Private medical insurance is unlikely to cover the following:

  1. A pre-existing condition before the cover
  2. Cosmetic procedures
  3. Fertility treatments
  4. Treatment for HIV

Private Medical insurance is certainly not cheap.  An average annual comprehensive cover costs around £500. This underlines the importance of choosing the right policy to reduce unnecessary cost. Available policies include:

  1. Comprehensive medical insurance
  2. Outpatient cover
  3. Mental health cover
  4. Therapies cover
  5. Hospitals lists

So what happens when you have no reason to go the hospital but you have a policy running? Well, most insurance companies will still insist that you pay your monthly fees. However, a few have in place a ‘no claim discount’. These discounts reward policy-holders cannot claim, and can result in significant cost savings over long periods.

In conclusion, the importance of a health insurance cover cannot be over emphasized. Private medical insurance will offer you quicker and probably more efficient access to healthcare but at a cost higher than what the government provides.

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