While UK residents are offered free health care through the NHS, a number of people, indeed, 10% of the population decides to purchase private health insurance. As the name suggests, private medical insurance is insurance against incurring private health costs should you fall unwell. People decide to take out private health insurance for a number of reasons. While these reasons are often personal and vary from person to person, a popular motive for private health insurance is to avoid long NHS waiting lists for treatment, especially for minor operations. However, do note if you do become very ill the chances are the you won’t receive private healthcare any quicker than you would NHS treatment as the NHS prioritize treatment by severity.
A number of people feel that the quality of care is superior in private hospitals in the UK. Indeed, private hospitals to offer some benefits that are not available in a NHS hospital, such as longer visiting hours and the ability to have more control over your treatment. When receiving private medical care you can often choose which consultant you see and which hospital you receive treatment. This greater control can make patients feel more secure and less anxious about treatment. However, it is worth mentioning that while there are a number of private hospitals, there is always the chance that you will be placed on a regular NHS ward.
Due to the ever-increasing popularity of private healthcare, there are a number of companies that offer health insurance. Some of the most popular health insurance providers include Bupa, Aetna and Aviva. Bupa has been around for more than 60 years which makes them very experienced. In addition to offering a range of healthcare policies, those who subscribe to Bupa's health healthcare are also eligible for special discounts at a number of popular UK health and well-being facilities, such as gyms and diet classes.
Types of Health Insurance Plan
Private Medical Insurance (PMI) in the UK can be broken down into two categories: moratorium underwriting and a full medical underwriting. A moratorium underwriting will only ask for your recent health history. Generally, a moratorium underwriting is the cheaper of the two plans. However, it is not as thorough as a full medical plan. A full medical underwriting, as the name suggests, takes into account your full medical history. This makes it more expensive than a moratorium underwriting, but it also means that it offers better care. In addition, if you are of more than 75 years of age, you will find that many health insurance providers will only offer you a full medical underwriting plan.
Getting the best Private Medical Insurance deal
While it is important to recognize from the outset that health insurance is an expensive investment, you still need to make sure that you are getting the best deal. At Consumer Adviser, we have compiled three tips to help you find the best private health insurance plan:
- Ask how much excess fees are; you don’t want any nasty surprises should you fall ill. The summary price of a policy is broken down into two segments. Monthly premiums are combined with any out-of-pocket expenses such as co-payments and deductibles. It should be obvious that if one elects to pay higher premiums, it will be likely that out-of-pocket costs can be significantly reduced.
- Before taking out a health insurance or life insurance policy, it is recommended that you research the options thoroughly. You should get several quotes so that you can compare premiums, coverage and terms. It is usually possible to get a quote from the insurance company by completing an online questionnaire. If you use a price comparison site you will only need to input the information once, as they compare quotes from several different insurers based on the information that you have provided.
- Always read the fine print. Makes sure you know what the plan does and doesn’t cover. For example, you will find that most policies will not cover aesthetic cosmetic surgery.
European Health Insurance
Up until 2006, it was recommended that those travelling to Europe got an E11 card. Now, this older card has been replaced with the EHIC (European Health Insurance) card. This card grants you access to free or substantially subsidized state medical care should something untoward happen while you are in a European Economic Area. this card is free to apply for and free to renew.