It comes in many forms; its aim is to pay out an agreed amount to your loved ones in the event of your death.
What is it?
Health insurance or ‘going private’ is an insurance policy designed to cover the cost of healthcare. In the UK we are lucky enough to have the NHS to provide free care for everyone, however as it is for everyone, we have to share. This can result in living in discomfort while waiting for an operation.
Health insurance is designed to cover the cost of private medical treatment, for what are commonly known as ‘acute conditions’.
Most insurers define an acute condition as a disease, illness or injury that is likely to respond quickly to treatment and aims to return you to the state of health you were in immediately before suffering the disease, illness or injury, or which leads to your full recovery. Your insurer can advise you about their cover for this and other conditions, such as cancer and chronic (long-term) conditions.
Cover can be purchased on a full medical underwriting basis, which means you will be asked a number of questions about your health. In many cases pre-existing conditions may not be covered.
Do I need it?
Imagine you are living with a medical condition which causes discomfort every day. You are on a waiting list with the NHS however you have been told it could be 12 months before they can get you in for your treatment.
While living in the UK you can have free treatment with the NHS but with this you also have restrictions.
Some life changing drugs may not be available on the NHS or your treatment is linked to what the NHS can afford. The NHS is restricted by recommendations from NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence).
You might decide that you can afford to pay to jump the queue however; this cost can soon increase as the average MRI scan can cost £600 and a hip or knee operation can cost in the region of £10,000. (1)
Health insurance means you can get faster treatment than by going through the NHS. Like all insurance, the cover you get varies but basic private medical insurance may pick up the costs of most in–patient treatments (tests and surgery) and day care surgery, and some extend to out–patient treatments (such as specialists and consultants).
If you like the idea of choosing a hospital near your home so your family can visit, like the idea of a private room, knowing that you will have access to a wide range of drugs but could not afford to pay for your treatment up front, then it may be for you.
This is a personal choice for most people.
How does it work?
If you want to go private, normally a cost of an operation can be quiet expensive. A health insurance plan allows you to pay monthly amounts so that in the event of you suffering a heart attack, or having a bad back, the insurance will pay out and you jump straight to the front of the queue.
You have choices of treatment, hospitals and even the GP who treats you.
It is very rare these days to hear about an empty bed in the NHS, or an underworked Nurse or Doctor. The NHS provides free healthcare to all the people of the UK. However, as it has to look after everyone, it has to provide the facilities for this. With private medical care you get the treatment you can afford but more importantly, you get choices rather than ‘one fits all’ treatment. You get to choose:
- WHERE you get treated
- WHO treats you
- WHEN you get treated
- HOW you are treated
We are unable to provide you with advice on private medical insurance, however we can introduce you to a specialist.