Private medical insurance (also referred to as health insurance) can supplement what’s available on the NHS. If you don’t have already got it as a part of your employee benefits package and you’ll afford to pay the premiums, you would possibly decide it’s worth paying extra to possess more choice over your care.
Private medical insurance – what’s it?
Most UK residents are entitled to free healthcare from the NHS.
Health insurance pays all – or some – of your medical bills if you’re treated privately.
It gives you a choice within the level of care you get and the way and when it’s provided.
You don’t need to remove private medical insurance – but if you don’t want to use the NHS, you would possibly find it hard to buy private treatment without insurance, especially for serious conditions.
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What does it cover?
Like all insurance, the duvet you get from private medical insurance depends on the policy you purchase.
Basic private medical insurance usually picks up the prices of most in-patient treatments (tests and surgery) and day-care surgery.
Some policies reach out-patient treatments (such as specialists and consultants) and might pay you alittle fixed amount for every night you spend in an NHS hospital.
What isn’t covered?
Your healthcare insurance usually won’t cover private treatment for:
pre-existing medical conditions
normal pregnancy and childbirth costs
cosmetic surgery to enhance your appearance
injuries concerning dangerous sports or arising from war or war-like hostilities
chronic illnesses like HIV/Aids-related illnesses, diabetes, epilepsy, hypertension, and related illnesses.
You might be ready to choose a policy that covers psychological state, depression, and sports injuries but these aren’t always covered.
Do you need it?
It’s considerably a private choice.
You get free treatment on the NHS, so you simply actually need private medical insurance if:
you would prefer to not await NHS treatment.
you just don’t want to use the NHS and would like to stay in non-public hospitals where possible.
you want to be covered for drugs and treatment you can’t get on the NHS, like specialist surgery for sports-related injuries (check that the treatment is included in your policy before you buy).
Who doesn’t need private medical insurance cover?
You don’t need private medical insurance if:
you’re happy to believe the NHS for your care
you have already got medical insurance through your employee benefits package
you’re worried about your child becoming sick – children get immediate priority on the NHS
you only have spare cash for basic insurance, like car and residential insurance (and life assurance if you’ve got dependants)
you have debts to repay and no savings – you ought to put your money towards those, instead of private medical insurance
you can buy individual treatments – if you’ve got sufficient savings it’d be more cost-effective to buy any treatment you would possibly need privately than to pay regular insurance premiums.
Pros and cons
Note: all of this relies on the sort of policy you purchase.
Specialist referrals. you’ll ask your GP to refer you to an expert or specialist working privately to urge a second opinion or specialist treatment.
Get the scans you would like. If the NHS delays a scan, or won’t allow you to have one, you’ll use your cover to buy it.
Reduce the waiting time. you’ll use your insurance to scale back the time you spend expecting NHS treatment if your wait time is quite six weeks.
Choose your surgeon and hospital. you’ll (in theory) choose a surgeon and hospital to fit your time and place – which isn’t possible on the NHS.
Get a personal room. you’ll use it to urge a personal room, instead of staying in an open ward which could be mixed-sex.
Specialist drugs and coverings could be available. Some specialist drugs and coverings aren’t available on the NHS because they’re too expensive or not approved by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence in England and Wales (NICE) or the Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC).
Physiotherapy. You get quicker access to physiotherapy sessions if you’ve got insurance than you’d through NHS treatment.
private medical care
You might recover care on the NHS. If you’ve got a significant illness like cancer, a heart condition, or stroke, you’ll get priority NHS treatment. NHS hospitals are often nearly as good as or better than private hospitals.
It’s expensive – and therefore the price will go up. A typical family premium (two adults in their 40s and two children under 10) can vary from £700 to £1,800 per annum. Premiums will rise per annum, and with age – so by the time you’re older, and more likely to wish hospital treatment, you would possibly not be ready to afford it.
Chronic illnesses aren’t usually covered. Most policies don’t cover chronic illnesses that are incurable, like diabetes and a few cancers.
There won’t be any local treatment options. If you select a policy with an approved list of consultants and hospitals this won’t include the expert consultant you would like to ascertain or a convenient location for treatment.
Is private medical insurance good value for money?
It is often a good value if you would possibly need specialist, expensive treatment.
If you’re a sporting enthusiast, for instance, you would possibly want access to specialist private treatment that isn’t available within the NHS – like surgeons and experts who only do private work.
You’d got to have a policy that covers the sort of treatment you would possibly need.
If you needed to form quite one claim, it’s quite likely that non-public medical insurance would prevent money.
Even if you get private medical insurance, you’ll keep your right to use the NHS.
It remains a security net that will devour the tab for love or money that isn’t covered by your policy.
Alternative options if you would like to travel private
Use savings for all or a part of your medical costs – around one in five private patients do that. Hip and knee replacements cost a mean of £10,000 each, while MRI scans cost from £500. you’ll go searching for scan prices – your GP can assist you to do that.
Just buy a personal consultation if you would like an expert or second opinion. Then, if necessary, your consultant will refer you back to the NHS for treatment.
Other sorts of insurance to think about
If you fall ill or have an accident and can’t work, you would possibly find it hard to stay up mortgage payments or handle the bills – especially if you don’t have enough savings or wage from your employer.
Your priority should be insurance that keeps you out of monetary difficulty like income protection.