Private Medical Insurance Explained

In these uncertain times where NHS waiting lists are getting longer for many treatments, you may be considering taking out a private health insurance policy. There are many providers and variations of products available in the marketplace so we would always advise seeking professional, tailored advice for your personal circumstances. But here, we’ll answer some of the most frequent questions we get asked by clients.

What is private medical insurance?

Private health insurance provides immediate access to treatment for acute illnesses which are curable, and short-term. Its purpose is to supplement, not replace, the NHS’s services. However, with a medical insurance policy, you may be able to secure faster treatment, have a say in where you get your treatment and access a broader selection of treatment options.

What does it cover?

The range of treatments covered depends on the individual policy you decide upon. Mainly private health insurance covers acute conditions where pain lasts for a short period, has a known cause, and responds quickly and successfully to treatment.  It does not cover ongoing treatment for chronic conditions.

Most private plans incorporate inpatient care covering costs related to operations including medication, medical professionals’ fees and examinations, and hospital stays. Outpatient cover can include diagnostic procedures such as scans, X-rays, and blood tests but the extent of costs included will again depend on the policy selected.

Many insurers offer choices to expand or decrease cover as required, allowing you to tailor your insurance to your requirements.

What types of plans are available?

There are two main types of plans from which you can choose. The first is a fully underwritten policy where you must provide your full medical history to whichever company you choose. The insurance provider will usually disregard any past serious illnesses and tell you which conditions and treatments they can cover.

The second is a moratorium policy where you are not required to disclose this information. Usually, medical problems that occurred during the five years prior to taking out the policy, will not be covered. However, if for two years you don’t require any treatment, guidance, symptoms, or prescriptions while your policy is valid, the insurance may cover you.

How much does it cost?

The cost of your private medical insurance premiums will change over time depending on a wide variety of factors such as age, whether you are a smoker, what level of cover you require and what excess you are prepared to pay. Some policies only apply if you must wait longer than six weeks for NHS treatment. Other policies are designed specifically for the over-55s or have a special focus on one disease or condition.

Contact us today

If you are thinking about taking out a private health insurance policy, contact one of our advisers so they can put you in contact with one of our private medical experts who can talk you through the choices available, and help you select the right policy for your individual needs. Get in touch with us today.

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