Thinking About Private Medical Cover? Read This Article

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Private Medical Insurance is an excellent way of supplementing your medical costs because they can be pretty high. It is essential for those who do not have medical health benefits as a part of their employee benefits programme and can afford to pay the premiums.

As compared to the NHS, the cost of having private medical insurance is pretty high. Then again, if you do not want to wait for your appointment for months or if you have a critical illness that NHS cannot support, you need to have private medical insurance.

Here is a breakdown of Private Medical Coverage, how much do they cost, and whether you really need them.

What is Private Medical Insurance?

Although the NHS covers most of the medical bills of UK residents, it might require you to wait for your appointment for months in a go. And there are times when you need urgent assistance. For such times, you need a cushion such as Private Medical Insurance.

Generally, Private Medical Coverage comes with little restrictions on the level of medical care you require to heal and can save you a significant deal on medical bills. Also, most serious illnesses which require specialised medical care requirements are not covered by the NHS and make Private Health Insurance a must-have for you.

What does Private Health Insurance Cover?

The coverage provided by the Insurance primarily depends upon the policy you buy. The basic medical insurance policies cover most of the in-patient treatments such as tests and surgeries, and the day-care treatments, i.e., the ones that require you to stay at the hospital but not overnight.

Other specialised medical insurance policies payout for the patients’ treatments as well as visits to the specialists. Also, they pay out a part of your hospital room expenses when you are hospitalised overnight.

However, not everything medical is covered by private medical insurance. Your healthcare policy is less likely to include the following:

  1.   Organ transplants
  2.   Cost of childbirth and pregnancy under normal circumstances
  3. The medical conditions that you have been diagnosed with before taking out the insurance policy.
  4. The cosmetic surgeries that are not medically required, but you opt for them to improve your appearance.
  5.   Injuries that are caused during the war, or war-like conflicts and conditions
  6.   Injuries acquired due to participation in dangerous sports
  7.   Chronic illnesses which have a rare or non-existent cure such as HIV-AIDS and related illnesses, diabetes, epilepsy, hypertension, etc.

Even though you can ask your insurance provider to provide special cover against mental illnesses and sports injuries, they can cost you substantially more.

Whether or not you need Private Medical Insurance?

Taking out a private medical insurance policy is more of a personal choice because a majority of the British population is already getting free medical benefits through the NHS. You can still take it out if:

  1.   The wait which entails NHS covered treatments is not for you
  2.   You want to use the private medical facilities which the NHS doesn’t cover.
  3. You are looking for specialised coverage on drugs, consultancy, and drugs such as those for mental health and sports injury. 

However, if you are not looking for any of the above benefits, you should stick to the excellent and cheap NHS. Here are some more conditions when you don’t need private medical insurance.

  1.   Your employee benefits package covers a part of your medical costs.
  2. When it is the health of your child that is coaxing you to opt for private insurance, you can stick to the NHS because it gives children an immediate priority.
  3. You can only afford to have your car and house insured, not private medical insurance.
  4. When the debts, mortgages, and credit card bills have enough financial burdens on your income already, you should focus on repaying them first. 
  5. When you have enough savings and income to pay for immediate treatment in private facilities. This might end up costing you less than paying regular premiums for uncertainty, which has not even arisen yet.

Is Private Medical Insurance Good for you?

Well, the answer to this question requires a thorough analysis of the pros and cons of this insurance product.

Pros:

  1. Access to specialised treatments, consultancy, and drugs. When you have private medical insurance, you can have your General Practitioner refer you to a skilled consultant for seeking the second opinion and getting treatment for rare illnesses.
  2.   With private medical insurance, you can take your doctor’s appointment at the earliest availability, reducing the waiting time that you would have to handle otherwise.
  3. Private hospital facilities can burn a hole in your pocket if not for private health insurance. Plus, when you rely on NHS, maximum you get is a ward which is open to all patients.
  4. Physiotherapy sessions can be expensive and, often, you have to wait for months to get them from the NHS. However, when your health is privately insured, you can avail this care quicker.

Cons:

  1.   NHS hospitals are meant for taking care of your health too, and sometimes they can be even better than the private hospitals. And, the patients with dreadful diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular disorders, and more are given immediate priority by them.
  2.   Private medical insurance comes for expensive premium rates, which are more likely to increase as you grow older. Therefore, by the time you will be old and need hospital care, you might not be left with enough savings to afford it.
  3. Shelling out money on private policies is a waste when you are suffering from chronic illnesses such as HIV-AIDS and diabetes because they are never covered.
  4. Even the private policies do not give you the right to select the specialist you want to visit. They have a list of consultants and specialists which will accept your insurance, which might not be available locally.

In the end, it is your financial situation and comfort with healthcare facilities that are going to make the cal for you. Then again, if you do not have a lot of disposable income, use your savings to seek a second opinion from a private consultant, who will refer you back into an affordable treatment in the NHS.