The subject of private health insurance is a common topic of discussion in households across the UK. Are you one of the growing number of people considering PMI as a means of ensuring you can receive prompt medical attention as and when required?
In order to decide whether PMI is worth it, we will take a look at the various options, factors to take into consideration and the cost.
The private healthcare industry before us today is very different to that of just ten years ago. There is enhanced flexibility with regards to the different levels of private medical insurance available. You can take out individual PMI, a joint policy or a family policy.
Continue reading and get all the nitty-gritty details about PMI and make your own mind up.
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There are four main benefits when it comes to private health insurance, avoiding NHS waiting times, flexibility with regards to the location and timing of your treatment, private facilities when staying in hospital and flexibility with regards to levels of cover and premiums.
There are three main types of health insurance which are individual, couple and family insurance. Many people prefer joint/couple private health insurance as a means of ensuring both parties are protected in the event that medical treatment is required.
The cost will depend upon your specific situation, but you’d expect to pay less for a joint policy compared to two single policies. This cover is even further enhanced, with potential for more savings, when it comes to family insurance.
If you speak to different people and look at different websites, you will receive an array of different answers. As a ballpark figure, basic private health insurance is likely to cost between £1000 and £1500 per annum. There is no one size fits all approach with regards to the cost of premiums as they will depend wholly upon your individual circumstances.
There will be many different factors to consider, but the more traditional ones include age, lifestyle, BMI, medical history and whether or not you smoke tobacco products. One other factor which will impact the cost of every private health insurance policy is your postcode; something often referred to as the postcode lottery.
This is because insurance companies will take into account the local demographic and common medical conditions in the area.
If we take an average policy, you should expect cover for private diagnostic tests/scans, outpatient treatment, cancer, as well as physiotherapy and other complementary therapies. This is by no means the full list of the typical ailments/services available with traditional private health insurance policies, but it will give you an idea.
As you might expect, pre-existing conditions would not be covered by your private health insurance. The same can be said of chronic conditions such as cerebral palsy, epilepsy, etc. and many people would be surprised to learn that emergency treatment is not covered.
You will find that very few private health facilities have an accident and emergency service, therefore, you will need to use existing NHS facilities. You may be able to use your insurance to cover any specific treatment required, but this will be done further down the line.
It is very important to appreciate NHS facilities, and private health insurance services are complimentary as opposed to overlapping in every area. They are not necessarily in competition with each other!
If you take out private health insurance, it is unlikely that you can deduct the premiums from your tax liability. However, there may be situations where you are self-employed, for example, and need to take out health insurance to minimise lost working days.
Many companies offer private health insurance to their employees as part of their overall employment package. Very often this is comprehensive cover although it is seen as a “benefit in kind” by HMRC and as such you will likely pay tax on such a benefit.
However, when you bear in mind the peace of mind for yourself, possibly your partner/family, it can still be very useful to have in place.
While many companies offer paid-up health insurance cover for their employees, others may offer a voluntary scheme. This is a scheme where the premiums are paid by the employee themselves.
However, due to the volume of business from the company, they are often able to negotiate a significant discount with the insurer. As you would be paying this premium, it is not treated as a “benefit in kind” and therefore will not attract an additional tax charge.
Traditionally individuals under 18 years of age tend to be part of a family policy. However, it may be possible for someone as young as 17 to take out their own private health insurance if they are able to fund it. These are questions you should ask of the insurance company when looking to secure your policy.
There is no hard and fast rule with regards to a maximum age for taking out private health insurance with some companies having a cut-off point of 65 years of age while others may extend this to 75.
As life expectancy in the UK continues to rise, we may see more and more insurance companies looking towards the higher end of the age scale for first-time health insurance policies.
The simple answer is, no. While there are different levels of private health insurance, it is unlikely we will ever see a situation where the private healthcare sector will replace every existing NHS service. One example is accident and emergency with very few, if any, private healthcare facilities offering such services.
There is no doubt that private health insurance in the UK is more popular today than it ever has been. Whether or not it is worth it will depend upon your individual circumstances, budget and cover available. As the NHS becomes more stretched and waiting times lengthen, it is likely that the demand for private health insurance will continue to grow.
Here at Money Savings Advice, we have partnered with some of the UK’s leading Private Medical Insurance companies. They have already helped thousands of people get the best PMI cover, and, they can do the same for you.
Choosing an independent adviser means they won’t recommend a policy unless they are sure it is in your best interests. Their advice is also regulated by the FCA, which gives you an additional layer of protection.
If you would like to speak to one of these brokers, then click on the below and answer the very simple questions.
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