When looking at private healthcare insurance, it is sensible to research the pros and cons, so you know exactly what you are buying. In general, those medical conditions covered offer exceptional value for money, but there are certain situations and certain conditions which are not covered by general private healthcare insurance.
The private healthcare insurance industry has grown dramatically in recent years with the UK population living longer as a consequence of medical advances. This has created enormous pressures for the NHS, and as a consequence, demand for private medical insurance has increased.
It can sometimes be confusing when looking at the array of different policies on offer, so you need to be aware of all the pros and cons.
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There is a common misconception that private healthcare insurance policies will cover all medical conditions. It will depend upon the terms of your policy, but they tend to cover only short-term illness or injuries.
There may be situations when you can add to a basic policy to cover certain medical conditions, but this is one of many questions you will need to ask before taking out a policy.
Many people seem to be under the impression that private healthcare insurance will cover all specialist appointments at the very least. This is not always the case, and it is vital that you contact your insurance provider before arranging any consultations and treatment.
This is where it can start to get relatively complicated as there are many different types of private medical insurance. You also need to understand the impact of the excess, additional costs if premiums are paid monthly and the term of your cover. The more cover you require, the higher the premiums, it is simply a case of you get what you pay for.
It is highly unlikely that you would experience anywhere near the delay we often see in the NHS when arranging a meeting with a consultant. The problem is that many private consultants also work for the NHS and therefore need to schedule private consultancy work around their NHS obligations.
In the vast majority of cases you will be seen relatively quickly (within two weeks maximum) but that will depend upon the availability of a suitable consultant.
Many private medical insurance policies will allow you to choose your consultant, and there will be flexibility with regards to the date, time and venue for your appointment.
Where possible the majority of private medical insurance policies will allow you to choose a local hospital for your consultation and treatment. In some cases, for particular types of treatment, there may be less choice, and you may need to travel some distance. However, in general, you would be offered a choice of facilities relatively close to your home.
Thankfully, private medical insurance policies will (where possible) ensure that you will see the same consultant from the start to the finish of your treatment. This can give patients peace of mind and confidence that different consultants/surgeons are not picking up their treatment at different stages.
In general, you would also see the same consultant/surgeon in the NHS, but this is not always guaranteed.
As NHS facilities work on a ward system, as opposed to private rooms under private medical insurance, the visiting hours for private treatment tend to be relatively unrestricted. It is very different for the NHS where there are strict visiting times, although there may be some flexibility in certain circumstances.
The availability of NHS consultants tends to be more restricted. Therefore, it can be difficult to arrange ad hoc chats to discuss any questions you may have. The situation is different with private medical insurance where there are often teams specialising in different treatments, available to answer any of your questions.
Where specialist advice is required, they will arrange for a consultant to be available at a convenient time.
Even though the private medical insurance market has grown significantly and competition is intense, there has been upward pressure on premiums. This is simply a result of the cost of medical facilities/medical equipment, and very often, consultants are in short supply.
In order to attract the best consultants, the private medical sector has to pay very competitive rates which are then passed on to customers.
No. The best way to look at private health insurance is in tandem with the NHS, which offers services that private medical facilities simply can’t provide. One such example is accident and emergency services which are relatively rare in UK private medical facilities. When looking at private healthcare insurance, it is sensible to seek the assistance of an insurance adviser.
Maternity care is not generally available through traditional private healthcare policies, but maybe one of the services that can be added to your policy for an additional premium. Many people with basic private healthcare insurance will use NHS maternity facilities as and when required. There is a choice, but this choice comes at a cost.
As we touched on above, there are many different factors to take into consideration when looking at private healthcare insurance. The type of treatment available, ailments covered, and the cost will allow you to compare and contrast between different offerings. However, more and more people are now looking towards insurance brokers for assistance.
It is safe to say that the services covered by private healthcare insurance are often significantly better than comparable NHS services. However, not all medical conditions are covered, not all consultations will be free of charge, and you may encounter enhanced premiums for additional cover.
When looking at private healthcare insurance for yourself/family, it is sensible to take financial advice.
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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