Private Health Insurance

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What is health insurance?

Health insurance is a type of insurance policy that is there to cover the costs for private medical treatment. Generally, you can expect it to cover you for ‘acute conditions’, e.g. the removal of a hernia, or a hip replacement. You will be given the option to choose from a wide range of policies that offer multiple levels of cover, at different price points.

This may include a fast-tracked diagnosis, testing, or access to new treatments for cancer, that are not currently provided by the NHS (National Health Service).

It is estimated that more than 1.5 million UK households have some type of private medical insurance.

What health care policies are available and what’s covered?

Cover can vary from a standard policy to something more comprehensive. Most standard health care policies will generally cover the following:

  • Any in-patient treatment that you may require, this could include surgery
  • The cost of staying at the hospital

Policies that provide more comprehensive cover may include out-patient treatment, this will cover the costs of seeing medical consultants and specialists in the field, in addition to diagnosis and further testing.

Some policies may even give you the option to add a number of optional extras to meet your specific needs. These can include the following:

  • Dental care
  • Eye care
  • Physiotherapy
  • Mental health
  • Pregnancy and maternity

You can also purchase health insurance cover for those close to you, options include:

  • Child health insurance
  • Family health insurance
  • Joint health insurance

What type of things are not covered by private medical insurance?

Private medical insurance was mainly created to accompany NHS care and treatment. In most cases, you will not be covered for chronic conditions, e.g. arthritis, diabetes, and high blood pressure, as well as any pre-existing conditions.

If you’re affected by the above, it’s important that you carefully read the terms and conditions of any policy beforehand. Each exclusion should be clearly noted to avoid any confusion.

It’s also worth noting that you will still be required to use the NHS for any accident or emergency. Private health care may not cover this in most scenarios.

What are the benefits of private medical insurance?

There are a number of benefits of having private medical insurance cover. These include:

  • Faster access to consultants, diagnosis, testing, and medical treatment
  • More flexibility and control over which hospital you use
  • You may even be able to access drugs and/or treatment that isn’t readily available from the NHS

Private hospitals can also provide you a more comfortable stay. For example, you may be given your own private room with en-suite facilities or a TV.

Access to private healthcare can be extremely useful if you’re self-employed or your occupation doesn’t provide flexible timing. This is because you may be able to choose the hospital you will be treated at, in addition to when this treatment will take place.

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How do I get private health insurance?

You can quickly compare health insurance quotes through Utility Saving Expert. We’ll ask you a few simple questions such as:

  • What is your age?
  • What is your occupation?
  • Where do you live?
  • Do you smoke?

After answering the above, you will then be presented with a list of quotes to select from.

After making your application, some insurance providers may request further details, such as information about any pre-existing conditions that you may have. Insurers may also ask you about your health and wellbeing, this will help them understand your current health and lifestyle, allowing them to calculate how likely you are to make a claim.

What do I need to consider when choosing private health insurance?

You need to consider the following when you compare health insurance quotes:

What level of cover do you want?

Comprehensive insurance policies will cover you for most things without a maximum cost limitation. More standard policies may set a limit on how much you’re able to claim for. These limits can vary when considering the type of treatment that is needed.

Tiered pricing levels

Some hospitals may increase your overall insurance premium. Think about how far you’re able to travel in order to undergo any diagnosis, testing, or medical treatment.

Incentives for buying health insurance

You may be incentivised for purchasing health insurance by being given access to discounts and promotions for other types of insurance from the same provider.

You only want standard cover

If you have chosen to buy a standard policy, it’s important that you read the full terms and conditions so you know what is actually included as well as any exclusions and limitations. You may find that out-patient medical treatment is limited, or may not be included to begin with.

The cost of health insurance will likely increase as you get older

It shouldn’t be a surprise that your health insurance premium increases each year as you get older. This can be for a number of reasons such as:

  • Currency Inflation
  • Covering the costs of technological advances and testing
  • An increased chance of making a claim

How can I save money on private medical insurance?

You can reduce your health insurance premium by considering the following:

Select a higher level of excess – remember to ensure that this is still affordable because you will be required to pay this when you make a claim.

Reducing the level of out-patient cover – or excluding it altogether.

Agreeing to a reduced hospital list – you will not be able to select from a large number of hospitals for any diagnosis, testing, or treatment that may be included within a standard policy.

Select a ‘6-week option’ – if the NHS is able to provide treatment within 6 weeks, you will not be able to pursue a claim. This option is only available from some insurance providers.

Some polices may even provide you with a no claims discount. This will help you reduce your annual premium if you do not make a claim. If you are able to show that you are fit and healthy, you may also be given a discount for this.

Compare health insurance quotes

n the UK, we’re very fortunate to have access to the NHS. However, due to ongoing changes in the health sector, private medical care through health insurance can give you added peace of mind. If you’re concerned about long wait times and being able to be diagnosed and treated as quickly as possible at a hospital that’s closer to you, this is something definitely worth considering.

It’s quick and easy to compare health insurance plans through Utility Saving Expert within minutes.