Choosing the right private healthcare insurance

National Health Service waiting lists, treatment, and catching bugs in a public hospital are real worries for some people who prefer to buy private medical insurance.

Health insurance designed to cover the costs of private health treatment and is not a replacement for the National Health Service – for example, private hospitals do not have accident and emergency cover.

Most people buy private health cover for peace of mind in knowing that treatment is available quickly if they are ill or injured.

Specialist doctors and nurses in hospitals with hotel-style private en-suite bedrooms provide private health cover.

Some important points to bear in mind about private health cover are:

  • What conditions are covered?

Private health insurance deals with ‘acute’ conditions. These are diseases, illness or injury that respond quickly to treatment and conditions that let doctors return you to the state of health you were in immediately before the condition occurred.

Some conditions are ‘chronic’ and require long-term treatment. Most private hospitals are not equipped to handle these conditions – for instance ongoing kidney dialysis.

  • Excluded conditions

Every private medical policy will have a long list of excluded illnesses and conditions that needs checking carefully before signing up.

Many patients with long-standing disabilities or illnesses may find they are not covered for further treatment of their condition.

  • Cost

How much to pay is always a consideration for private medical insurance, and many insurers offer different levels of cover that give specific treatments.

Opt for the best cover that matches your personal medical condition.

Patients can opt to pay an increased excess to reduce insurance costs. The excess is a voluntary payment towards the cost of cover.

Many people feel private health insurance is expensive, but have no qualms about spending £50 a month on pay-for-view TV.

  • Stopping and starting cover

If you suffer from an illness or injury while covered by private medical insurance and then stop that cover, you may find that further treatment is excluded when restarting a policy.

Think carefully before cancelling private medical insurance.

Several companies offer private health insurance, and most of them have policies with different levels of cover.

Quoteline Direct can help you work out which is right for you and then guide you through the application process.

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