Private Medical Insurance is sometimes thought of as the domain of the wealthy but do a little bit of research and you may find that it’s more affordable than you imagined. Comparing insurers online or through a broker will show you how different policies measure up and help you to decide which health insurance provider has the policy that suits you best. There are ways to make private medical insurance more affordable, including choosing policies that offer you no claims bonuses and options such as paying an excess or limiting the list of hospitals you can choose from.
Although we have an exemplary healthcare system in this country, the NHS is under more pressure than ever both in terms of funding and in the number of people needing it’s services. A recent report of all the complaints received by the Parliamentary and Health Service ombudsman for the 2013-2014 period showed poor communication is at the top of the list of grievances. According to the report, the other common reasons for complaint are errors with diagnosis, poor care and treatment, the attitude of staff, particularly when no apology is given when things go wrong, and unnecessary delays in treatment.
Broken down, it revealed that 3 out of 10 complaints are about clinical care and treatment, diagnosis and communication and 2 out of 10 complaints are concerned with staff attitude including behaviour and communication style.
Although taking out a private medical insurance policy can’t guarantee that you will avoid all these areas of grievance, anything that makes us feel like we’re a little more in control is always a good thing.
So, how does private medical insurance work? Private medical insurance pays for private diagnosis and treatment if you fall ill. By comparing policies to find one that’s affordable for you, you can gain access to prompt, private treatment for short-term, curable conditions as well as treatment for acute illnesses such as heart conditions and cancer. Private medical insurance policy-holders can enjoy a range of benefits that can make the experience of being in hospital or receiving treatment much more comfortable. These can include treatment in private hospitals with high levels of cleanliness, private rooms with en-suite bathrooms, a high standard of catering and increased nurse-to-patient ratios.
There are a wide range of private medical insurance policies available on the market and perhaps the best way to find out more is to compare quotes online so that you get an idea of what’s out there. Monthly payments will vary according to factors such as your age, your general health and whether you’re a smoker. Even if you have a pre-existing medical condition you will be able to find a policy that can offer you some level of health insurance cover. Private medical insurance policies generally fall into two categories: fully underwritten, which involves giving the insurer a full disclosure of your medical history, and, moratorium (also known as auto-exclusion), which doesn’t require any health information to be disclosed. Under the private medical insurance umbrella there are a wide range of policies to choose from including, for example, a ‘6 week plan’ which covers the cost of private medical insurance when NHS waiting times for that treatment are likely to be for more than 6 weeks.
When you are ill, anything that adds to your stress and discomfort can seem to magnify the unpleasantness of the situation. If, by buying private medical insurance, you can avoid some of the additional stresses it’s definitely worth looking into. Ask your broker for bespoke advice on finding a private medical insurance policy to suit not only your situation but also your pocket.