What is private health insurance? An overview
There are approximately 3.26 million people currently with their own health insurance cover in the UK but with free NHS cover available to all, there are plenty of factors to consider before you decide to purchase.
Monday 03 December 2012
What is health insurance?
Health insurance is designed to ensure that if you need medical treatment in future, you won’t need to worry about NHS waiting lists or paying for the cost of the treatment. It’s designed to get you diagnosed and treated quickly, and will offer you a prompt referral to a consultant and admission to a private hospital at a time and place that is convenient for you.
Once you are covered you typically have a choice of private hospital from an agreed list provided by your insurer, most hospitals offer a private en-suite room, TV and a choice of food – Some even have menus that have been put together by Michelin star chefs.
Why buy private medical cover?
Here are some of the reasons why people consider health insurance:
- Find out what’s wrong: if you are unwell and you are referred to a specialist by your GP, you will normally be able to arrange a specialist appointment within a few days.
- Get treated: if you do need any further tests or an operation, you can arrange this at a time and hospital convenient to you.
- Facilities available: most private hospitals have access to up to date technology and will offer patients a private en-suite room, TV and a choice of food from a menu.
How do I apply?
When considering Private Medical Insurance, there are typically two types of cover.
The first is cover with moratorium underwriting. In this case the insurer will not cover you initially for any conditions that have affected you in the past few years; they will let you know how long for. This may be a condition that you have received treatment for, taken medication for or even asked your GP for advice about. After a period of time, an insurer may then cover this medical condition subject to the terms and conditions of the plan you take out.
The second is cover with full medical underwriting, where you are required to give details of your medical history as part of the application process. The insurer may write to your doctor, with your consent, to obtain further information if required. For customers over the age of 75, most insurers would offer full medical underwriting only.
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How do I choose which health insurance cover is best for me?
There is a wide range of cover available. Some people decide to opt for comprehensive cover, whereas others choose just to cover themselves in one or two main areas.
Your choice depends on a number of factors including your budget, whether you want an excess, if you would like to include outpatient costs such as x-rays and blood tests, and which hospitals you would require access to. Always remember to speak to a potential insurer about any health queries which might impact your cover or anyone in your family that you are covering on your policy.
Making sure you have considered these factors in depth can make sure that you get the right policy for you, your family and your budget.
AXA PPP healthcare offers a modular health product allowing customers to select which items are most appropriate for them. All customers are covered for the essentials:
There is then a choice of addons which can be used to boost your cover:
If you want a lower price, add an excess or a six-week safety net to bring the cost down.
Are there limitations?
Most health insurance providers will only cover you for new conditions that arise after you have taken out a policy. They cover diseases and illnesses that respond quickly to treatment. Conditions that require long term or on-going treatment, coverage for normal pregnancy treatment and cosmetic treatments are unlikely to be covered by a health insurance provider.
If you have any health concerns or pre-existing health conditions, it is always worth speaking to providers to make sure you are clear as to what will be covered, before you need to make a claim.
Making a claim – how does it work?
If you are not well and are referred by your GP to a specialist, you must call your provider to advise them and to confirm any limits on your policy. It is recommended that you do this at every stage of a claim, so that you can be sure that any changes of treatment or medication are advised to your insurer and that they are covered by your policy.
Any excess on your policy will normally need to be paid by you to the hospital.
You will not usually receive any bills from the specialist or the hospital for your treatment; these will be settled by the health insurer directly.
For more information on health insurance click here or call 01202 544 095 to find out more about how you can tailor health insurance to suit you and to get a quote.
The Independent is an Introducer Appointed Representative of AXA PPP healthcare Company UK Limited who are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.
The Independent are introducing customers to AXA PPP healthcare to provide affordable health insurance to The Independent customers.