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Glossary
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Private health insurance

What is Private Health Insurance?

In recent years, more and more UK consumers have started to consider private medical insurance as an option for their healthcare needs.  This rise in interest has led to an increase in health insurance policies targeted at individuals. In the past, private health insurance used to be something that you would only really get through your job as a benefit (if you were lucky!) but nowadays it is quite common for consumers to buyindividual health insurance as an alternative.

Private medical insurance has a very specific role to play in both everyday and emergency healthcare. Great as the concept of the NHS is, the UK medical system often fails or cannot cope with demand. So, if you have a serious illness or accident, then you may well get great treatment on the NHS, but, if you need routine treatment or a non-emergency operation, then you could be waiting a long time for help. Health insurance policies—including individual health insurance—simply make it easier to get the care you need when you need it.

What to expect from a private health insurance policy

You can take out a private health insurance policy to protect yourself and other people. So, for example, you could also get the policy to cover your partner and children if you liked. To get this benefit, you simply choose a plan, submit an application, and then pay any premium costs that you are charged by the insurer (usually on a monthly basis). If you need to make a claim then the insurer will either:

  • Pay your hospital/medical bills direct; or,

  • Give you the cash to pay the bills.

Typical benefits from this kind of private medical insurance include

  • The ability to choose who treats you, where you are treated, and when you receive treatment.

  • The use of private hospital facilities for both in-patient and out-patient care.

  • Individual health insurance cover for in-patient and out-patient needs.

  • The cost of consultations, treatments, operations, hospital care, and tests.

  • The cost of alternative treatments.

  • Individual health insurance cover for dental treatment.

Bear in mind that you won't necessarily get fully comprehensive private health insurance cover with all policies. Many private health insurance plans are ranked from the basic to the comprehensive; the more expensive your private medical insurance is, the more types of cover you will get. And, many health insurance policies will set financial limits on how much treatment you can have in any given individual health insurance policy year. So read the terms and conditions to check for this before you sign up to a policy!

When private health insurance won't work

You won't use your private medical insurance to cover you if you need emergency care, i.e. it won't be necessary if you are admitted to A&E after an accident. It also won't cover general medical costs such as visits to your GP in most cases. Other instances where health insurance policies won't be much use to you include:

  • Treatment for illnesses/conditions that cannot be cured.

  • Treatment for pre-existing medical conditions (i.e. something that you suffered from before taking out individual health insurance).

Private health insurance can simply make it easier and more comfortable to manage your everyday healthcare needs. With private medical insurance in place, a routine operation can be arranged at a time to suit you and you won't be shunted through the NHS system of last minute cancellations, waits, and delays. So, these types of health insurance policies can be worth your while.  With individual health insurance, you can get medical care when and where you need it with no fuss and no bother.

Compare health insurance providers

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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