Private Health Care

Why Choose Private Health Insurance?

Everyone in Britain no matter what their age, financial background or where they come from are entitled to healthcare. The National Health Service is an important part of society and 80% of people want it to continue to be maintained.

However, as most of us are aware, the NHS is an under-invested system, with too few staff who are rushed off their feet, performing too few operations and causing patients having to wait much too long for treatment. The NHS is good as an accident and emergency service but falls short in other areas of treatment due to very limited and strained resources.

If you have an illness that requires prompt treatment or for which you would prefer to be given faster treatment, getting private health insurance is the best option, since you can try to persuade your GP or hospital to speed things up for you, but this only means that someone else is pushed further down the waiting list.

Even those on limited funds can now apply for private cover since a range of products and choices are available which you can discuss with your potential insurer. Getting private health insurance allows you freedom of when and where the procedure is carried out, access to private hospital facilities as well as many other benefits which may not be available to you on the NHS. However, once you start treatment for an ailment, eg. getting an MRI, all further treatment for the illness (if one is found) will have to be under private cover; you will not be able to switch between NHS and private treatments.

There are three basic types of private health insurance you can get which give you the subgroup options listed above. These are:
- Individual cover which can be bought for yourself and your family
- Group cover for people that are self-employed or own a small business
- Cover for people abroad who are either working or living abroad, permanently or temporarily.

Each of these can be further separated into two types of private health insurance:
- moratorium
- full medical history underwriting

Moratorium

You call and arrange a policy to be written which excludes any pre-existing medical conditions and any related conditions. The pre-existing conditions may be eligible for cover if, after an agreed length of time, usually two years, no treatment has been sought - forgoing medical treatment to achieve this is not recommended! Some conditions which are chronic may not even be covered by this type of policy.

Full Medical History Underwriting

Here you call and you make the underwriter aware of your medical history. This type of private health insurance will take longer to arrange but will provide you with a policy that lists all the ailments that are covered so you know which are excluded.

What Private Health Insurance will not cover

Many insurers will not cover you for pre-existing conditions nor will they provide insurance for chronic illnesses. Accident and emergency treatment is excluded by all insurers as is GP services, prescription charges and normal pregnancy. However, it is now possible to get separate private health insurance for many types of cancer which insurers noted may not be open to as advanced treatments under the NHS.

Most insurers will not cover non-emergency treatment that is performed outside the country, drug and alcohol abuse as well as self-inflicted injuries. HIV/AIDS is not covered by most and any form of cosmetic surgery (including non-surgical) are not insured. Organ transplant and kidney dialysis are also treatments that are excluded from most policies. If you have a dangerous hobby or work, you will again find it difficult to get private cover.

 

by Dr Judith Juhasz for Whatprice.co.uk 



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