Most UK residents are entitled to free healthcare from the NHS. With almost all conditions covered, it raises questions over why you would pay for private medical insurance (PMI). However, with reports of long waiting lists and funding cuts, many are turning to private policies to obtain their medical treatment.
Here we look at the pros and cons of taking out a health insurance policy.
PMI covers all, or some, of the medical bills should you choose to be treated privately. It also gives you a choice in the level of care you receive and when it is delivered. PMI is quite often provided as part of an employee benefits package and, in some cases, may also cover your immediate family members.
Like most other types of insurance, the level of cover will vary by the policy you buy. Basic cover will usually pick up the cost of in-patient treatments, such as surgery and tests, whilst more advanced cover will also include out-patient appointments, for example, consultations with specialists. They may also pay you a small fixed amount for any overnight stays in an NHS hospital.
Most policies will not cover you for pre-existing medical conditions, organ transplants, normal pregnancy and childbirth, cosmetic surgery, injuries sustained through dangerous sports and chronic illnesses such as HIV/AIDs, diabetes and epilepsy.
PMI is very much a personal choice but it is usually driven by people’s desire to speed up the treatment process. If you have debts to repay, then it may be worthwhile prioritising those before taking out PMI as the premiums can be expensive.
If you are thinking about taking out PMI mainly for you children, then it is worth knowing that all children get priority on the NHS, so going privately may not be worthwhile, unless it is for something very specific or you would like to seek a second opinion.
It is important to note that, even if you take out private medical insurance, you do not give up your right to use the NHS. You can also choose to pay for one-off private scans, consultations and treatments without committing to an annual policy.
If you would like to talk to an adviser about your health insurance policies, please contact Finura.
Articles on this website are offered only for general information and educational purposes. They are not offered as, and do not constitute, financial advice. You should not act or rely on any information contained in this website without first seeking advice from a professional.
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