With the NHS under pressure, is private health insurance a good way to ensure you get the best treatment? We consider the options.
There’s never a good time to be ill, particularly if you’re self-employed or have a family to support, but private health insurance can take some of the worry out of getting timely healthcare.
Good though NHS treatment can be, waiting times are a continuous concern and the option of being able to turn to private medical treatment can help alleviate worries.
But what are the other advantages of private medical insurance (PMI)?
Apart from speed of diagnosis and treatment, the main advantages of private treatment are that you get more choice of when are where you are treated, whether it be a private hospital or a specialised treatment facility, along with possible access to some medicines and procedures which may not be available on the NHS. Another advantage is that you will normally be able to get access to a private room, with more flexibility on facilities such as visiting hours.
Traditionally, private healthcare has been seen as expensive, but now it’s common to use price comparison sites to shop around for deals. This may not, though, give you access to the whole of the market or give you a bespoke quote, so a health insurance broker may be an option.
Look for a broker which is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, free to consult and not tied to a particular provider. That way you can be sure that the financial advice you receive is impartial and tailored to your circumstances, including your age, employment status and so on.
Bear in mind that some chronic conditions, such as asthma and diabetes, are covered by NHS treatments and would rarely be covered by a healthcare insurer.
Checking Eligibility For Savings
You may be able to save on your health insurance if you:
✓ Add an excess so you cover your charges up to a certain limit
✓ Take a ‘six-week option’, accepting NHS treatment if available within six weeks
✓ Accept a reduced list of hospitals or types of treatment cover
✓ Insure through a company employee scheme
✓ Get a discount by insuring your whole family