Private Health Insurance on a Budget

Investing in affordable health insurance could save you time and relieve pressures on the NHS—here’s how to make the process easier

Only around nine million people in the UK have private health insurance, but covering the cost of your own medical care could shorten waiting times on the NHS, speed up diagnosis and provide access to specialist treatment and better facilities. Health plan options vary dramatically, allowing policies to be tailored to the needs of the individual. However, this can make navigating the world of medical cover overwhelming. Whether your health insurance is provided by your employer or comes out of your own budget, here’s how to make sure you’re getting the most affordable and effective cover for you.

Know what you need

Selecting a health insurance plan based on your independent needs will save money on unnecessary expenses. A few options are: outpatient cover, comprehensive cancer cover, mental health cover and therapies cover. Reducing outpatient cover, tweaking your policy to include fewer hospitals and adding an excess can also save on fees.

Shop around

Comparing health insurance quotes will help you to find a more suitable premium for the lowest price—there are plenty of online tools that compare quotes. You can also buy directly through insurance companies, or through a broker if you need the assistance.

Check if you qualify

Around three quarters of the UK’s policies are provided by companies and cover around seven million staff members. In these cases, you can often add your spouse and children to the insurance at a subsided cost. Other money-saving areas to look into are: adding a six-week-clause option, taking out a joint policy, building a no claims discount and choosing a moratorium policy over a fully underwritten one.

Don’t chop & change

Unlike with car and home insurance, switching out your current provider can cause problems as most policies exclude pre-existing conditions. Also, as you get older you become more of a health risk and premiums tend to rise, making it more difficult to get a favourable deal.

Stay healthy

Some insurers provide discounts and cashbacks if you stay healthy and go to the gym. On the other hand, if you’re a smoker, your health insurance costs will likely be higher than those who do not smoke. Smokers must abstain for at least 12 months to be considered a non-smoker.

Did you know?

Private health insurance doesn’t usually cover pre-existing illnesses, drug abuse, normal pregnancy costs, organ transplants, infertility, A&E visits and non-essential cosmetic treatments.

This article was originally published in Live to 100 with Dr Hilary Jones. Read the digital edition, here. 

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