What is private medical insurance?

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Also known as private health care cover, private medical insurance (PMI), private healthcare and health insurance, private medical insurance gives you fast access to the health treatments specified on the policy.

The number of people seeking private medical insurance in the UK is steadily increasing, as the NHS suffers from increasing pressure on its services. Your health is your most valuable asset and a lengthy waiting time for treatment can make all the difference to your health and recovery – especially if your health is deteriorating while you wait for an appointment or referral.

What are the benefits of private medical insurance?

There are many benefits to private medical care, including:

  1. Control – you can choose who to see and where to go for treatment from an approved list
  2. Peace of mind – with less time spent waiting for results and treatment
  3. Flexibility – you can choose appointments to fit around you
  4. Fast access to treatment – you will be seen quickly with no long waiting lists
  5. Comfort – you can attend private hospital facilities for treatment

What is included in a private medical insurance plan?

A private medical insurance policy should provide cover for the three most common reasons for hospital admission:

  • Circulatory diseases
  • Cancer
  • Digestive problems

However, extra benefits can also be added or included to a standard policy, for example, telephone services for when you need qualified medical advice over the telephone. Additional benefits can also include:

  • Dentistry treatment
  • Eye tests (and glasses)
  • Complementary medicine
  • Health screening
  • Maternity services

Who provides private medical insurance?

There are many private medical insurance providers in the UK, so you can choose a policy to suit your own individual needs. Your insurer may also recommend certain hospitals or clinics to policyholders.

What needs to taken into consideration when taking out PMI?

  • The level of cover you want – whether low-cost or comprehensive
  • The hospitals listed on the policy
  • What treatments are included
  • What treatments are excluded
  • What is covered as an inpatient and outpatient
  • If there is a limit on claims
  • If your family can be covered on your policy
  • The cost of the plan, while making sure you are well covered

What information do I need to give to private medical insurance providers?

You must inform your provider of any pre-existing health conditions, as these may not be included in the cover for a certain period of time. You must also provide information about any past conditions.

Alternatively, you can simply accept that any pre-existing conditions you had in 5 years before taking the policy won’t be covered by the insurer for at least 2 years.

The insurer may contact your GP to confirm all the information you have provided so it is important to provide all relevant information.

Contact your insurer before any treatment starts

The cost of medical treatment can escalate very quickly. You should  contact your insurer immediately if you need to make a claim to find out what you are covered for before you start treatment.

It is likely that you will need to make a claim at some point during your cover, so when you are choosing a policy, make sure that you look in detail at what is actually covered, rather than simply choosing the cheapest option. It is hard to put a price on your health. To obtain an individual medical insurance quote or to discuss your own healthcare insurance requirements, contact us and our team of specialists will be happy to advise you.