Home

Private Medical Insurance (PMI) has been increasing in popularity as people decide to add extra support to their National Health Service (NHS) benefits. PMI is not a replacement for NHS. It is simply providing additional assistance, more comfort and convenience and peace of mind.

Health Insurance

Coverage

Private Medical Insurance generally gives coverage to in-patient medical care like tests, surgery, treatments and nursing care as well as outpatient needs such as doctor visits. These are done at a private hospital or at a private unit in the NHS.  With PMI, there is no more need to be in the long waiting list of the NHS before diagnosis or treatment is given. This could lower the risk of making the illness worse. You are also able to choose which private hospital you want to go to as long as it is included in your policy. There is a list of doctors and hospitals to go to where your PMI will be accepted so it is important to check it before taking out the policy.

As opposed to critical illness insurance, PMI only covers short-term curable illness and injury.  The specific types of covered illnesses and injuries differ from one policy to another.

Types:

Budget – Budget PMIs may be cheap but have limits set on the amount of cover for treatments. The benefits are also minimal and its general purpose is to just give you some support added to the NHS care you can get.

Standard – For peace of mind, the standard PMI policy is good enough. It gives you access to private medical care when you may need it as well as full cover for treatments and some other benefits. It is more expensive than the budget policy but you can get more coverage for more types of illnesses and injuries as well as extent of cover.

Six-week plans – This type of Private Medical Insurance will only give you coverage if the treatment is not available at the NHS within six weeks. The six-week plans are very cheap and its comprehensiveness will vary from one PMI to another.

Other Types:

Fully underwritten – this type of PMI requires you to submit a full medical history and give permission to the insurer to ask your doctor about your health. It is more expensive than the other type since the premium would depend on your health condition. The more illnesses you are at risk for, the more expensive your premium becomes.

Moratorium – Moratorium underwritten policies will not cover your pre-existing conditions for a set amount of time after you take the policy. For example, your insurer sets the moratorium for 24 months; they will not pay for any treatment or medical care you will get if your illness is due to your pre-existing condition.

Limitations

-          Pre-existing conditions

-          Pregnancy

-          Drug or alcohol related medical problems

-          Mental healthcare

-          HIV/AIDS

-          Cosmetic surgeries

-          Dental and Ophthalmic care

There may be more limitations on your policy as this depends on the policy itself. Generally, the abovementioned are not covered but depending on whether your plan is basic, mid-level or comprehensive, you might be given coverage so do check with your insurance company.

Factors

Your Private Medical Insurance premium will not only depend on the comprehensiveness of your plan. There are also some factors that the insurance company will consider before determining the price you have to pay. These factors include:

Lifestyle – Your insurer will have to take into consideration whether your daily activities are risky or not. If you like dangerous sports, be prepared to pay higher. If you are a smoker or you consume alcohol more than occasionally, your premium will also be higher. In case your job requires you to travel abroad or puts you in a more dangerous background, there is more price to pay so it is a good idea to ask your employer if they will provide you with health insurance so you don’t have to pay for the full price yourself.

Age – Premiums are higher for older people because they face more risk of getting ill or injured. There is no way around this. The only thing to do is to get health insurance as early as you can if you are interested and capable rather than wait later in life. In case you are already over 50, there are some other types of insurance that can give you the same peace of mind so it is worth checking and comparing before you get insured.

Health condition – The more frail you are, the more expensive your insurance premium will be. Insurance companies would want to reduce the risks of losing a lot of money on you so they will have to charge you extra if this is the case. They will consider your weight and height and whether you exercise or not to determine if you are in good condition. They will also check your full medical background including the conditions you have asked your doctor about even if you were not diagnosed with it.

Private Medical Insurance is a good benefit to have because you cannot discount the fact that peace of mind is very important especially these uncertain times. If you can afford it or if your employer offers it as a perk in your company, be very grateful. Even if you don’t want to have to use it because using it would mean there is something wrong with your health, it is still a great plan to keep security when it comes to the healthcare you can have access to. The best way to choose a Private Medical Insurance policy is to shop around for the most you can get coverage and benefits from. There are many insurance companies that offer this and some even give freebies or offer you very low premiums. Compare what you see and if you are still not sure, talk to someone about it. Since you will be spending some hard earned money on your PMI, make sure that you will get what you need when the time comes for you to use it.