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The Benefits and Limitations of Private Health Insurance

Private medical insurance coverage is optional health insurance coverage which a person, or an entire family, can take out by paying a monthly fee. It is very much the same as life or home insurance coverage, which most people will be very familiar with. There are several benefits to paying for private health insurance and here are just some of the things you should take into consideration when obtaining this kind of insurance policy.

 

Quite possibly the most significant benefit to having personal medical insurance coverage is to avoid the long waiting lists that are currently typical on the NHS. Of course, we all love and value the NHS, but it is true that over recent years NHS waiting lists for certain operations or medical procedures have grown significantly as demand has continued to outstrip the availability of these types of medical care. This has resulted in many people opting to go to a private hospital, such as those run by One Healthcare, particularly for fairly common operations such as hip replacements and knee surgery. These are the sort of procedures which can greatly improve the quality of a person’s life when carried out, but which, sadly, there tends to be a lengthy waiting list for with the NHS. Those with a private medical insurance policy that covers these types of conditions are able to avoid a lengthy wait before getting the necessary operation. So, in short, one of the main benefits of having health insurance is that it can give you peace of mind that if you become unwell or develop a physical condition you will be promptly seen, have fast access to any diagnositc tests or scans and you are guaranteed to get the absolute best of treatment when it is required.

 

A second major benefit of having personal medical insurance is the choice that comes with it. If you need to have to have an operation you will generally have a choice over the specialist that does the procedure, in addition to your choice of private hospital. This may mean that you can go to a hospital closer to home. Of course you will also have your own room whilst at the hospital too, which means that visiting hours won’t be restricted as they usually are when in a NHS hospital. In addition, you will be provided with a much more extensive choose of meals. A private hospital room will also mean that you do not get any other distractions that you might have on an NHS hospital ward, such as having medical trainees attending or other patients and their visitors coming and going. A room in a private hospital is simply more, well, private.

 

Of course, medical insurance policies can vary greatly in what they cover with some covering a far more extensive range of conditions and ailments and having a generous limit on the cost of treatment that they will cover whilst other, perhaps more easily affordable policies, will not cover for all medical conditions and will also only pay out for treatment up to a certain cost. The more basic policies will generally cover the cost of tests and surgery in hospital as well as day-care surgery whilst higher premium policies might entitle you to out-patient treatments with specialists and consultants, for example.

 

It is also true that private health insurance does not generally cover chronic or incurable illnesses including some cancers and also that transplants, cosmetic surgery and normal maternity costs are not usually covered either.

 

Aside from the possible limitations of what each policy may cover, the only real downside to having private health insurance is the cost. They are certainly not within the reach of everyone’s means and the cost increases with the age of the person that the policy is to cover too. This means that whilst a young family of four might be able to get cover for less than £100 per month, for example, the premium for an elderly couple could easily be three times this amount.

 

In addition to the cost, it must be said that although private hospitals and the consultants that practice at them generally offer excellent levels of care, there may be certain, more severe conditions which the NHS is actually extremely good at dealing with and for which private healthcare offers no improvement, even if a policy does cover the condition. These include cancer, a stroke or heart disease, for example, as the NHS offers priority treatment in these cases.

 

Bearing all of the above in mind, it is important that when considering taking out private medical insurance you take the time to carefully examine the list of conditions that are covered by the policy and weigh this up with the urgency that you might wish to get treatment for any of these, as well as your likelihood of suffering from any of them. You should then hopefully be able to choose a policy that covers you for all of the potential ailments that you might be likely to suffer from for which you would want to gain swift and effective treatment whilst also keeping the policy premium at a level that is affordable for you.

 

Most healthcare insurance providers will also offer policies that cover whole families. These can seem more affordable, but again, you should look carefully at which conditions the policy will and will not cover as, of course, everyone’s needs within you family are likely to be quite different.

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