Private Medical Insurance
So what does private medical insurance provide that the NHS doesn’t and what are the advantages of private medical insurance that make it so popular?
Health conditions covered by private medical insurance
Private medical insurance is usually designed to treat what are called acute conditions. These are short-term health problems that need treatment but that also respond quickly, leading to a full recovery. Private health insurance in the UK is not seen as a direct replacement for the NHS, as accident and emergency or intensive care facilities are only available at a few of the very large London-based private hospitals.
The exact conditions covered by your private medical insurance will vary between policies, but will generally not include some chronic conditions. These are long term illnesses that need constant or regular care. Your private medical insurance is also unlikely to cover pre-existing conditions that were present when you took out your policy.
Private medical insurance policies also vary in the level of cover provided. Most will cover in-patient services, such as treatment, surgery and hospital stays, but out-patient services, consultations, aftercare and drugs, and preventive medicine are generally optional extras.
What are the benefits of private medical insurance?
The overall benefit is that it gives you access to private medical care, which has four main advantages:
- Speed of access to treatment: For many people, this is the biggest advantage of private medical insurance. Being covered by private health insurance means that you’ll receive prompt attention when you need it, without waiting weeks for an appointment and perhaps months on an NHS waiting list for your surgery or treatment.
- Choice of timing: Patients with private medical insurance can choose when to have treatment for less urgent problems. For example, you could fit elective surgery around your work schedule or other commitments, or choose to have treatment when friends or family are free to help with childcare.
- Choice of hospital, consultant and surgeon: As well as choosing the timing of your treatment, private medical insurance also allows you to choose the hospital you are treated at and the consultant or surgeon who treats you, although the number of hospitals available to you will depend on your level of private medical insurance cover.
- A higher standard of facilities: Another advantage of private medical insurance is the guarantee of high quality facilities should you need to stay in hospital. Most private hospitals, and private wings within NHS establishments, will provide a private room with en suite bathroom, as well as an a la carte menu, open visiting and many other premium facilities.
Choosing the right private medical insurance
In an ideal world, your private medical insurance would cover every condition, consultant and hospital for the full duration of your treatment and aftercare, but this level of cover can be prohibitively expensive. As an independent private health insurance broker, Health Insurance Solutions can help you find the right balance between cover and cost, comparing hundreds of policies to ensure you get an affordable private health insurance premium without compromising on your care.