Not that many moons ago private health care was the preserve of the rich and/or famous, while the rest of us had to take pot luck with (an exceptional, but historically stretched) National Health Service. But then along came a succession of private health care groups which made these plans far more accessible (financially and geographically) to Joe Public, whilst at the same time more companies began offering medical insurance packages as part of their employee perks.
With private health insurance plans therefore being more plentiful than ever before, it would be all too easy to plump for the first decent-looking policy that fell on our laps, rather than shopping around. Plus, there’s the not inconsequential first step of determining just what YOU want your health insurance plan to do for you.
With this in mind we’ve researched and drawn up a shortlist, if you like, of the main factors to consider when choosing a health insurance policy. A rapid-fire guide to the quintessential elements of private medical plans which must be established between would-be policyholder and insurance provider from the very start.
But before we do, let’s remind ourselves of the acknowledged advantages of health insurance, and therein why it’s imperative that we seek out a package which works best for our individual requirements.
Health insurance is far more attainable and affordable than ever before
Firstly, by acquiring health insurance you can pretty much guarantee that you’ll be seen quicker at NHS hospitals, essentially making timely in-roads into notorious waiting lists, which in turns potentially means you’ll receive prompt treatment. With regard to this, it should also result in being able to choose which hospital you wish to attend and even earmark a particular consultant to carry out the diagnosis/subsequent procedure.
In addition to this you’ll also bag yourself a private room in a hospital or clinic, rather than settle for a bed on a public ward; potentially even getting your own en-suite facilities in some cases. What’s more, the possibilities of being granted access to medications and treatment that might otherwise be off limits from an NHS perspective could present themselves, should you venture down the health insurance route.
So, addressing these ‘factors to consider’ and the one which should always appear at the top of any such list is that of ‘which type of health insurance policy’ you wish to go for. There are, ostensibly, five predominant branches of private healthcare available to the general public, namely individual health insurance, family health insurance, child health insurance, joint health insurance and health care cash plans.
While the first four are more or less self-explanatory (in terms of who is covered), the fifth refers to a monthly premium-based package, whereby if you receive medical treatment you’ll be reimbursed by your insurer on a one-job-at-a-time basis, providing you supply them with a receipt for the health work undertaken. As opposed to the aforementioned examples which require an annual premium to be paid by the policyholder.