How to Choose a Private Health Insurance Policy

At its core, private health insurance (also known as private medical insurance) covers or offsets the cost of treatment in the event that you become ill or injured. Of course, in reality, it’s a little more complicated than that. The UK is home to many different providers, with policies that are far from identical.

To make an informed decision, you need to be aware of what private health insurance does and does not include, along with the types of cover that are available. You should also know what to look for when selecting a provider. With this in mind, here’s how to choose a private health insurance policy.

Inclusions and Exclusions

While the specifics of health insurance plans can vary between providers, there are certain elements that form part of most policies. The following expenses are typically covered as standard:

  • Inpatient treatment (tests and surgery)
  • Outpatient treatment (diagnosis and scans)
  • Hospital accommodation and care
  • Medication (drugs must usually be approved by the NHS)

You might also receive extra cover for things like psychiatric treatment and therapies. What you are less likely to get with even the best private health insurance is coverage for pre-existing medical conditions. This is also true for long-term conditions such as asthma. Additional exclusions are drug use, pregnancy, transplants, and cosmetic treatments.

Comparing Providers

The simplest way to find the best health insurance policy for your needs is to head online. A service like Switch Health allows you to compare health insurance quotes from leading providers so that you can identify an ideal option. Not only is it completely free, but you can save up to 50% with exclusive deals that aren’t available elsewhere.

It might also be helpful to consult your GP or existing health insurer for recommendations. Another reliable source is the Private Healthcare Information Network (PHIN). It was established by the Competition and Markets Authority with the goal of making insurance more transparent, though using it isn’t quite as efficient as quote comparison sites.

Types of Cover

There are three types of private health insurance policies, namely moratorium, fully underwritten, and specialist cover. If you opt for the first kind, your chosen insurer will only require a limited amount of information from you. A moratorium policy is, therefore, more convenient than a fully underwritten policy, as the latter requires your full medical history.

However, the benefit of a fully underwritten policy is that you’ll know from the onset what you’re covered for. This type of insurance also tends to be cheaper. As for specialist policies, these usually comprise elements that are selected by the client depending on their individual needs. For example, they may focus on a specific disease such as cancer.

Given that we have the NHS, which in most cases delivers comprehensive healthcare, why would someone pay extra for private healthcare insurance? The main reason is that it gives you more choice regarding when and where you’re treated. You might also receive a higher quality service. Just be sure to choose the right provider.





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