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Guide to Private Healthcare 

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Introduction to Heath Insurance for Over 50's 


Being born in the UK is occasionally something you can forget is special, there's a reason quite a lot of people try to live in the United Kingdom and the NHS is one of them. Despite Germany and other countries having similar health systems which citizens pay into during their working life. When it comes to Private Health Insurance, many ask why they need it and are pleasantly surprised when an employer offers it as part of an employment package and perk. 

There are comparisons to be made between private healthcare and the publicly funded NHS. You only have to open the pages of the daily newspapers to read about how short staffed they are, how departments are underfunded, the over spending on drugs, mismanagement, waiting lists, increase in superbugs. Yet the nation as a whole are proud as punch that it exists despite its failings. Though we do have a choice, as exampled by the exemplary employer offering an alternative health operation. 

My feet didn't touch the ground when a doctor advised I have a mole removed, within 48 hours I'd got an appointment at a private surgery and was back at work the next day. That may well have occurred at the NHS too, however consider this is pretty much the norm for the majority of operations. Reduced waiting lists, better food on tap, private rooms and seclusion for recovery, better personal care. The main reason being you pay for it, but what are you paying for? 

There are a multitude of private health companies, not just British, that seek to enter the private healthcare market and supply a service. They might be America, European, even Asian based. They charge you a varying sum on a monthly basis for annual cover and they let you pick and choose which operations, diseases and the level of care you can expect to receive. This way, most people can afford additional healthcare on a budget they can manage. 

​​​​What is Private Medical Insurance?


It would be silly for a private medical insurance company to come into the healthcare market in the UK and try and compete with a free at service national health system, especially one that is one of the largest employers in the world. Instead they market their medical insurance, PMI and private healthcare offering as a complimentary service to the NHS. Meaning they pick up in areas where the NHS is perhaps too busy, lack in staff or waiting lists are too long. Or for more specialist surgeries and diseases that sometimes the NHS cannot stretch due to the rarity, cost of drugs or cost of care.

Private health schemes allow you to tailor a healthcare programme that fits your budget and your daily needs. It may cover short term illnesses and accidents where a quick fix can be applied and get you back on your feet quicker than the NHS can. Simply because they have the whole country to look after but your private medical insurance has only you. Such pick and mix care can include the following:

  • Private on call ambulance for emergencies and transportation
  • Faster referrals and shorter waiting time for operations
  • Know a good doc, recommended? You get to choose hospital and surgeon
  • Lead a busy lifestyle? Only in the country for two hours, schedule appointments
  • Quality of hospital room is higher, en-suite, private, TV, better menu
  • No set visiting hours possible
  • More expensive drugs on hand and rare conditions treated

You should compare private health insurance quotes online and talk to a specialist before applying. Remember, while there are certain diseases and treatment the NHS cannot possibly carry out, private medical insurance is more opt in, than opt out. it's always good to get a consultation and family history review before you choose not to tick certain cover.

The Different Types of Private Health Insurance

Cover which encompasses different types of health insurance, the two main categories are s follows. The main differences between them being the argument they are currently having in America, about being denied healthcare cover based on pre-existing conditions.

  • Moratorium Plans: These are a simplified form of health cover which, using a health review will not insure for any health issues you have currently or recently. Example - It stops people paying for dental insurance the minute they have to pay £800 and instead receive the work on a health plan for £14.50 a month instead. This private medical insurance plan will prevent pay outs for a certain period (years) on pre-existing conditions and for longer should it arise again within the same period.
  • Fully Underwritten Plans: It is normal to be asked to undergo a full medical history when seeking invaluable insurance. An insurer will assess the Doctor's review and list all the conditions it is willing to cover and those they will not. Then they will cost each and supply you a variety of options on how to pay for your private health care plan. This could include certain cancers but not all, for instance or some accidents but not (dangerous) work related and so on.

There will always be a plan to suit, and the best and most competitive health insurance will always differ on price points because of what is and what isn't included in the final private healthcare quote.

How Is Medical Insurance Activated?


Using your PMI is far easier that you might think. Although once diagnosed or sent for referral the clauses start to work for or against you immediately. This could either see you going the private healthcare route you paid additionally for, or heading back towards the NHS.

The procedure is as follows: Visit your GP, who may refer you to a specialist. Call the medical insurance enquiry line to ascertain coverage, if covered an authorisation code will be provided, proceed with appointment with the specialist.

NHS Versus Private Medical Insurance


In some countries and indeed areas of the UK, private hospitals are a feature that are as ever present as free at service national hospitals. However some private medical insurance plans may have clauses that state should a private hospital be full then the NHS will provide a private room, or care may simply be an NHS hospital room regardless of private hospital availability.

You should also understand that serious illnesses may not be covered by PMI but at the same time, you may receive equal and timely treatment with the NHS as you would privately. Private health care will never replace that of the NHS when it comes to accidents and emergencies. Even private healthcare ambulances have to respond to 999 calls even if the patient isn't a private medical insurance customer.

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