How to Compare Health Insurance


May 19, 2014
How to Compare Health Insurance

Private Medical Insurance can seem a little complex and confusing so it’s little wonder some of us shy away from taking time to compare health insurance quotes when it comes to looking for cover.

Don’t be put off by what appears to be a never ending list of options though as it really isn’t that complicated to compare health insurance plans and its essential if you want to get the best health cover at the right price.

As ever the internet makes everything a lot easier with a number of comparison websites on hand ready to help you review and compare; understand the levels of health cover on offer and most importantly show you how to reduce costs while ensuring you still get a health insurance policy that fully meets your needs.

According to a Bupa survey, the main reasons people chose private medical insurance is to avoid long NHS queues and uncertainty about hospital cleanliness for fear of so called super bugs such as MRSA.

Whether you are choosing health cover for one or both of these reasons, or because you want to feel in control of your health and medical care, it is important that you do your homework first and choose a plan that fully covers your needs.

To get you started, take a look at the following tips for choosing the best health insurance plan, then why not visit one of the specialist health insurance comparison websites to see what is on offer.

What type of health insurance is right for you?
When it comes to deciding on the right type of health insurance plan, there are two options to choose from:

•    A Fully Underwritten Plan – requires full medical history as part of your application process and depending on the information received, may exclude you for certain pre-existing or related conditions.
•    A Moratorium Plan – usually a cheaper health insurance plan with a more basic application process. You will not be covered for any pre-existing conditions you have had within the last few years (typically 5 years) for a set period of around 2 years. If you don’t have any symptoms or are not treated for the pre-existing condition during this set period, you will not be excluded from cover in the future.

A fully underwritten health insurance plan could be useful for those wanting certainty about what is and isn’t covered whereas a moratorium health insurance plan could be suitable for people in good health who are looking for a simple application process.

What level of protection are you looking for?
Health insurance can be broken down into three areas:

•    Outpatient Treatment – where you visit a specialist, hospital or outpatient clinic for consultation, tests or treatment but are not admitted as a day patient or inpatient.
•    Day Patient Treatment – where you are admitted to the hospital for the day.
•    Inpatient Treatment – where you are admitted to hospital for one or more nights due to a medical condition.

Inpatient and day patient care is typically included in most plans however outpatient treatment is usually only included in comprehensive health insurance plans.
Some standard plans may include an element of outpatient care but will either restrict the number of treatments allowed or have a monetary limit.

How can you cut costs?
It’s not always the best move to automatically choose the cheap health insurance option as it may not provide the appropriate level of health cover however there are certain things you can do to reduce the price you pay on a monthly or annual basis:

•    Increase your excess – the more you are prepared to pay per claim, the lower your premium will be
•    Agree to be treated by the NHS if treatment is within a specified timeframe (e.g. 6 weeks)
•    Pay a percentage of the cost of the treatment – the higher the percentage, the lower your premium
•    Agree to be treated by a reduced range of hospitals
•    Consider health insurance providers who offer discounts for healthy living such as PruHealth and Aviva
•    Shop around and compare health insurance plans

These options may not be available with all private medical insurance policies but most reputable health insurance comparison websites will list the ones that are on offer. 


Ashley Shepherd is an Over 50s Personal Finance Expert

ashley shepherd

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