Do I need health insurance?

Do I need health insurance? main image

Whether or not the National Health Service benefits from additional funding following the recent Brexit decision, it seems that the NHS will continue to be hard pressed for funds for some time to come.    

What this is likely to mean in practice is that waiting lists continue to grow, hospital beds are under high demand, and some procedures and treatments may no longer be offered by the NHS.   

If you decide that you may be better off supplementing anything the NHS has to offer with your own health insurance, therefore, you might want to be suitably armed with health insurance quotes for what you need.

Ask the experts

As specialists in the provision of health insurance for the over 50s, you might also want to use our service to compare health insurance quotes to see what is available suit your particular individual needs and circumstances.

Whilst we are making those searches on your behalf, you may also be thinking about ways of reducing the cost of any health insurance plan. 

Reducing the costs

As with any type of insurance, of course, the scope and level of the risks covered determines the cost of the premiums.   

Private health insurance, in particular, is significantly influenced by:

  • the range of illnesses and medical conditions covered
  • your choice of professionals involved in your treatment
  • the range of hospitals and other facilities made available to you

At the basic level, however, health insurance typically includes cover for:  

  • inpatient treatment 
  • outpatient treatment – where the extent of procedures and treatment covered may vary according to the level of cover you choose
  • hospital accommodation – with your range of choice typically determined by the level of cover you choose 
  • access to drugs which might not be available on the NHS.   

The Consumers’ Association’s Which? magazine also warns that exclusions typically include chronic conditions requiring longer-term treatment, such as kidney dialysis, or illnesses such as asthma, normal pregnancies, drug abuse and elective cosmetic surgery.   

Types of policy

One of the biggest determining factors when it comes to the cost of your health insurance and options for reducing that cost is the type of insurance policy you choose. There are two principal options – each of which has a potentially confusing title:  

Fully underwritten insurance

  • since this typically offers a wider form of coverage, premiums may be expected to be more expensive
  • you also need to give your full medical history – and might risk invalidating your health insurance plan if anything is omitted – with your insurer deciding which, if any, previous conditions are excluded from current cover
  • you may need to submit to a full medical examination

Moratorium underwriting

  • with this option, you may have to disclose somewhat less than your entire medical history – and the application process is therefore somewhat more straight forward
  • these types of policy also tend to be cheaper, since any medical condition you have had in the past five years (although only the past five years) is likely to be excluded
  • furthermore, pre-existing medical conditions are also likely to be excluded for the next two years    

Is private medical insurance worth it?

Private medical insurance could be worth it if want to have control over what happens should you become ill. With speedy access to specialists for diagnosis and treatment, use of private hospitals and drugs not available on the NHS, Private health insurance can get you back on your feet sooner.

You just need to decide on what is important to you so you can choose a plan that suits your needs and fits in with your budget.

If you decide that private health insurance may be a way of supplementing the facilities you have access to via the NHS, there are a number of options available, including those which may make your cover more affordable.   Further reading: Worried about the NHS? Consider private health insurance.  

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