Over 5 million people in the UK have some form of health insurance - and it’s popular for a reason. There are so many advantages to investing in health insurance including high quality care, more choice, value for money and peace of mind. But how do you find a health insurance plan that suits your requirement and budget? Here’s our top tips to help you compare health insurance plans.
Read up on health insurance
It may seem obvious but our number one tip to help you compare health insurance is to simply read up on what’s usually included in a health insurance plan in general. Typically, a health insurance plan includes:
- Inpatient treatment: Cover for surgery, tests and overnight stays in hospital
- Outpatient treatment: Includes diagnosis and seeing a consultant or GP
- Additional cover: This varies between policies but can include psychiatric treatment, private ambulance and home care.
- Drugs: Medication currently unavailable on the NHS
- Hospital accommodation: This may also come with some nursing care.
What type of plan?
There are two types of health insurance: Private Medical Insurance (PMI) or health cash plans. PMI is essentially fast-track access to a wide range of healthcare facilities and medical procedures. It’s ideal for conditions which are both curable and short-term. You’ll most likely need to answer a medical questionnaire. Cash plans, on the other hand, cover your everyday healthcare costs such as the opticians and dentist. There’s no medical questionnaire involved and you’re reimbursed for the majority or all of the costs up to a set limit. It may be wise to buy both together to give you all round cover and peace of mind. Not only will you avoid NHS waiting lists, but you get access to a wider range of professionals and procedures.
Get it done
If you start your private health plan early so you can take advantage of all the benefits. The younger you are, the more likely to be healthier and, as a result, you’ll pay lower premiums. Of course, it’s only natural your premiums will increase as you grow older. But if you haven’t made a claim on your health insurance then it could cost you a lot less in the long-run.
Find out what health insurance usually covers
Health insurance policies don’t tend to cover long-term illnesses such as chronic asthma or kidney dialysis. The same goes for drug or alcohol related problems or pre-existing conditions. Find out whether there is a cap on the cost of your treatment, as well as what’s included. Health insurance plans can vary according to:
- The range of medical problems covered such as basic medical problems of which you are most concerned or a fully comprehensive policy.
- Amount of compulsory excess
- Additional voluntary excess
- Upper limits on the cost of your treatment
Explore your options for reducing costs
It’s possible to cut the costs of your health insurance by tailoring your policy. Some ideas include:
- Paying a percentage of the full treatment cost. For example, you pay 25% of the cost and your health insurance covers the rest. The more you offer to pay, the less your premium!
- Agree to NHS treatment if it occurs within a set amount of time such as 8 weeks.
- Travel to hospitals that are a bit further away. This can cut your overall health insurance cost by a fair amount.
- Don’t make a claim / live a healthy lifestyle. Some companies will reduce your monthly payments using your no-claims bonus.
Take note of which companies make a regular appearance
You could go direct to each provider and get a quote that way, or you could use a specialist site to compare health insurance. At Over50Choices we work with some fantastic health insurance providers including Bupa, Pru Health, AXA PPP, Simplyhealth and Aviva - all of which are renowned for their quality cover and services. This way, you can gather several health insurance quotes all at once and decide which one is perfect for your needs and lifestyle.
Make sure you know how to use your health insurance
It’s easier than you think to put your health insurance plan into action, should you need it. You’ll need to make an appointment with your doctor, who will then refer you to a specialist. It’s then time for you to contact your insurance provider who will provide you with an authorisation code. The specialist will confirm your insurance covers your condition and you can then schedule an appointment. Make sure your condition is included in your cover before you see the specialist.
Make sure your future is in your hands and compare health insurance plans here.