Are you put off the thought of private health insurance because of your age and what it is likely to cost?
The good news is that it might not prove as expensive as you think, since there are ways of reducing the cost of over 50 health insurance, making it an affordable option.
There are hundreds of different types of policy, explains an article in the Daily Mail newspaper, allowing one in every ten adults in the UK to arrange private medical insurance (PMI) and funding more than one million surgeries every year.
A careful health insurance comparison may help to show that you are never too old to take out such cover; how the cost of premiums may be lowered; and just how affordable it might be.
If you already have private health insurance cover, you might want to compare health insurance plans to discover new ways of reducing your monthly premiums.
Types of cover
Your health insurance comparison might start at the very beginning by looking at the two main types of over 50 health insurance;
- a fully underwritten policy, for example, provides the more comprehensive cover – but you need to make a very detailed medical history, explains the Consumers’ Association’s Which? magazine and the premiums are relatively expensive;
- typically, an often cheaper alternative is so-called moratorium private health insurance. This requires a much briefer history and instead applies blanket exclusions for treatment of particular pre-existing illnesses and conditions which you have been asked to declare.
What you need to know
The general rule is that the more you pay, the more illnesses and conditions are likely to be covered, a greater range of treatment options offered and the broader your choice of private hospitals and facilities.
To keep the cost of over 50 health insurance within your budget, therefore, you may decide to restrict your choice of hospital, or take a plan that provides treatment if you have been waiting on the NHS for six weeks or longer. (This is discussed in more detail in the next section).
Some over 50 health insurance schemes may also be “age protected” – meaning that, if you subscribe by a given age, the cost of premiums are held at the same level as you get older (and go up only by the standard annual rate of increase).
What are self-pay schemes?
You might also pay lower premiums by opting for cover that gives you the choice of whether or not to use private medical facilities – by using them only if NHS waiting lists are longer than an acceptable minimum, for example.
These typically offer reimbursement of an agreed proportion of the costs of the private treatment you elect – and are sometimes known as “self-pay” schemes.
Just as with many other forms of insurance, the cost of private medical insurance cover may be lowered by agreeing to bear a greater first part of any successful claim yourself – by way of a policy excess.
The principle is simple and straightforward – the higher the excess, the lower the cost of your private health insurance premiums may be.
What is covered?
What distinguishes the many different types of health insurance plan is the range of treatments and procedures covered. So, when you compare health insurance, therefore, this is the principal area on which to focus – for example:
- most schemes include cover for treatment on an outpatient basis, but there may be variations on the procedures offered or a maximum number of visits or a restriction on the value of outpatient consultations in any one year;
- day-patient and inpatient care are also typically included in any health insurance scheme, but the level and comfort of facilities may vary.
If you are over 50 and need health insurance, the cost might not prove the barrier you imagined. There are ways and means for lowering the expense of the cover you choose while tailoring your policy to meet your individual needs and circumstances.