Few people are likely to argue that taking care of your health is a good idea. It might involve a myriad of different consultations and treatments, from medical complaints to trips to the optician; from dental work to complementary procedures such as acupuncture and homoeopathy.
If you are eager to take care of your health, you won’t want to wait until an emergency develops or the first signs of some condition begin to show, but schedule regular check-ups as a matter of course.
What might be holding you back, though, is the cost of every such visit, consultation and treatment. Health cash plans are designed to take care of your everyday health care needs by reimbursing you the whole or part of the cost of looking after yourself across a range of medical disciplines.
How they work
The principle is very simple – in return for payment of your monthly subscription to a health cash plan provider, you typically receive between 75% and 100% of the cost of your appointment and its associated treatment, up to annual set limits.
What do health care cash plans cover?
The range of services covered varies from one provider to another but may include appointments with the:
- optician (plus help with costs towards prescription glasses);
- plus, overnight stays in an NHS hospital or money towards a private consultation.
This list is not exhaustive, nor, as already stated, will every health cash plan provider offer all these benefits. That is why it is important you compare health cash plans, to see what services are covered and what limits apply.
There are also some treatment-specific cash plans available, such as dental or physiotherapy plans. So if you know that you are likely to be seeing your dentist on a regular basis, for example, you might want to limit your expenditure on a dental cash plan alone.
How much do health cash plans cost?
Many providers also offer a range of cover options within their cash plan packages, so you can choose the plan that most suits your budget.
For example, a SimplyHealth cash plan currently offers four levels of cover with the monthly premium for an individual starting from £11.88 to £35.64.
Similarly, with a Westfield health cash plan or a plan provided by Bupa, monthly payments may range from little more than £5 right up to £34, depending on the package you choose.
The cheaper the monthly premium, typically the lower the annual limit.
Are health cash plans a good idea?
Health cash plans allow you to choose the consultations, check-ups and treatment you want, pay for it, submit the invoice and receive reimbursement of between 75% and 100% of what you spent. In that way, it is different – and invariably cheaper – than private medical insurance.
The Net Doctor points out that the cost of private medical insurance depends on your age and any pre-existing medical conditions. If you have a health cash plan (where you “self-pay”) your age is less critical, and if you choose treatment for a pre-existing medical condition, the costs may also be reimbursed by your cash plan provider. No medical is needed for you to pay into a health cash plan.
If required, some health cash plans can apply not only to yourself, but may also extend some degree of cover to your partner and any children. A SimplyHealth cash plan, for example, extends free cover and reimbursement of between 75% and 100% of your health care bills to your partner and up to four children.
Health cash plans may be more limited in the range of services provided by private medical insurance, and there is a cap on the maximum amount that may be reimbursed in any one year, but they offer flexibility and affordability – qualities which make health cash plans worth considering for many people.
Some people may have both a private medical insurance policy and a healthcare cash plan to complement each other, with the private medical insurance taking care of the ‘bigger’ costs (such as private surgery) and the cash plan helping towards the day-to-day costs of keeping healthy.