Guide to Private Health Care

With the NHS on hand, you can be forgiven for wondering if there is any point to Private Health Insurance! Ok, the NHS is regularly open to bad press but the majority of people in the UK regard it as something to be extremely proud of. 

Yes we know wait times are long; the food can be pretty shocking and those stories about poor hospital standards and so called ‘superbugs’ are worrying but it’s the NHS, what choice do we have? 

Private Health Care gives you choices.  The specialist you see, the time you see them, the hospital you stay in, the aftercare therapy you receive.  And it really doesn’t have to cost a fortune.

So what is it going to cost me we hear you say?  Well you get to choose that as well. Private Health Insurance Companies have developed a range of affordable healthcare plans that are suitable for most budgets and you can tailor the cover so you get what you want at the right price. 

What is Private Health Insurance?

Also known as Private Medical Insurance, PMI, Medical Insurance, or Private Health Care, Health Insurance is designed to complement the services of the NHS, covering the treatment of shorter term illnesses or injuries that can be cured.

It gives you quick access to private health care and can usually be tailored to suit your requirements and budget.  This may include:

  • Speedy referral and treatment, avoiding lengthy NHS queues
  • Access to top consultants and leading specialists
  • Your choice of consultant and hospital (depending on the insurer)
  • Appointment times arranged to suit you
  • The use of private hospitals usually with ensuite rooms, phones, TVs and good quality food
  • Unrestricted visiting hours for family and friends
  • Access to new treatments and drugs not available on the NHS

You can compare Private Health Insurance at Over50choices simply by answering a few questions. Our comparison table shows details of some of the plans available so you can see exactly what is included and the cost.

Types of Health Insurance

When deciding on a Private Health Care Plan, you can choose between a ‘moratorium’ and a ‘fully underwritten plan’ (apologies for the industry jargon but this is something you need to know).  

The difference between the two types of cover is how pre-existing conditions are treated. 

Fully Underwritten Plans - You are required to provide a full medical history when applying for this type of private medical insurance. Based on your information, the insurer will decide what will and won’t be covered.  Therefore it is highly unlikely any pre-existing conditions you have had would be covered.

Moratorium Plans - These private medical insurance plans are usually cheaper and will not cover you for a set period (usually 2 years) for any conditions you have may suffered over the last 5 years. This period is called a moratorium.  Once the set period is over, you will be covered for the condition, as long as any examination shows it hasn’t arisen during the moratorium.
That’s enough jargon.  Now back to good old plain English! If you want more information on prices and what can be included in a healthcare plan you can get competitive health insurance quotes with Over50choices, just click here and enter a few details to find the plan to suit you.

How does it work?

The level of Private Health Care you select will dictate what you are covered for; basically the things you can claim for. If you have an illness or injury that requires investigation or treatment, first see your doctor who will refer you to a specialist.  Once you have been referred, call your insurer to check that the condition is covered under the healthcare plan you have chosen.  It is important to ensure your condition is covered before you see the specialist.  

Here’s how it works:    

1.  Visit your GP
2.  Your GP refers you to a specialist
3.  You contact your insurer to check you are covered
4.  Your insurer will provide you with an authorisation code
5.  You make an appointment or wait to receive confirmation from the specialist

Health Insurance & the NHS

If you want the reassurance of knowing you can receive fast expert private medical care when you need it, then Private Health Care might be right up your street but before you make your decision, here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Private Health Insurance does not replace the NHS.  Accident and emergency treatments as well as care for long terms illnesses would still be handled by the NHS
  • Treatment for very serious illnesses may be just as quick through the NHS as it would privately
  • Private treatment may not always take place in a private hospital. Depending on the care and services required, it may be in a private room or ward in an NHS hospital unit
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