Over recent years, insurance providers have become far more transparent about the types of health policies they have to offer and what each actually covers you for. However, choosing the right policy for your own individual needs remains important, to give you protection if you suffer an illness or injury.
There have been improvements in the NHS, but unfortunately people can still find themselves having to wait a number of weeks from their first appointment, before receiving any treatment for their ailment.
Health insurance can give people the peace of mind so if they do need medical care they can see the specialist of their choice in privacy, comfort and at a time that suits them. Healthcare is planned to help financially with everything from outpatient treatment, such as an initial consultation or diagnostic tests, right through to any inpatient treatment or hospital accommodation when having to stay overnight.
There are things that will not be covered by a health insurance policy however, which will include cosmetic surgery, accident and emergency care, drugs treatment, routine pregnancies or for long term and chronic conditions, such as asthma and diabetes.
If you have a pre-existing condition, this may also be excluded from the cover. However, some policies will offer cover, as long as treatment for the condition is not needed in the first few years of the policy.
Although health insurance is similar in terms of what the policies do and do not cover, the detail of the plan can vary greatly and generally fall into three different categories.
A budget plan includes inpatient and day patient costs, but will not cover any outpatient expenses. Comprehensive cover provides full protection for inpatient and outpatient costs, as well as added benefits, which includes things like physiotherapy. Intermediate plans provide cover, which sits between budget and comprehensive plans.
Going for a plan with less cover will obviously reduce the cost of the policy, so for example, if you have the finances to pay for any outpatient treatment, choose a policy that has little or no outpatient cover. An example of the savings that can be made by doing this is for a 50 year old male who chooses to pay £60 for a budget plan with £500 outpatient cover. If he were to increase his cover to a comprehensive plan, the premium could rise to around £95 a month, which means he will be paying over £400 extra a year, which would have been enough to pay for outpatient treatment.
Thinking about what you want your health insurance for is also important, for example, if you have concerns about visiting NHS hospitals and only want to attend private hospitals, a comprehensive plan is vital. Alternatively, if you only want health insurance to cover you if you have a major health problem, a cheaper policy would be better.