Top Tips for Buying Private Health Insurance

With a veritable smorgasbord of options and opinions laid out across the table of the internet and media, choosing private health insurance can be a confusing, complex and tricky process. This is why we have written a simple guide of our top tips to help you make an easier, quicker and well informed decision and take the hassle out of health insurance.

The reasons for choosing private healthcare are clear cut, and the benefits obvious. The first reason is getting treatment when you need it, without having to wait in queues or on waiting lists for NHS treatment. Avoiding the post-code lottery of the NHS is a major draw card of private treatment. The next benefit is the ability to choose your preferred consultant, possibly someone recommended by your GP or a specialist in the field of treatment  required. Along with choosing the location and hospital that suits you best, this provides substantial benefits and peace of mind. Another reason is the simple option of having greater comfort and convenience during your treatment, which can be contribute to your health and recovery.

Overall, the security of having private medical insurance is an added bonus. If you believe these factors are worth paying premiums for, it makes your decision that much easier.  Look at these tips before you do:

Tip 1 – Do your research about insurance

One of the most important tips we can offer is to consider carefully all the options presented to you from the various insurance providers. There are many different policies so it is important to check with each provider to find one that suits you. When doing your research, look at your individual situation, whether you need family cover or whether it is a long term or temporary policy. Also make sure you are considering factors like open referral, shortfalls, cost of premiums (shortfalls, cost of premiums) and the benefits you would receive. If you need more information, check out our previous blogs for material relating to these important aspects of PMI.

Tip 2 – Compare prices

As there are a host of different policies, providers and options available in private health insurance, there are also a range of prices so it is important to compare what you are paying and what you are getting for your money. The best tools to use are search engines like Google, specific comparison sites and specialist brokers. If you are struggling to make sense out of the information provided on the web, it can be helpful to go through specialist independent medical insurance brokers. You can find those through the Association of Medical Insurers and Intermediaries (AMII) or the British Insurance Brokers Association (BIBA).

Tip 3 – Cut the costs

There is a range of ways to keep your private medical insurance whilst combatting expensive premiums by taking a few cost cutting measures. One option is adding a higher excess to reduce premiums, where you will effectively pay for minor treatments but your insurer will cover the open ended costs of more serious illness. Another option is delaying your treatment, whereby you agree to use private treatment only if NHS waiting lists are too long, for example if you cannot be seen within 6 weeks by the NHS but your insurer will pay for you to be treated more quickly privately. Co-insurance or shared responsibility schemes are another way of cutting premiums by agreeing to pay a percentage of the cost of your treatment. Finally, limiting your choice of hospital or consultant to a specified “fee assured” consultant can also lower your premiums.

Tip 4 – Review all the T&Cs and weigh up the pros and cons!

Finally, make sure you make good use of all your research and cost cutting exercises by checking all the terms and conditions of the policy, including hidden costs, coverage for pre-existing conditions and any other potential drawbacks.  Weigh up the positives and negatives of each policy to ensure you really are getting the best policy available.

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