Private Medical Insurance (PMI) is intended to cover the costs of treatment in a private hospital or clinic when you have an unexpected acute illness or injury. Usually an acute illness or injury can only be covered by an insurer if it occurs after a policy begins.

A disease or injury is normally defined as acute if it is likely to respond to treatment quickly and the treatment enables you to recover fully or, at least, back to the state of health you were in before the illness began. Chronic illnesses are generally not covered though, of course, you can decide to be treated privately at your own expense.

Buying private medical insurance can enable you to be treated more quickly and at a time convenient to you.  PMI enables you to have a real choice: choice of the specialist physician or consultant, a choice of where to be treated and a choice of timing for the treatment.  Some insurance policies restrict your choices.

There are many benefits of private healthcare such as privacy – most private hospitals do not have open wards and most patients have their own private rooms with facilities such as Wi-fi, satellite TV and special menus etc. Even day case patients have a room to themselves in the majority of cases.

Paying for private medical insurance gives you the reassurance that you can see a doctor and undergo diagnosis  – often with the benefit of the very latest technology -at a time of your choosing in your choice of hospital.

There are some insurance policies that will pay you money if you cannot be treated on the NHS within a specified period.

Whatever you choose, it pays to take time to decide what sort of cover you need and to compare prices and policies before you choose.  PPF’s attention has been drawn to an article on the Health Insurance website which you ought to see.

The Association of British Insurers (ABI) has a useful guide to private medical insurance for consumers wanting to buy PMI which can be found on their website at the following web address:

http://www.abi.org.uk/Information/Consumers/Health_and_Protection/496.pdf

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