How Does Private Health Insurance Work?

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You may have heard about private health insurance but do you know how it actually works? This article will give you a brief overview of what private health insurance is and what it can do for you.

Private medical insurance covers treatment for short-term illnesses or injuries that are curable. Its main benefit is speedier treatment and the peace of mind people get from knowing that should they become ill or injured they will have swift access to the treatment they need.

Taking out a private medical insurance policy means you will have access to private hospital treatment for specified conditions. You will often be treated more quickly than on the NHS and will have far greater choice over where and when you are treated.

However, private health insurance isn’t necessarily a complete alternative to being treated on the NHS.  There will be some things which aren’t covered by a private medical plan but which you can still be treated for on the NHS.

On some private health plans, you will also have the choice on a case-by-case basis of whether to be treated privately or on the NHS. Often if you don’t opt for private treatment, you will still receive an equivalent payout from your medical insurance provider.

Types of Medical Insurance

There are many different types of insurance policy available on the market so it’s important to think carefully and research exactly what type of policy you want and what you would like it to cover.

The majority of private medical insurance policies cover in-patient, or overnight, stays. Others, which usually cost more, also cover outpatient treatments where you don’t need to actually stay at the hospital. Outpatient appointments can be for things such as consultations and scans.

Consider whether you want your policy to cover you for overseas treatment as well. Some do, some don’t and it’s important to understand clearly what is and isn’t covered by your policy.

Pre-existing Conditions and Health Insurance

Even if you have an ongoing or long-term pre-existing medical condition, it doesn’t mean that you can’t get private health insurance. Usually you will need to have been symptom-free from a condition and not received treatment for it for two to five years for it to be covered by a private medical policy.

Other things which are unlikely to be covered by a private medical policy include self-inflicted injuries, HIV/AIDS, infertility, normal pregnancy, cosmetic surgery, sex change, and injuries sustained through dangerous hobbies.

Ensure you check any policy thoroughly before signing anything and don’t be afraid to seek independent advice or ask for further clarification on anything you don’t understand.

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