There are many different health insurance products on the market, so it can be hard deciding what the best option is for you and your family. Try taking a step back for a minute: this is a serious, worthwhile investment, but like any expense, it’s best to be sure about the value you’re getting for your money.
Ask yourself the following questions:
Are you happy using the NHS?
It’s free and provides comprehensive medical treatment for anyone that needs it. The main reason people take out Private Health Insurance is that it gives them more choice, more freedom to make decisions about where and when they’re treated, and often a more prompt service. You may not have to wait at all, whereas with the NHS, you’ll almost certainly be looking at waiting lists for anything other than emergency procedures. Ask yourself how much this matters to you.
Can you afford to pay the premiums comfortably?
Private Health Insurance can be incredibly valuable: but in comparison with some other protection products, you might think it’s not a cheap commodity. You have to weigh up if it’s something you’re prepared to commit to, in terms of the premiums, over a period of time. If you have debts that need paying like a credit card, it might be best to focus your attention on clearing those first rather than paying for health care. After all, it’s fair to say that private health care is generally viewed as a luxury rather than an absolute necessity.
Do you struggle financially?
If you find it difficult to manage when additional expenses crop up, a Health Cash Plan could be the way to go. For a small monthly premium, it lets you claim back any money you’ve paid for health care costs that aren’t free on the NHS, like prescriptions, dental treatment, eye tests or glasses.
But what would you do financially if you suddenly became too ill to work?
If you’re not sure whether you could pay your household bills in the event of sickness or injury, you could look at Income Protection Insurance. If you’re more worried about developing a serious long-term condition, Critical Illness Insurance could be the way to go.
Do you travel abroad a lot, for long periods of time?
If you spend a lot of time in other countries, you might wish to consider International Health Insurance. It’s also particularly useful for businesses that send their employees overseas frequently, especially if they have to live abroad for any amount of time. If this is you, it’s worth asking your company about any employee policies they may have.
Are there any reasons why I wouldn’t get health insurance?
Possibly. Some insurers won’t cover you for certain existing health conditions, or if there’s been a history of a particular illness in your family. An insurer will usually ask you to complete a full medical and examine your past health records, so it’s best to be upfront about any treatment you’ve had in the past. Your premiums could be more depending on your lifestyle too – for example, you need to tell the underwriters if you smoke or if you have given up in recent times, as this could affect how much you’ll pay and your policy could be invalid if you aren’t completely straight with the truth.
Is some insurance simply better than others, or are they all the same?
Similar policies might have the same overall objectives, but there will be differences among providers in what is and isn't covered, benefit limits and exclusions. Some private health insurance providers have more experience than others in liaising with hospitals and medical facilities – here in the UK and around the world.
In addition, not every provider sets up clinically trained teams, the way we do, to help you navigate a claims process, and – if you’ve become a patient – it’s good to know that the people who’ll be looking after your claim can really empathise with your situation. It’s important for you to check policy details carefully to make sure you’re getting something that meets your needs. Hopefully, you’ll never need to make a claim. But if you do, it’s important you have the right products in place to support you.