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Private Medical Insurance: Pros & Cons

Dec 20, 2019 | Insurance

Private Medical Insurance Pros & Cons

Have you considered buying private health insurance, rather than relying mainly on NHS? You’re not alone. Many people are considering the same issue; however, there are some important issues to keep in mind when choosing between National Health Insurance or private health insurance.

Downsides of Private Health Insurance

One of the major considerations with private health insurance is the cost of premiums. Premiums for this type of medical insurance are expensive. They also have a tendency to increase on a more or less regular basis, due to the rising costs of health care.

In fact, private health insurance premiums can increase by 3% to 5% per year, due to the increase in costs of care and treatment. Premiums also go up the older you get, as the insurance provider sees older people as a higher risk due to senior health problems.


Pros of Private Health Insurance

Why would anyone want to consider going to private insurance, when they have free access to NHS? There are several reasons to choose private health insurance coverage.

Wait times are shorter when you need treatment, while you may have a longer wait time for the same service with NHS. This is especially true if you have a rare illness or condition that requires a specialist.

With private health coverage, you’ll have access to more resources including private hospitals, a wider selection of treatments, including those that are more specialized. You can also have access to physiotherapy, which may not be available under state health insurance.

You may also have access to medications and other treatments that aren’t available on NHS. Waiting times for operations and other treatments can be up to 18 weeks or more with NHS, while with private health insurance, you can get in faster.

That’s also the case when you need to see a GP. With NHS, the wait can be several weeks; however, it may only be 14 days or less with private medical coverage. You’ll also get treatment faster.

Also, under private medical insurance, you can choose private hospitals that may offer treatments and medications not available on NHS. Sometimes treatments are deemed too expensive and/or are otherwise not approved for use in state hospitals.

In private hospitals, you may find you have more privacy, can have your own doctor and even a private room. In addition, family and friends have broader visitation times than those available in state hospitals.


Cons of Private Health Insurance

There are many benefits to private health insurance over NHS; however, we also have to take a look at the cons. The main issue is the cost of insurance premiums. While you have more choices and options under private medical insurance, you’ll end up paying for these in the long run.

The premium you pay will depend on the type of health insurance policy you choose. It will also depend on whether or not you choose to cover your family and yourself, or just yourself. The typical family premium, in fact, which covers two adults and two children can run anywhere from £700 to £1,800 per year.

On top of that, as noted earlier in the article, private health coverage tends to increase each year. In addition, if you make a claim, your premium may go up. Location can be another factor that determines your monthly insurance premium.

Aside from cost, you’ll also need to consider that some private health insurance policies do not cover all conditions. For instance, chronic health problems such as diabetes, heart disease, hypertension and some forms of cancer may be excluded from the policy.

On the other hand, if you have a serious illness you will more than likely receive treatment. There are, of course, some exceptions even under state health insurance. But for the most part you can receive treatment for chronic health issues or even for pre-existing health conditions under national health services.

Under private medical coverage, some policies do exclude pre-existing conditions. These are generally health problems that are chronic—for which you’ve been diagnosed and received treatment in the past. Under NHS, you don’t have to worry about such exclusions.

Even if you choose to go with private health insurance, there will still be times you’ll need to use NHS. For instance, many private health insurance policies may not cover accident and emergency services. In this case, you’ll need to be treated under NHS.

Choosing to go with private health insurance is a big step. Before opting to purchase private health insurance, it might be a good idea to talk with an insurance professional who can give you advice about the types of private coverage available, discuss the different policies, etc. Making the choice to go private is a big choice. It pays to take your time and consider all the options before making this very important decision for you and your family.

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