Although the National Health Service (NHS) in the UK provides health services for free, it can often take up to six or seven weeks for an outpatient appointment. When you are not feeling well, this can make for a very long time. You may have thought about purchasing Private Health Insurance, but wondered if it is worth the cost. Here are some things to know about Private Health Insurance that can help you decide if a policy is right for you.
Private Health Insurance is not an alternative to NHS. It does not cover emergency care or long-term illness. You will still use NHS for that. What Private Health Insurance does do for you, however, is allow you access to private hospitals and specialists that you are often not able to visit when you have only NHS care. It is important to realize, however, that private health insurance policies are offered in tier levels and the tiers reflect the price of the policy and the coverage it provides. There are three tiers. The highest tier will, of course, offer you the largest selection of specialists and choice of hospitals. The mid-tier gives you fewer options, but still provides you with a fairly comprehensive list to choose from. The lowest tier gives you the least amount of choices, but does still offer a selection of specialists and private hospitals that you could choose from that are not generally an option when you have only NHS.
One of the biggest advantages to a Private Health Insurance policy that makes this type of insurance so appealing is that you generally have a much shorter waiting time to see a doctor and in many case you are given the opportunity to be seen immediately. Policy holders usually get better customer service and in most cases when you are admitted to the hospital, you will receive a private room. Since most private hospitals follow stricter health regulations than NHS hospitals they are cleaner and more sanitary. This means you have less risk of developing an infection when you are admitted to one.
There are several things to look for when choosing a health insurance policy. The first is whether the policy is fully underwritten or if it is a moratorium policy. If the policy is a fully underwritten, it may give you some limited coverage if you have a pre-existing condition. This type of policy is usually more expensive. The moratorium policy is normally cheaper, but any pre-existing conditions that you have had over a certain period of time, will be excluded from coverage.
When comparing private health insurance policies, it is often helpful to look at what the deductible is for each type of policy. You may find that you can afford a high or mid-tier policy if you choose a policy that has a lower monthly payment, but a higher deductible amount. This gives you better monthly savings, but a higher out-of pocket amount until the policy deductible is met.