Most UK residents do not see Private Medical Insurance (PMI) as a top priority that they should obtain, as they are automatically entitled to free National Health Service (NHS) treatment for routine treatment as well as more serious or ongoing medical conditions. What are the pros and cons of Private Medical Insurance in the UK?
Benefits of Private Medical Insurance
Those who opt for Private Medical Insurance often do so because they are usually seen a lot faster by doctors and there are more facilities available. In addition, if you do not agree with your NHS GP’s advice, you can obtain a second opinion on your medical condition. Some Private Medical Insurance plans are offered to workers.
When I worked for the National Autistic Society (NAS) I was covered by a Private Medical Insurance plan that also included free access to counselling services, as part of my benefits package. Although I never used these services, it was reassuring to know that I had access to further medical services if I needed them.
What’s Not Covered by Private Medical Insurance?
Some patients will sign up for Private Medical Insurance in the UK assuming that the insurance will cover their particular ailments. However, it is important to be aware that Private Medical Insurance does not cover everything, depending on the coverage you settle for. Coverage is not normally offered for GP services, accidents and emergencies or for routine health checks. If you are suffering from a chronic health condition or a long-term illness that is terminal, you will not normally be covered by Private Medical Insurance. An insurer is also likely to refuse coverage if you have a pre-existing condition or a condition you have had over the past five years.
That is why it is important to shop around for Private Medical Insurance that will take you on even if you have a pre-existing condition that needs regular attention. Some policies will cover pre-existing conditions as standard, while others are only willing to do so for an extra cost or if you can prove that you have not acquired medical advice or treatment, either through the NHS or privately.
Before you choose a Private Medical Insurance plan in the UK, make sure you do your homework first to find out if you are insurable. Weigh the benefits, such as faster service and access to additional facilities, with the cost, coverage options and conditions that are not covered.
Lovemoney.com, Revealed: The truth about health insurance policies, by Neil Faulkner.