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Private Medical Insurance:
the top ten myths




 



By Alan Waddington, General Manager Private Medical Insurance, Staysure.co.uk

 

With new research from the independent think tank, The King's Fund, putting NHS waiting list times at a three year high* falling ill could quickly turn into a nightmare for some over 50s. However, those with Private Medical Insurance (PMI) can generally avoid lengthy waiting lists and gain access to drugs and treatments not available on the NHS.

 

People choose to go private, either covered by an insurance policy or by dipping into their own savings, for a number of reasons. The main benefits, in addition to choosing your own hospital and no NHS waiting lists, include private rooms with hotel standard facilities and food, as well as a choice of consultant and access to drugs and treatments not readily available on the NHS.

 

But, there are many misconceptions surrounding PMI, the biggest of which is that it is only appropriate for the wealthy. In fact there are options suitable for every budget. To help dispel some of the myths around PMI here's a list of the top ten most commonly misunderstood issues.

 

1) It's really expensive

Many assume that private medical insurance will cost hundreds of pounds a year, but in reality premiums start from less than £10 a month for a basic health cash plan. This would give you cash back if you have to go into hospital or need dental or optical treatment so you can choose where to have your treatment. If you want to add in more cover for surgery or outpatient treatment, you can do so for a relatively small additional cost.

 


2) All policies are the same

Many people think that all private medical insurance policies offer pretty much the same cover. Not true! It's worth speaking to a specialist to tailor-make your policy; all providers have areas of differences where their policies include better cover or additional benefits at no extra cost.

 

3) I'm too old/young to be covered

A number of insurers now offer standalone private medical insurance for children, so parents or grandparents who don't have their own cover can ensure their children or grandchildren have access to the best healthcare facilities. It's also worth noting that most of the leading issuers have no upper age limit for starting a new policy and will continue to insure you for as long as you require.

 

4) Price comparison websites hold the answer

One size doesn't fit all when it comes to private medical insurance which is why you won't find a comparison website to give you a quick quote for a monthly premium - there are too many options available to base a search on price alone. Sites that do offer comparisons will only be offering a rough price based on a few insurers so again, it's always best to speak to a specialist.

 

5) It's hard to find a good deal

Some brokers, such as Staysure.co.uk, will offer a discount on combined policies such as life insurance and health cover. This also means a single application form, one direct debit and a combined policy document, making management a lot simpler. You can even add in critical illness cover and income protection to provide additional peace of mind.

 

6) Save money with 'shared responsibility'

Shared Responsibility is a relatively new way of reducing the cost of private medical insurance but unlike an excess, the cost of treatment is shared between you and the insurer so you always get some benefit for paying your premium. Typically the insurer pays 75% and you pay 25% with an agreed limit per year (starting at £250). Once your contribution reaches that limit you don't pay any more and the insurer pays 100% of eligible treatment costs.

 

7) Where I live won't make a difference

Some policies will automatically cover all private hospitals, including central London where costs are much higher. If you live hundreds of miles away you are unlikely to ever use those hospitals so this is unnecessarily inflating your premium. There are many options available: you can include hospitals within a certain radius of where you live or to just include the main hospital networks such as Spire or Nuffield. You still have the peace of mind of access to the best facilities and treatment in your area whilst keeping your costs down.

 


8) Cancer isn't covered and pre-existing conditions will exclude me

Plans can be tailored to include full cancer cover or just provide cover for surgery or advanced cancer drugs or a combination regardless of what other treatments have been included. In addition, most of the leading insurers will offer insurance terms to a customer with a pre-existing condition as long as the medication is working and the condition is under control. The condition itself will probably be excluded but that doesn't stop you receiving cover for cost of private treatment for other conditions or illnesses.

 

9) PMI is only for major costs

Whilst PMI's benefits are clear when it comes to covering procedures costing tens of thousands of pounds, it's often small procedures and outpatient treatments which push up the cost of going private. The good news is that if you choose the right plan, the costs of private consultations, scans and diagnostics, physiotherapy and even alternative therapies can be covered so you can choose private hospitals or clinics for all types of treatment.

 

10) Health cash plans are only for groups

Cash plans were one of the first forms of health insurance initially made available to employees at large companies but they are now available to individuals. In essence, they pay a cash reward to someone who has to go to hospital, or who needs dental or optical treatment. However, nowadays cash plans do much more. You can include private treatment costs, outpatient treatment and therapies, and even worldwide travel cover. At Staysure we have a range of cash plans starting from less than £10.

 

*******************

 


Staysure - Over 50s insurance specialist

 

 

Staysure Insurance





 




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