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Private Medical Insurance

Health insurance, which is often referred to as private medical insurance, is a policy that covers the cost of private healthcare, from having an illness diagnosed via scans or x-rays right through to treatment. The monthly premium will cover all or part of the cost of treatment for conditions that develop after taking out the policy.

You can usually choose from individual, couples, family or business health insurance. Commonly included in policies are diagnostic tests, such as MRI and CT scans, surgical procedures, the cost of the consultant appointment and cancer drugs, some of which may not be available on the NHS. The cover may also include outpatient consultations and mental health treatments as well as complementary therapies, physiotherapy and chiropody.

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Your questions answered

How does private medical insurance work?

Private health insurance allows you to claw back the costs incurred if you opt for private medical care over the NHS. You can pay for private treatment yourself or you can opt for a tailored policy. If you suspect a health problem has arisen, you simply visit your GP but you must also inform them that you have private medical insurance. 

If required, you will be referred to a specialist, and having a private health insurance policy means that you could have the option of private hospitals or specialists that might not normally be available to you on the NHS. You will then inform the insurance provider that you want to make a claim, and they'll confirm whether treatment is covered by the policy. If you get the go-ahead, the provider will approve the claim and you can arrange your appointment.

Are there different Policy levels?

Policies are available at a range of different levels at various costs which helps you to tailor one to suit. For example, the different levels of policies may reflect the kind of treatment covered and the location where your treatment will be provided as well as the personal contribution toward the cost which is also known as the excess. 

What isn't covered by private medical insurance?

When you receive your documents, you should read them thoroughly and familiarise yourself with what is covered and what falls outside the policy. There will be conditions that won't be covered and there will be certain situations where you won't be able to make a claim. Organ transplants and cosmetic treatments aren't covered, neither are pre-existing or chronic conditions.  

Injuries as a result of taking part in sports and activities and self-inflicted injuries may not be covered, but each individual policy varies, so it's essential that you make the right choice. The policy will be unlikely to cover substance abuse or pregnancy. Whether it's overnight care, outpatient treatment or diagnostic tests or scans you need, having health insurance ensures you receive the treatment you need when you require it.

How much does private medical insurance cost?

The cost of private medical insurance depends on factors such as your age and your location and previous claims. Shopping around and speaking to the provider will help you establish the most suitable policy.