Why purchase Private Medical Insurance?

Your health is important regardless of your age as you never know what is going to happen in the future. In the event of your life you could potentially have to deal with numerous nasty surprises.

You could protect yourself by taking out Private Medical Insurance (PMI) though. PMI can offer you piece of mind in such circumstances as it may offer you easier access to more treatment at a faster rate, which could potentially save your life.
 
The National Health Service (NHS) is free to everyone in the UK and allows you to emergency, general and specialist treatment. However, the sheer volume of people in the UK using the health service puts a serious amount of pressure on the often limited resources. Around 10 million people are admitted to hospital wards each year in the UK.

As the health service has limited funding, some cost cutting methods can have a negative impact on patients.

There have been many NHS horror stories in the press over the last few years regarding patient care and treatment. A recent inquiry has been launched into a leading London Hospital Trust after a consultant claimed that patients were subjected to starvation, infections and pain as a result of poor management.

Last month, it emerged that the amount of NHS patients who have had to undergo emergency re-admission to hospitals within 28 days of being discharged has increased by 78% in the last decade.

Over the past five years there has been a 31% increase in such cases, and a 5% increase in the last 12 months. 

Whilst the NHS offers a free service, it could end up costing you your health. PMI offers an alternative to long waiting lists, poor treatment and limited availability.

What are the benefits of PMI?

Itís not surprising that with all the Government cutbacks and reforms to the public health system that many people are now turning to private healthcare.

Between February and March 2011, a massive 61% of GPs said they would be more likely to refer patients privately if better access to health insurance was available.

PMI allows you to take out a policy to suit your needs specifically. For example, this could include extras such as dental insurance or other healthcare expenses.

Everyoneís health needs are different and so a ëone size fits allí health insurance policy might not be applicable.

By adapting a policy to suit your needs, you can ensure that your money is not wasted and is actually spent where itís most needed.

Whilst the NHS does a good job under huge pressure, you might not be able to get your treatment as quickly as you like.

Private healthcare can offer prompt treatment for you and your family under your plan. You could have access to a wide range of hospitals across the country and be comfortable in your own private facilities if admitted to hospital.

Wider access to treatment

There are many benefits to PMI, one being that patients can get faster access to treatment.

It has recently been reported that ovarian cancer sufferers in the UK will be able to try out a new cancer drug, Avastin, if they have private medical cover.  The drug will not be reviewed for use on the NHS until at least 2013.

The NHS operates on a postcode lottery system and could limit the availability of   this particular cancer drug to brain and bowel cancer patients. Avastin has been licensed for treatment for women with advanced ovarian cancer after surgery, but it has not yet been approved by the NHS.

Speaking to one particular health website, Dr Timothy Perren, consultant medical oncologist at St Jamesís University Hospital, commented; ìI am delighted that Avastin has now been licensed and is, therefore, now potentially available to suitable women who are diagnosed with this devastating disease.î

What levels of cover are available?

There are several different levels of cover, which are widely available from many different providers. They also vary significantly depending on the healthcare provider you wish to purchase PMI from.

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Comprehensive cover could include cover for private diagnosis, consultations and test scans as well as cover for treatments and aftercare. Other levels of cover may involve treatment or diagnosis on the NHS, but also entitle you to private consultations, tests and scans at a private hospital.

Prices can also range significantly as they are based on a number of health and lifestyle factors. Pricing is also subject to the policy provider.

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