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Last updated: 23/07/2020 | Estimated Reading Time: 3 minutes

Private medical insurance - individual insurance

There are many different types of private medical insurance available and all are designed to allow you comfort and peace of mind when you are in need of medical attention and support. Whilst the National Health Service is a great institution that we are privileged to have in this country, it can sometimes force people to wait for longer than they want to before receiving the treatment that they require. This is where health insurance comes in as a viable alternative that avoids some of the downsides of the NHS.

Individual medical insurance is designed to cover just you, the policy holder. This may seem straight forward but all insurance policies are different and it is important to know what exactly you are covered for in the event of you needing to make a claim.

In This Guide:

Why do people choose private medical insurance?

There are three main reasons that people choose private medical insurance these are: choice of hospital and doctor, speed of treatment and quality of treatment.

One of the main attractions of individual private medical insurance is the fact that you are often given more of a choice over where you receive your treatment and which doctor you receive this treatment from. If you were to receive your treatment from the NHS, you would not be given a huge amount of choice over any of these factors. The reason for this is that the NHS does not have enough resources available at its disposal to be able to pander to every person's preferences about the "where and who" of their treatment. With individual private medical insurance it is this choice, among other things, that you are paying for. You may not be able to have complete freedom with your choice but you will certainly have a greater say in these factors than you would if you were to be treated on the NHS.

Another major factor in people choosing to take out private medical insurance is the fact that you will be more likely to be able to receive treatment without having to wait as long as you would have to with the NHS. On the NHS, depending on what form of treatment it is that you require, you may find yourself having to wait for a rather long time before you can get the medical attention you require. If you choose to take out private medical insurance it is less likely that you will have to wait as long because you will be able to get your treatment from a private facility. These facilities are less likely to be oversubscribed in the way that the NHS can be.

Private medical insurance has the added benefit of being able to pretty much guarantee that you receive the very best treatment available. Again this is largely down to the fact that you will be sent to a private, specialised facility that will normally have the most advanced technology relevant to your ailment. Whilst the NHS can normally offer high levels of treatment, it often does not offer secondary benefits that private medical treatment can such as private rooms and a more modern recovery environment.

Things to think about with private medical insurance

There will be many similar private medical insurance plans available on the market but there are many differences that can be found once you start to look a bit more closely at the fine print. One thing that you should make sure that you look out for is how much excess there is on your policy. The excess total represents the amount that you will have to pay before your insurer starts to make payment contributions. As a general rule, the higher your excess, the lower the cost of your policy. However, even though it may be tempting to opt for a policy with a higher excess in order to keep your costs down, you should remember that if your excess is too high, you may not actually receive any payment from your insurance company.