Private Medical Insurance: enhancing your NHS care

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March 25, 2021 - Kevin Dunn

Private Medical Insurance: enhancing your NHS care.

The NHS and its team of staff have provided a remarkable level of care and service to the country this past year. NHS resources have been stretched to capacity because of the Covid pandemic and the subject of healthcare has never been more in focus.

Private Medical Insurance, or Health Insurance as it is sometimes called, is a hot topic right now, and more people are considering whether or not they need it. The NHS is the jewel in the UK’s crown, as few countries offer free healthcare. However, the pandemic has highlighted very real concerns, not least that in order to cope with the stresses of the pandemic more routine surgeries and treatments have been postponed. The overriding worry for people is the worry of long wait times, should they develop a serious illness. More people are looking for the peace of mind that they can access high-quality medical facilities and the very latest treatments, at a time and place that suits them. If they get sick, they want to know they will be treated quickly.

Health insurance covers the costs of private healthcare, from diagnosis to treatment, providing an alternative route to using the NHS. It’s not just an insurance policy: it provides a portal which co-ordinates and provides access to care. Private insurance provides people with easy access to hundreds of private hospitals in the UK and the freedom to choose where and when they are treated. In some cases, it can also provide access to a wider range of drugs and treatment, including those not yet approved for use or paid for by the NHS.

There are a number of different providers that offer this type of insurance and there are different levels of cover to compare.

Cover options for Private Medical Insurance

Private medical insurance typically falls into three main types of policy. The most comprehensive policy covers both diagnosis and treatment privately. A mid-range policy offers all the same benefits, but with excess to payments for out-patient or mental health services.

And a low cost level of cover only provides in-patient treatment where a diagnosis is provided by the NHS.

Most mid-range policies include:

  • Treatment in private hospitals
  • Private consultations
  • Physiotherapy for muscle, bone or joint conditions
  • Outpatient care such as scans, tests, x-rays and hospital appointments where you aren’t

More comprehensive policies may give some of these additional benefits:

  • In-patient and day-patient treatment
  • NHS hospital cash benefit, if you decide not to use the private option for treatment
  • Childbirth cash benefit

Most policies also provide a 24 hour phone-based service which enables you to access health advice from a trained professional, typically a nurse. They also provide access to a doctor should you need it using a digital platform.

What should I know before I buy?

The most important point to be aware of is that pre-existing or diagnosed conditions are never covered. This means that if you have been diagnosed with an illness, even if you haven’t yet started treatment, your new Private Medical Insurance policy will not pay for treatment.

Policies also vary from provider to provider, with some companies providing greater benefits in certain areas than others. It is why speaking to an adviser who is knowledgeable about this type of policy and can listen to your specific needs and compare benefits and premiums is important.

Cost can be the deciding factor for many people, and matching the right level of cover to meet your budget is the key. But there can be flexibility: with some providers this means you can increase the excess on your policy, in return for lower premiums. Often there may be a no-claims discount applied when you don’t need to use any services. Premiums are not fixed and you should be aware that they typically increase year on year.

You can cancel your Private Medical Insurance at any point without penalty. If you cancel, then cover ends immediately. If you go on to buy a new policy, it is important to note that any previous illnesses will not be covered from the new date, particularly if you have received treatment or a medical condition whilst insured that may be an ongoing or recurring problem.

Finding out more.

If you think that Private Medical Insurance is something that you would benefit from and would like to find out more our Independent Financial Advisers at Furnley House can help. We can provide you with more details about the options available and provide you with a quote.

Call 0116 269 6311 or email


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