Health Insurance: Your How-To Guide
Although the United Kingdom is famous for the NHS, the fact of the matter is that no less than 5.1 million residents still possess some form of private health insurance. There are several benefits when choosing such a plan. Quicker wait times, the ability to avoid long queues and choosing one's own doctor are three examples. Still, choosing a private health care package can be a bit tricky and there is often more than initially meets the eye. Let us take a look at the two main categories of health insurance, some common coverage features and the top providers within the United Kingdom (as of 2016).
The Types of Health Insurance
Health insurance plans can be separated into two main categories. These are defined as fully underwritten insurance and moratorium insurance.
Fully underwritten plans tend to be much more comprehensive and yet, they will normally require a full check of your medical history. This needs to be supplied to the company before the policy is approved. The main benefit with a fully underwritten package is that you will be able to receive wider coverage for a number of ailments. As you may have guessed, this variant is generally more expensive.
Moratorium plans will not normally require a full medical history. This is indeed the cheaper option for those who are on a limited budget and wish to supplement their current NHS policy. However, blanket exclusions will often apply (such as any pre-existing conditions). These will not be covered.
It is becoming increasingly popular for firms to offer a combination of these two as opposed to only supplying rather black-and-white options to the consumer.
What is Included in Most Health Insurance Plans?
It is a foregone conclusion that the specifics of each policy will depend upon the provider. The price for these plans will likewise vary as well the maximum amount of money allowed to be paid out. Still, there are a number of features which the majority of packages has in common.
Inpatient treatments (overnight stays and surgical requirements) are covered in these plans. Similarly, outpatient services (a series of diagnostic tests or regular visits to a practitioner) are likewise addressed. Cheaper plans may limit the number of outpatient procedures available during each year.
Accommodations in a hospital or a rehabilitation clinic are normally covered. Although comprehensive policies could offer a nearly unlimited number of days, moratorium plans may place a cap on the days which are covered (such as a maximum of one month during a given year).
Pharmacological needs are also catered to in many health insurance plans. This could be important, for there are many drugs which have not yet been approved by the NHS. If you require a specific type of medication, it is a good idea to shop around and see which insurance provider includes it within their plan.
The Top Health Insurance Providers in the UK
Some of the most prominent and respected providers within the UK are currently:
- April UK
April UK offers standard inpatient hospital stays as well as the ability to upgrade (within London). Treatment-only options are available. A general practitioner helpline as well as NHS cash-back schemes are possible.
- Aviva Health
Aviva Health offers similar London hospital upgrades alongside a discount of up to 75 per cent if no claims are filed within a specific period of time.
- AXA-PPP Health Insurance
This firm provides a comprehensive list of participating hospitals, comprehensive coverage plans and a no-claims discount as high as 50 per cent.