12 Nov The Private Health Insurance Guide For First Time Buyers

In the UK private health insurance has never been more accessible or affordable. When taking out your health insurance you will be able to choose different options. For those taking out their first ever PMI policy, this guide aims to give you a greater understanding of those options and tips on how to find the best cover available.

Understanding the basics:

Inpatient – Refers to staying overnight in hospital or being treated as a day patient. Cover for inpatient treatment is usually covered under health insurance policy.

Outpatient – Commonly refers to diagnostic tests such as x-rays, but do not require you to need a hospital bed. If you choose a budget policy, you may be covered for fewer types of out-patient cover or have a capped amount.

Six-Week Option – After your GP refers you to a hospital or specialist, you will then join the local NHS waiting list. If the NHS can treat you within six weeks, then your treatment will be carried out by the NHS. If the waiting list is longer than six weeks at the time when you are referred, then your private health insurance will be able to treat you right away.

Excess – When taking out health insurance you will be given the opportunity to add an excess to your policy, which typically ranges from £0 to £1,000. Once you have set an excess on your policy you will be required to pay this amount either per a claim or for one claim per a year.

Hospital List – There are different options you can choose with regards to your hospital list. It is important to check before purchasing your policy if you have a particular hospital you want to receive treatment at. Many private hospitals are provided by Spire Healthcare, Nuffield Health, Bupa and BMI Healthcare. If you are looking to lower your health insurance premium choosing a local or reduced hospital list can help lower your premium by 25%. There are four types of lists to choose from:

  • Local Hospital List
  • National Hospital List
  • London Hospital List
  • Premier Hospital List

How much information about my health do I have to disclose?

Before purchasing your health insurance policy, it is important to have a clear understanding of what you are covered for. The type of medical underwriting that your cover is based on, is determined by your medical history and any pre-existing conditions. The two most common types of underwriting are Full Medical Underwriting and Moratorium.

Fully medically underwritten Health Insurance means, that you disclose your entire medical history to the insurer before the policy is taken out. This allows the insurer to decide how to provide you with cover.

Moratorium underwriting does not require you to give details of your medical history before you take out your policy. Instead, the insurer will not cover treatment for any pre-existing medical conditions, that you have had symptoms, treatment or advice for, in the five years immediately before your cover started. It is possible that if you are free of symptoms, treatment and advice for a condition for two continuous years after your policy starts that your insurer can reinstate cover for this condition. Time periods can vary across insurers.

How much does it cost for private medical insurance?

The amount your policy will cost will be dependent on several factors, including the type of cover you take out, the amount of the excess you agree to pay and if you have added any additional options to your policy.

Why will going through a broker benefit me?

An advisory broker like Switch Health will not only be able to compare policies across the market but will also be able to offer you unbiased advice, on what is the best plan for you. Make sure that the broker you use is registered with the Financial Conduct Authority.

For a better understanding of a health insurance broker’s role read our blog post