While UK residents can take advantage of the National Health Service (NHS), which is free at the point of use, there are times when individuals and families feel the need to safeguard their health with additional protection products.
One such protection product is Private Medical Insurance (PMI), also referred to as health insurance, but what is it, why do you need it and what benefits does it afford?
What is PMI?
Private Medical Insurance is designed to cover the cost of medical treatment for ‘acute’ health conditions (ones that are short term and curable) that develop after the policy has commenced.
PMI usually covers:
- The cost of hospital admission
- Diagnostic tests, such as x-rays, MRI and CT scans
- Surgery, including surgeons’, anaesthetists’ and operating theatre fees
- Specialist treatment such as radiotherapy, chemotherapy and physiotherapy
- The costs of seeing a consultant
- Accommodation and nursing care
- Outpatient care if related to treatment received as an inpatient
- Cancer drugs – some policies will cover drugs that are not available on the NHS
PMI does not usually cover pre-existing conditions or:
- Routine GP, dentist or optician appointments
- A&E treatment
- Incurable or chronic conditions
- Long-term illnesses, such as asthma, diabetes and multiple sclerosis
- Normal pregnancy and childbirth
- Cosmetic surgery
- Preventative medicine
- Treatment for injuries received while pursuing a dangerous sport
- Treatment for injuries received while misusing drugs or alcohol
Who needs PMI?
If you would rather not wait for medical treatment on the NHS, or you’d like the freedom to choose where you receive treatment and by which specialist/consultant, Private Medical Insurance could be right for you.
But Private Medical Insurance does not make the NHS obsolete. In fact, it complements the fantastic work done by the health service by providing policy holders with more choice and access to drugs, therapies and treatments that aren’t always available on the NHS.
What are the benefits of PMI?
The main benefits of PMI are:
- Timely access to healthcare (no long waits for treatment)
- More healthcare choices – choose your own private hospital, specialist/consultant and time frames
- Access to better quality facilities
- Access to drugs, therapies and treatments that aren’t available on the NHS
Is PMI now more relevant than ever?
Figures released by NHS England in December 2019 showed that more than 680,000 patients waited more than 18 weeks for NHS elective treatment, such as knee and hip operations.
Furthermore, the data also showed that flagship cancer treatment targets had not been hit in more than three years and that over 3,000 individuals waited longer than two months to start cancer treatment after being urgently referred by their GP.
These statistics alone are concerning and it begs the question of how much value do you place on your own health? Private Medical Insurance could just provide the cover and peace of mind you and your family require.
If you’d like more information about PMI, contact us today and we’ll be happy to answer any questions you have.
I joined Premier Choice Group as a Healthcare & Protection Consultant in 2017, where I now look after the needs of over 200 clients nationwide. Prior to joining the Premier Choice Group, I worked for a large Private Healthcare Insurer, VitalityHealth, and managed SME and Individual clients across the country.