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Can Insurance Answer All Your Medical Care Needs?

Mar 21, 2008
With the NHS in an apparent quagmire of financial difficulties and huge waiting times there are increasing numbers of people turning to private medical care as an alternative. Private medical car can however be expensive for some and paying for vital surgery can be a problem for those who cannot afford it; one solution that can offset the costs of private care is medical insurance. The American line, where there is no NHS and if you want treatment in a decent hospital medical insurance is essential, is increasingly being followed in Britain.

With waiting times increasing there is little wonder that so many are happy to pay insurance premiums to gain the benefits of private medical care. Some policies are so extensive that they allow customers to pick their operation times to suit their schedule and in most cases will ensure a comfortable room in a private hospital instead of being stuck on a ward. Premiums for medical insurance are generally annual although prices may vary if you undergo a lot of treatment in any twelve month period.

The only alternative to utilising private health care insurance is to use your savings and income to pay for medical bills; as some operations could well clear out your bank account completely, a yearly premium over a huge lump some is most probably more advisable. Bear in mind however, that not every type of operation and treatment is available as part of your private medical insurance provisions. 'Acute' conditions are usually included in most policies as they are curable and will only occur over a short period of time.

Costs that your medical insurance will most likely cover are the price of medical care in terms of diagnosis and treatment. Most operation expenses will be covered such as anaesthetist's and surgeon's expenses. X-rays, radiotherapy and physiotherapy should all be covered depending upon the policy you have. Some policies may even cover the cost of private medical care abroad, if emergency care is needed while travelling.

There are unfortunately types of care that will not be covered by your private medical insurance, especially if it is an illness known about when entering a policy. In general medical insurance only covers unforeseen circumstances; pre-existing conditions will not be covered by your policy as will other essential medical requirements.

Routine check-ups are rarely covered in your policy as many private medical care institutions will not undertake them. Conditions that are chronic such as the terminal stages of cancer will not be covered; although special cancer insurance policies are becoming popular; these will however, be in addition to your existing policy. Pregnancy and childbirth will undoubtedly not be covered; the same can be said for cosmetic surgery. Added to this the private medical care you receive as part of your insurance policy will not cover self inflicted harm through alcohol or drug abuse.

In terms of the cost of private medical insurance there are a number of factors that will determine the price of a premium. Age, sex and health are all important as they should give an idea of how much private medical care you may need in any twelve months. There are many packages on the market so it is wise to take a considered decision that takes many issues into account; it is also worth remembering that it is possible to reduce the price of a policy by limiting the private medical care centres you may use as well as increasing the excess you are willing to pay.

Insurance will not be the answer for everyone; it is worth it if you wish to avoid the long waiting times of the NHS and like the perks of your own room rather than a ward. Remember however that insurance will not pay for all of your medical expenses so do not start to live your life with reckless abandon once you have a policy. Inflictions that result from your own actions are rarely covered and if the worst does happen, terminal illnesses will not be treated. Your health is an important asset and is worth looking after.
About the Author
Health expert Thomas Pretty looks into the benefits of private medical care and insurance.
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