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Take Control Of Your Health Insurance Premiums

May 28, 2008
Private health insurance may not be a necessity for everyone, but it is certainly one of those luxuries that can make a big difference in your life.

A good private medical insurance policy can ensure that you and your family have greater control over your healthcare and that you are treated quickly by professionals in surroundings that are well equipped and comfortable.

The problem for many is cost. Premiums for health insurance have been rising as the costs of drugs and treatments increases. However, like any form of insurance, there are some simple steps you can take to reduce your risk to insurers and therefore the cost to you.

1. Do you really need private health insurance?

First things first. The quickest way to save money on health insurance premiums is not to pay them. Consider the benefits of private health insurance against your family's needs, and decide if PMI is an expense that you're willing to work into your budget. Be sure to consider whether you could do better banking the amount of the premium and using your savings to cover unexpected costs that aren't covered on the NHS. Take financial advice of you are unsure about this.

2. Can you get private health insurance through your employer?

According to employment specialists, PMI is one of the most sought after and fastest growing benefits being offered by small companies to entice the best workers. Your employer may completely cover the cost of your insurance, or subsidise premiums so that you only pay a percentage of the full cost. Either way, you'll save substantially on the regular cost of premiums.

3. Shop around for the best cover at the best price.

Use online price comparison sites to find low cost cover - but keep in mind that not all insurers allow their policies to be listed on all sites. Check several against each other to find a good selection of policies, and then compare one against the other after you've narrowed them down to the best value.

4. Remember that there's more to value than just price.

A low premium isn't always the best indicator of value. Be sure to check all of the fine print and conditions to see what's covered. It makes no sense to pay premiums for a policy that won't cover the medical expenses you need covered. You can expect that most policies won't cover pre-existing conditions like asthma or diabetes, and many will limit the amount they'll pay out, leaving you responsible for the remainder. Read carefully to make sure that you're getting the coverage that you need.

5. Opt for a higher excess payment.

Like any other type of cover, when you choose to pay a higher excess on your health insurance, your premiums will be lower. Weigh-up the likelihood of exceeding your stated excess against the amount of premium you'll pay.

6. Watch your health.

Beyond pre-existing conditions, many insurers are now looking at your general health when figuring out your premiums. You'll pay less for premiums if you are a non-smoker and maintain a healthy weight. Some companies may even take into account if you belong to a health club and exercise regularly, and may even contribute to the cost of your membership because they know that the healthier you are, the less likely it is that they'll have to pay out on your policy.

7. Consider a health cash plan.

Unlike medical insurance, which pays providers directly for more serious conditions, health cash plans reimburse you part or all of your healthcare expenses for treatments like eye tests and dental work not covered by the NHS. Shop around as carefully for a health cash plan as you would for regular health insurance to find one that offers coverage for the benefits you're most likely to use.
About the Author
For more information on private medical insurance, visit the ABI website where you can read a free guide. You can find a list of UK health insurance providers at http://www.uk-insurance-index.co.uk/health-insurance-1.html.
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