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Reducing the Cost of Private Health Insurance UK

Oct 16, 2007
Private health insurance can prove quite expensive if you have an eventful medical history or require comprehensive levels of cover. Even so, there are ways to reduce some of that cost. Here are a few tips for controlling the cost of private health insurance.

1. Don't pay for insurance you don't need.
Picking up a package deal may seem the easy way out, and if you're part of the demographic the package is meant to fit, you'll save money. Keep in mind, though, that the insurance companies put the packages together to cover the needs of specific types of families. Why should you pay for cover for well-baby visits if you have no children? Check over the package carefully to make sure that it's all cover you really need. If not, take a look at the choice of cover options and compare the cost of just the ones that you want.

2. Choose to pay a higher excess.
A higher excess will nearly always reduce the cost of your monthly premium. Check to see how the excess is tabulated by your medical insurance company, though. In some cases, you'll pay the first amount of each incident. In others, you'll pay for all medical expenses incurred up to a certain amount. In any case, there is nearly always a limit to how much you can be expected to pay in a years time.

3. Share the risk.
Shared risk health insurance is cheaper than full coverage. Like choosing a higher excess, it splits the cost of your medical care between you and your insurer. Unlike higher excesses, which give a finite amount that you will have to contribute, shared risk is usually based on a percentage, between 25% and 60%. The more premium you pay, the higher percentage your medical cover will pay.

4. No claims or low claims discount.
Many insurers will discount your policy if you make no claims against it, or if your claims are for minor medical procedures up to a specified cost. Generally, the discounts start at 10% and build with each succeeding year in which you make no claim against it, up to a maximum of 50% after 5-8 years without making a claim against your policy.

5. Choose a waiting period.
While many people carry private health insurance specifically to get around long queues for NHS treatments, you can lower your premium by choosing a policy that offers the option of a waiting period. With this type of policy, if your wait for a medical procedure will be longer than a specified period on the NHS, the cost of it will be covered by your insurance. The cost of the policy varies with the length of waiting period that you choose.

6. Hospital Choice
Many policies offer you complete freedom in choosing the hospital at which you have a procedure done. More and more often, though, you can reduce the cost of your monthly private health cover by agreeing to limit your choice of hospitals. There are a number of variations some reduce the cost if you agree not to choose a London hospital, for instance, as hospitals in city tend to be more expensive. Others have a list of hospitals which have agreed to discount lower prices to that insurer in return for a boost in business from plan members.

And of course, you should always examine your policy carefully, and periodically compare it with similar plans to be sure that you're still getting the best possible deal on your medical cover.
About the Author
For further information and advice please go to http://www.privatehealthservice.co.uk
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