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Private Medical Insurance, or, as it is often called, 'private health insurance', can help you receive private healthcare - as opposed to care provided by the National Health System (NHS) - without paying for the huge costs associated with it.

This kind of insurance can give you access to receiving treatment for acute medical conditions quickly by skipping the NHS waiting lists, choosing a time and place for treatment that is convenient, having a private room for your treatment or making extra accommodation available when a child needs a parent with him or her.

What type of health insurance should I get?

There are three types of private health insurance. They are budget health insurance, standard health insurance and comprehensive health insurance.

Budget health insurance usually covers most forms of inpatient and day-patient cover, but not outpatient treatment.

Standard health insurance provides cover for inpatient, day-patient and a limited outpatient cover.

Comprehensive health insurance offers cover for inpatient, day-patient and outpatient treatment. 

Additional benefits on offer are dental and optical care plans. You will have to decide which form of cover is suited for you.

Where do I buy health insurance?

You can buy your health insurance directly from your insurer, seek the assistance of an independent health insurance broker, or approach an insurance agent at your bank or building society.

Quotes are available over the phone,by post, over the internet or face to face. Once you have decided what the best policy is, your insurer of choice will process your application and send your certification of membership.

What will I be covered for?

Health insurance is generally designed to cover treatment for curable, short-term illness or injury, but some illnesses and treatments are never covered and most of these are common to most schemes. Usually included is cover for treatment of short-term medical conditions. It will also cover in-patient tests, surgery as an in-patient or day-patient, hospital accommodation and nursing.

Out-patient diagnostic tests is not always covered, but it differs from insurer to insurer. It is your responsibility to know if you are covered for out-patient consultations and treatment with a specialist, overseas cover or cash payments made for treatment received at an NHS institution.

You can usually assume that you will not be covered for conditions you had before taking out the health insurance policy or long-term illnesses which cannot be cured.

You will not be covered for drug abuse, self-inflicted injuries, out-patient drugs and dressings, HIV/AIDS, infertility, normal pregnancy, cosmetic surgery, gender reassignment (sex change), preventative treatment, kidney dialysis, mobility aids, experimental drugs, organ transplant, war injuries, and injuries arising from dangerous hobbies - unless this is specified in your policy.

Bupa and AXA PPP offer health insurance, but you should always do you homework, and compare how much you'll have to spend to get the policy you want. Sites like MoneySupermarket.com and HealthInsuranceCompare.co.uk can help you.



 


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