What is Private Medical Insurance
Most UK residents are entitled to free healthcare from the NHS. Health insurance pays all – or some – of your medical bills if you’re treated privately. It gives you a choice in the level of care you get and how and when it is provided.
You don’t have to take out private medical insurance – but if you don’t want to use the NHS, you might find it hard to pay for private treatment without insurance, especially for serious conditions. Like all insurance, the cover you get from private medical insurance depends on the policy you buy.
Basic private medical insurance usually picks up the costs of most in-patient treatments (tests and surgery) and day-care surgery. Some policies extend to out-patient treatments (such as specialists and consultants) and might pay you a small fixed amount for each night you spend in an NHS hospital.
Your healthcare insurance usually won’t cover private treatment for:
- Organ transplants
- Injuries relating to dangerous
- Pre-existing medical conditions
- Normal pregnancy and childbirth costs
- Cosmetic surgery to improve your appearance
- Injuries relating to dangerous sports or arising from war or war-like hostilities
- Chronic illnesses such as HIV/AIDs-related illnesses, diabetes, epilepsy, hypertension and related illnesses
You might be able to choose a policy which covers mental health, depression and sports injuries but these aren’t always covered. NHS patients who need treatment in hospital wait an average of 8.1 weeks. Only 1 in 10 waits longer than 18 weeks.
Source: Department of Health data from January 2012
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