What should you look for when comparing health insurance?

If you have ever thought about health insurance, you understand that the choice of a suitable health care plan is important to securing the cover that is appropriate for you and your family – any plan needs to be tailored to suit your particular, individual needs and circumstances.

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The quickest glance at the market is likely to reveal what a wide range of health insurance products are on offer and the array of options that attach to each. Matching those products to your specific requirements, therefore, may take careful consideration, based on your ability to compare health insurance plans.

What are the key elements likely to feature in any such comparison?

Price

A price comparison is an important step in the process of your deciding to buy practically any goods or services.

As in other cases, though, your choice is unlikely to be determined by price alone, but by the value for money represented by any given offering – the same is true when you compare health insurance.

One of the reasons for the recent growth in the popularity of private medical insurance – growth which is predicted to increase at a compound rate of 2.8% up to the year 2025, according to Health Insurance and Protection Daily on the 9th of June 2017 – is the price-flexibility with which providers are now marketing the product.

By comparing those products, you may find ways of keeping the costs of your private medical care within your budget by:

  • opting to use NHS services still, unless you face waiting times beyond a given limit;
  • restricting your choice of private hospitals and clinics at which you may choose to be treated; or by
  • making your own financial contribution to the costs of private medical treatment – either through the amount of insurance excess you choose or by agreeing to the contribution of a given percentage of those costs.

What is covered?

Probably more important than cost alone is just what you get for your money.

This is where your comparison of health insurance schemes pays particular dividends, as you choose the level of cover that is appropriate to your individual circumstances:

Comprehensive private medical insurance

  • Although this is the most expensive option and is considered the gold standard of health insurance, there are still hundreds of variations allowing you to tailor cover to your needs;
  • The price is likely to depend on where you live, your age, pre-existing medical conditions, your choice of hospital (whether a private ward in an NHS hospital, for example, or an entirely private facility), consultants’ and anaesthetists’ fees, and access to diagnostic and outpatient services;

Budget policies

  • Once again, the cost of premiums depends on your age, location, pre-existing conditions and the level of cover you choose, but these costs are kept deliberately low to afford more people access to some degree of private medical insurance;
  • Although offering a cheaper option, these types of policy may nevertheless give you a fast-track access to consultants, help you avoid long waiting times for routine operations – such as hip or knee replacement surgery – and still give the option of using private facilities if NHS waiting lists exceed an agreed period of time.

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