Private Health Care Or NHS?
It is often said that one of the major benefits to living in the UK is that regardless of who you are, or your financial situation, you will always have access to health care. Since its introduction in 1948, the NHS has ensured that people from all walks of life are provided with medical treatment, free of charge. Yet, for as many years, private health care, funded through insurance providers such as Bupa, Axa, Avivas and many more, have proved a popular alternative with companies and individuals alike.
Why Go Private?
So why do people choose to take out these policies? Could it be that they believe the health care they'll recieve will better in the private sector than it would be on the NHS? Is their over-riding concern that of NHS waiting lists and the fear that they or their loved ones might not be treated in time? Or could the reason be more superficial, including elements of snobbery and class divide? Indeed these, and many others, are questions which can only be answered by the policy holders themselves, but one thing's for sure, even today, despite the recession, the number of policies being taken out are on the increase, with more than seven million people across the UK having already made this choice.
Needless to say, advertisment of such policies can play a substantial part in tempting the consumer. With companies such as Bupa offering introductory deals and low cost cover (often for less than a pound a day) together with the assurance that they will be there "at every step of the way", providing help as needed in event of a claim being made, it's easy to see why people (often without investigating alternative possibilities) opt to sign on the dotted line.
What to Look Out For
Yet, as with all insurance policies, one should never assume total cover. Infact, prior to signing, it would be wiser, by far, to check out what isn't covered as opposed to what is. Pre-existing conditions are often exempt, as is maternity; similarly conditions relating to drug or substance abuse and injuries resulting from dangerous persuits. Still, that's not to say extra coverage can't be provided, albeit at an additional charge. Also, one should always be aware that limits on how much a company is willing to pay out often apply. In other words, one should always read the fine print, no matter what.
Alternative Policies - Health Cash Plans
In addition to private medical insurance which funds the cost of treatment by private doctors, there are also policies available which pay a cash sum in the event of the policy holder (and, in some instances, their immediate family) recieving treatment on the NHS. These policies are known as health cash plans. Paying x amount of money per day spent in hospital, or for routine visits to the dentist, optician, or one's own GP as well as specialist consultants, these can often prove worth the cost. But again, should you be offered such a policy, it's always worth finding out more before you decide whether or not that particular plan (if any) is the right one for you.