A Private Health Insurance policy is a plan which will enable you to obtain prompt, private treatment if you become ill. You pay a premium to an insurance company and in turn, they provide you with healthcare benefits, designed to cover "acute conditions" if you become unwell after your policy has started.
Acute conditions are generally described as those with ability to respond quickly to treatment. The aim is to return you to the state of health you enjoyed before your illness or injury commenced.
How Does It Work?
If you need to make a claim, the initial referral generally needs to be made through your GP to a suitable specialist. Most insurers require you to contact them prior to arranging any treatment, to ensure that you are covered for your particular condition.
It is important to maintain contact with the insurer throughout treatment as some procedures may not be covered by the plan. You also need to remember that private health care is not intended to replace NHS services, it is designed to run alongside them.
Where Can I Buy It?
There are several routes you can choose to purchase Private Health Insurance. This can be done directly through the insurer, through an Independent Financial Adviser or through an agent such as a bank, building society or insurance broker. Cover can be arranged by phone, internet, post or face to face.
What Are The Benefits/Pitfalls?
Cover of this nature will provide re-assurance that you will be able to receive medical treatment quickly, if you become ill or injured. You will have a say in your treatment and even in respect of the specialist who treats you. Privacy no longer needs to be an issue, as you will have the benefit of an en-suit room complete with home comforts - more often than not, in the hospital you choose as well.
All policies have standard exclusions which are noted in your policy documentation. You will be required to provide full medical details at the time you make your application. When doing this, you should ensure you answer all questions completely and clearly. Errors or omissions could render your policy invalid. You should also be aware that this insurance does not normally cover any conditions you are currently suffering from, or have already had.