In the UK it is not a requirement to have private medical insurance. During pre-NHS days people paid into friendly societies which then helped members financially in times of need. Private Medical Insurance is not meant to replace the care the NHS can give especially in the areavof accident and emergency.
As with all insurance policies there are various levels of cover offered depending on the amount paid and the risk assessed by the insurance company. In fact the cost of medical insurance can rise rapidly from one year to the next, reflecting overall claims experience and increases in the cost of private treatment.
Private medical care very rarely includes cover for mental health conditions, a conditions that affects thousands of people each year. Private medical insurance is designed to cover only what are known as 'acute illnesses'. These are conditions which can be cured or greatly alleviated by treatment. There are illnesses which require long term treatment such as arthritis or multiple scleroses and these are excluded along with chronic conditions that are incurable.
Other exclusions are organ transplants and injuries incurred whilst taking part in hazardous sports and those suffering from HIV/AIDS. The policies do not cover patients for cosmetic surgery or treatment for infertility or pregnancy. Conditions related to drug abuse and alcoholism are also not covered.
There are some plans that offer a higher level of cover, a more basic policy may put a cap on the amount paid out for physiotherapy or out-patient care.
The cost of policies vary but one of the the most common variations is on the restriction of hospitals open to you with any particular policy. Your policy banding will allow you to choose from a certain list the more comprehensive the policy the more options you may have. There are often a choice of three lists (or more). From the most expensive whereby the ‘A’ list covers most or all private hospitals and wards. The ‘B’ list excludes the most costly of these the more expensive generally being the London hospitals. To the ‘C’ list which is limited to the least expensive. If you want the most comprehensive package then the premiums will obviously be higher, age and occupation is also a major consideration.
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