7 October 2013

Should I ... Have Private Medical Insurance?

PMI (or commonly just "health insurance") covers private treatment when you need it - typically for "acute" conditions (things that can largely be cured). It is often provided by employers as part of a remuneration package because it helps you get back to work quicker after an illness. But it can be useful for many people.

Advantages include:
  • Better control on the timing of treatment (jump the NHS queues, or fit treatment in among other commitments)
  • Better control on selection of hospital or specialist
  • A wider range of drugs available
  • Higher quality care (own room, etc.)
A policy could cost somewhere between £30 and £200 a month depending on what is included. Full medical underwriting is likely to be needed, although some policies don't do that and simply exclude claims for any condition you have had before (perhaps within 5 years).

The costs can be kept down by excluding out-patient cover, for example, while some policies give discounts for lifestyle factors such as gym attendance.

So should you have it? For many people it will be an important part of a busy lifestyle, while for others, being more in control of your treatment is the key requirement. 

We all hope we don't need to claim on such insurance, but then that's the whole point of insurance isn't it? It's a safety net for us and our family which helps if things go wrong.

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