Private health insurance is becoming an increasingly popular choice in the UK. In fact, an estimated four million people have purchased this type of cover, and we can only expect the numbers to continue to climb.
However, while private health insurance can offer peace of mind, it also comes at a price. And, as great as it is, it does not cover everything. So, is private health insurance something more Northern Ireland households should consider?
The Pros of Private Health Insurance
Private health insurance gives you access to healthcare without the wait. Furthermore, private healthcare providers are willing to perform procedures the NHS may decline as not worth it. You’ll also gain access to the latest drugs and procedures, improving your odds of recovery in many cases.
Private health insurance gives you the ability to choose your doctor, the hospital where procedures are done, and when it is done. The quality of care may be better with a private healthcare facility, but the quality of life during recovery is always better. Private rooms are usually the norm and you may even be able to get a suite.
Also, visiting hours aren’t restricted in private hospitals the way they are in public ones. You’ll typically see more personalised care since the healthcare facilities aren’t cutting nurses to pay for bureaucrats.
The Cons of Private Health Insurance
Private health insurance only covers you if you’ve picked out a plan, signed up and paid for it in advance of needing it. Choosing the right policy can be challenging and time-consuming too.
Private health insurance is something you have to pay for out of pocket. That’s in addition to the national insurance you’re already paying that goes toward the NHS. Furthermore, you may be left with coverage you can afford, not what you truly need.
Another issue is that private insurance doesn’t always cover chronic conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure or heart disease unless you have a policy as an employee benefit.
Observations about Private Health Insurance
The level of coverage depends on what you sign up for and what you pay. Basic insurance typically covers tests, surgery, and day-care surgery.
Higher levels of coverage may pay for out-patient treatments and specialists. Or you may get cashback if you spend the night in an NHS hospital. You can shop around for policies that cover your specific concerns, whether it is getting coverage for when you’re injured abroad or paying toward dental care.
Health insurance providers may only provide discounts if you use healthcare providers in their network. This means that a health insurance provider in England may not provide decent support for someone in Scotland or Northern Ireland. However, customers can compare health insurance NI from tons of providers at the touch of a button these days.
For example, services like CompareNI allow you to compare health insurance in NI fast and easily. They’ll allow you to shop for health insurance that provides the level of coverage you need at a price you can afford while gaining access to private hospitals in your area. You could use the service to also compare the cost of policies for specific members of the family. For example, you could have family health insurance or a policy for just your child in case they become ill or get injured.
Note that you may want to save money even if you have health insurance because you can choose a policy with lower premiums when you can pay the higher deductible. Also, remember that private health insurance still doesn’t cover all procedures. For example, it’ll usually not cover cosmetic surgery or organ transplants.
Private health insurance is a major financial decision. Understand your options, so you can choose the right one for your family and your particular situation.