The citizens of the UK enjoy a state administered health policy, in the form of National Health Service (NHS). While this may direct applause to the government of UK, the increasing number of people opting for private alternatives is a little worrying. It points out several loopholes in the system, which prevents total satisfaction from being achieved. As a result, the private insurance companies take advantage and provide a better version of NHS, themselves. A Private Medical Insurance (PMI) is one of these private alternatives.


Don’t know what a Private Medical Insurance (PMI) is?

A PMI is a very personalized health insurance, which provides protection against any acute illnesses or conditions. However, unlike NHS, this is offered by private insurance companies, which means that you are not automatically entitled to it. With a PMI, your medical treatment is carried out on a private basis, in private hospitals, and by private doctors.

Why should you get it?

Having a state provided health service is a blessing to say the least. However, there is room for improvement. PMI fills this void, by providing much better terms than the NHS. Therefore, although you would have to pay further, you also get a much better service.

Firstly, with a PMI, there is no waiting list. Since NHS services extend to everyone, the resources are strained and thus, there are long waiting lists you must endure, before you can get your treatment done. This can be quite stressful in many conditions and could be a source of great discomfort. With PMI, you do not have to deal with this, as it allows you immediate treatment. Another area where PMI gets the best of NHS is the hospital cleanliness. Private hospitals are driven by the profit motive and thus, give great attention to offering the best service. This translates into very clean hospitals, which are a rare sight when it comes to NHS. If you have asthma or any other critical condition, this lack of cleanliness is unlikely to sit well with you. If this was not enough, unlike NHS, a PMI offers you autonomy, which allows you to pick the details in the policy and mold them according to your needs. Do not want a full cover? No problem. Want a specific doctor or hospital? No problem, either. This and other such options come along with this policy, allowing you to get just what you need.

Is it a replacement of the NHS?

Although it is a more advanced and effective alternative to NHS several areas, one cannot simply call it an all-out replacement. The reason behind this is that NHS has its own benefits and areas of strength, where PMI cannot parallel. For one, your PMI does not have an A&E department, which means that in case of any accident or emergency, you’d still need your NHS. Therefore, considering your state offered health service incompetent might not be the most optimal of putting it.

What would you be covered for?

A PMI covers you for acute conditions, which in other words, mean conditions, which could be treated in the short-term. These may include different diseases, which could easily be dealt with, using the right treatment. However, if you are plagued with a more long-term condition or an incurable one, which would require constant treatment for a considerable period, this policy may not cover you. Other areas where this policy may not be of any help include planned pregnancy, self-inflicted damage, drugs and alcohol abuse, cosmetic surgery, et cetera.

How much must you pay?

Wherever there is room for modification and personalization, you cannot possibly offer a generic cost. The whole purpose of these options is that people only tick what they actually need and thus, go home with a package, which addresses their specific needs. So, we cannot give you an exact amount. However, insurance companies not only take into account how good of a package you demand but also who you are and what you do. This makes cost determination even more complex. From your lifestyle to your health condition, these companies monitor each and everything, which might have a direct or indirect effect on your health. Therefore, if you are a smoker, you would have to pay more than the person next to you, who does not smoke, even if you have the exact same package. Other factors that determine the cost are your age, your pre-existing conditions, your life style, your job and your medical history. Normal protocol dictates you go under a medical examination, so that the insurance provider is aware of the risk associated with insuring you. If you still wish for a rough estimate, a person who is not overweight or smoke should hope to pay around £1000 per annum.

Which is the right one for you?

Having already mentioned the immense amount of choice a PMI offers, the answer to this question becomes quite apparent. There is no one right option for you. It depends on you, your needs and your financial capacity. However, you must ensure that the package you choose has a combination of two factors – affordability and relevance. A policy that is not affordable would put you under duress. Instead of relieving pressure, it would build it. This is never a right choice. Similarly, having a policy, which is irrelevant and does not cover you where you need to be covered, makes no sense, regardless of how affordable it is. You need both of these factors blended in your policy, and get a suitable balance of both.

Any further tips?

After advising you to pick out the package you can afford, the first advice would be to ensure you meet the payments. However, this is quite obvious and does not need stressing. What does need stressing is the fact that health insurance providers ask a lot of questions and require your medical information. Here, lying would be something which has the potential to backfire and bite you. You do not want this. Therefore, when you are asked about your lifestyle and habits and other things, answer with absolute candor. Also, always try to read the small print and be sure what you are and are not covered for.