Private Medical Insurance (PMI)
PMI is also called, Private Health Insurance or simply Health Insurance.
Why Get Covered?
All what we have in life, we owe it to good health. Think of your home, your car, your personal possessions, your pets among others. Isn’t it amazing then that millions of people insure those possessions without insuring their health?
People who appreciate the above fact buy PMI because:
- It is peace of mind cover for you and your family,
- It guarantees them and their loved ones prompt and best medical treatment if they become ill or injured,
- You can have a choice of when treatment will take place, the hospital, and the specialist who treats you. You get the treatment you need, when you need it.
- You get treated at the best hospitals and have privacy of en-suite room with television amongst other home comforts, and
- It means NO to NHS queues and waiting lists.
PMI helps to cover the cost of investigations, out of patients appointments, surgery, medical specialists, accommodation and nursing for treatment at either a private hospital or in a private ward of an NHS hospital.
The Association of British Insurers says that: “Most people buy this type of insurance to gain the reassurance of knowing that treatment is available promptly, if they become ill or are injured.”
How Much Does PMI Cost?
The cost depends on a number of factors:
- The insurer you choose,
- The plan you opt for, the more comprehensive the cover the more expensive,
- Number of people covered, e.g. is for individual or family, and
- How can I reduce the cost of my PMI Cover?
How Do I Make A Claim?
Normally the claims process is triggered when your General Practitioner refers you to a specialist for treatment or investigation. You must tell your General Practitioner that you wish to have private treatment. It is important to obtain a quote in advance or to get claims authorisation, before treatment starts, and make sure that your insurer will be willing to pay the costs. Claims can be settled in two ways, either the insurer settles the bills with the hospital or you make payments and claim the money back from the insurer.
Which Type Of Health Insurance Is Best?
There are a number of different health insurance covers available in the UK.
- Private Medical Insurance
Private medical insurance will provide funds either direct to the private hospital or through you to cover costs of private treatment and/or investigation. You get best specialist treatment from private hospitals or private wards of NHS hospitals. The other benefits include a private room and no waiting lists. You can also choose where you would like to be treated and when.
- Critical Illness Insurance
Critical illness insurance covers patients who suffer serious illnesses. The policy pays out a tax-free lump sum to the policyholder to use for any purpose, which can be to pay off debts like your mortgage or pay treatment expenses.
- Income Protection Insurance
Income protection insurance also called Permanent Health Insurance is a long-term income replacement cover. You insure against loss of income that can result from incapacitation resulting from illness or accident. The plan can cover and payout up to 65% of your income tax-free. In the United Kingdom, tax year 2020/21, should you become incapacitated and unable to work, you will only receive a maximum of £95.85 per week. It makes income protection a very important cover if you are to maintain you standard of living.
- Health Cash Plans (HCP)
HCPs are low cost health plans that pay cash sums towards the cost of a wide range of treatments. Cash sums are paid if you have to go into hospital, see a specialist, visit the dentist or optician, give birth or require alternative therapies such as homeopathy, acupuncture or physiotherapy. They are geared towards the day-to-day health expenses we all have to meet.
Health Cash Plans are available for both individuals and families. HCPs encourage policyholders to seek and receive early medical investigation and treatment. Helplines and health screening are increasingly common inclusions. Some now offer discounts at selected health clubs. Some offer more specialised benefits which may be tailored towards your particular needs such as benefits for illness at home, aftercare and home help.
Advantages of a health cash plan:
- Unlike PMI, the premiums you pay aren’t based on your age or gender, although some providers have upper age limits for new joiners. This means that cash plans can be particularly valuable for older plan holders,
- Children are usually included free of charge where one or more of the parents are covered,
- No medical required before joining,
- Can be used towards the cost of dental and optical treatment plus many other categories