The disadvantages of private medical insurance
In an ideal world, your PMI policy would cover you for everything at a premium you could afford. In reality the level of cover will vary according to the price you pay. As with anything: you get what you pay for. This means that you may find that your private medical insurance doesn’t cover you for everything you presumed and you may be let down when you need it most. Generally, PMI policies will only cover curable, short term illness or injury, with more complex conditions, such as cancer only available as an added extra.
Private medical insurance is unlikely to cover you for existing conditions, even if they have not been fully diagnosed when you take out your policy. This means that it may not provide the treatment you need most. It’s important to be sure exactly what your PMI includes before you take out the policy.
Another disadvantage is that the cost of private medical insurance cover will increase with age, just as you’re more likely to need it. This can leave you in a ‘Catch 22’ situation, since changing policy providers will exclude any pre-existing conditions once again, so you could find yourself trapped with ever increasing premiums.
Another consideration is the size and speciality of most private hospitals. Although you’re unlikely to be visited by a consultant with a group of student doctors in tow, you could miss out on the breadth of experience available in a large, multi-disciplinary teaching hospital. Furthermore, many private hospitals and clinics do not have intensive care support, so should anything go wrong you will have to be transferred to the local NHS unit.