What's better? Private or NHS healthcare?
Types of private medical insurance policy
There are three basic types of private medical insurance UK for those living in the UK, as well as schemes for people living and working abroad:
Individual private medical insurance
Bought by you for yourself and/or for your family.
Private medical insurance for the self-employed/small business
If you work for yourself you can buy special cover or normal individual cover. You can cover a self-employed individual or partners in a partnership or directors of a limited company. You can include the family too. It is often treated as a legitimate business expense.
This is where cover is bought by companies or other large employers for employees and their families. The individual has little or no choice in what is offered, and it may be regarded as a taxable benefit
Some companies and unions arrange a voluntary scheme. This is where you can buy a policy, often at discounted rate, with premium deducted from payroll. The downside is that you have no choice of provider and limited choice of cover.
Some unions and other groups have arrangements where an insurer offers private medical insurance UK cover at a discounted rate, but individuals have to take out and pay for their own policy. There is often a choice of cover but not a choice of provider.
If you have, or can access, a voluntary scheme, it is still worth checking out what is available to buy as an individual - not all group deals are good ones!
If you live or work abroad, even if you no longer have a permanent UK home, there is a wide range of international cover to choose from.