What's better? Private or NHS healthcare?
Private Medical Insurance : Special cover plans
Special cover plans
There is an increasing number of special private medical insurance policies designed to meet specific needs. Some providers feel that standard covers are not the solution for everyone, so they have come up with innovative ways of solving the problem.
Some solutions are unique to one provider, while others are being developed by several providers. With these unusual solutions, we suggest you take care, as some are new and untested. If necessary, get expert advice.
Convalescence care plans
The need for convalescence care
The population is changing so there are many more older people. Health providers have cash problems, which limit how long they want people to stay. Medical opinion is now that most people recover quicker away from a hospital, in their own or a relative's home. After a major operation, the patient may not be able fully to look after themselves. They may have a partner, son or daughter who can care for them. But with more people living alone and more couples working full time, there is often no one home. In theory, the local authority and local health providers should arrange help, but with stretched resources this is often limited to short daily visits.
What is a convalescence care plan?
An insurance to cover the costs of professional care, from help with shopping, cleaning and cooking, to full nursing care on a 24 hour basis.
Why a special plan is required
Being a member of HM Forces means that if you move around the UK and abroad, you may not have a permanent UK address. And, by the nature of the profession, you can take part in dangerous activities and hazardous sports. For these reasons, many insurers will not offer you cover or limit it. Although your employer will provide a lot of medical help to you if you are injured at work, they may not do so if it was at play. Your family need cover as well.
Cover designed to include your work and leisure pursuits, and your moving around in the UK and overseas postings.
Medical expenses plans
This is a variation on the Hospital Treatment Plan, but is limited to a small number of major diseases.
Medical savings plans
On a conventional Private Medical Insurance you may pay premiums for several years and if you do not make a claim you get nothing back. If you self fund then you have no guarantee that funds will be available when you need private treatment.
Medical savings plans have been developed in the USA and are now being introduced here. When these are purely savings plans they are a financial tool which this site does not cover. However, a new breed of part savings plans, part private medical insurance is developing. These allow individuals to build up their own health fund for paying medical bills. They also have insurance to limit how much the customer pays.
It is easy to repair a car after a road crash, but repairing any driver, passenger or pedestrian takes longer. The NHS has a great emergency service, but is less good at longer term human repair. So if you do not want full PMI cover, but do a lot of driving, then a specialist policy may help.
Self pay protection plans
Many people decide to pay for their own private healthcare without having any insurance, funding it from savings or loans. The risk of going the self pay route is that if medical costs are incurred before a sizeable fund has been built up or if heavy charges unexpectedly occur, the expense is not budgeted for.
An insurance policy which shares the costs. Some are "Stop Loss" i.e. the customer pays all the bills, but there is an annual limit on it, above which limit the insurer pays all the costs. Others are "Shared" where the customer pays anything between 30% and 70% of the costs, the insurer pays the rest.
If a professional sports person gets injured, they spend money on getting the best possible treatment and recovery. If you are a keen sportsman or woman, a specialist cover may be worth considering, to get the same sort of treatment as the pros. After all, being an amateur is the same thing, it still hurts.