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Health insurance : Hot topics

In "Hot topics", Ian Youngman, Private Healthcare UK's health insurance writer, examines some of the key issues that affect health insurance coverage and premiums.

  • Should health and life insurance be postcode rated? AvivaAviva may be adding a postcode element to its life insurance premiums. The insurer is currently trialling the use of postcodes to illuminate the personal circumstances of its life customers, having already introduced postcode weightings on its annuity products, along with several of its competitors.
  • An older population will make insurers change Prostate surgery - Get a quote now The government has launched a strategy "Building a Society for All Ages", to help Britain prepare for our ageing society. It is long on political hot air and short on actual detail of what this means to us, and how we will pay for it.
  • The future of the NHS and private health insurance Health insuranceNHS Confederation, the independent membership body, outlines in the conclusion of a report on the health service, the problems faced by the NHS in the spending squeeze, The need to address the challenge is obvious, but action is required now and at all levels. Many staff will require new skills and approaches to help them do this. We will need to strip away the obstacles that stand in the way of...
  • The problem of cancer on critical illness insurance Breast cancer - breast examinationCritical illness insurance began on the basis that it was cover should someone get a horrible illness. Nearly every person was expected to die. The aim was to bring comfort in their final years and ensure they and their family did not suffer.
  • Insurers ignore an expanding market for obesity treatment Pre-obesity-surgical weight loss linked to shorter hospital stayBariatric surgery continues to struggle for legitimacy in the medical industry. Weight-loss procedures are still tainted by accusations of faddishness and tabloid stories of gory malpractice. But there is no shortage of demand for bariatric procedures.
  • Health insurers must offer Value policies Buy insurance onlineGetting individuals to see the advantages of private medical insurance and persuading them to buy, has always been hard. In these dark times it is harder still.
  • Should you insure for redundancy? UnemploymentUnemployment insurance could help soften the blow of losing your job by giving you much-needed income while you search for another. It is no use if you already know or suspect you will be losing your job, or if you run your own business. It is no use if you are sacked or voluntarily leave your job.
  • Compulsory old age cover? Rise of the 100-year-old people A report in The Telegraph has revived the ridiculous suggestion that the government will introduce compulsory long-term care insurance. Every adult could be forced to take out private insurance to cover the cost of his or her care in old age.
  • US insurer casts off Long Term Care policies Private nursing care - elderly coupleA major US insurer has dumped most of its long term care policies into an independent trust, putting tens of thousands of American policyholders at risk of reduced benefits or big premium increases.
  • How risky or safe is your insurance? the credit crunchThe risk you take with an insurance policy depends on two things: The type of policy you have and the relative strength or weakness of the insurance company.
  • Saving money by cancelling or reducing cover on your international health insurance Piggy bankThe urge to reduce medical cover can seem overwhelming, but resist it. Cutting out chronic disease cover could save you 10 or 20% on your premium, but nothing is simple as everyone disagrees on what conditions should be covered. You are unlikely to get cover for Alzheimer's, arthritis, heart disease, diabetes or asthma. Some do cover organ transplants and the ongoing maintenance for chronic...
  • The myth of monthly payments monthly bill pamentsYou may have seen recent articles that suggest you should pay premiums monthly rather than annually to protect yourself from the outside chance that your insurer could go bust. But as most policies are annual, not monthly, all you are doing with a monthly premium is paying the annual cover in instalments. If the insurer went bust, you would still be pursued by the liquidator or administrator for...
  • Will my insurer go bust? recessionThe recession in the UK and US is causing problems for many banks and some insurance groups. A key problem is that suspicion of problems leaves a crisis of confidence and this in turn can sink even the biggest names. Intermediaries are bound by FSA rules not to use companies they have suspicions about.
  • Long Term Care policies: An investment, peace of mind or waste of money? elderly patient long term careWith a credit crunch, banks in crisis, politicians in trouble, and jobs on the line; to an average fifty-plus couple, long-term care planning must seem the least of their worries. In recent years, the long- term care insurance and investment market in the UK has, unlike in the US, almost disappeared.
  • Travel health insurance and the Equalities Bill It's So Easy Travel Insurance - coupleThe Government's new Equalities Bill aims to put an end to age discrimination in England, Wales and Scotland. It will consolidate previous discrimination law into a single piece of legislation. Under the new law, insurers will be barred from rejecting older people who apply for travel insurance, or charging extortionate premiums.
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