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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.

  • Income protection insurance - It's all your fault insurance contractWhen your football team loses, the manager has a host of ready-made excuses. The referee, the weather, injuries, bad luck, the bounce of the ball, and the referee again. If watching, you may have a simpler explanation, the team played badly and the opposition were better. Insurance can be like that too. In recent years, insurers have founded it harder and harder to get you, the public to buy...
  • Law may make insurers treat customers fairly The Law CommissionCritically ill patients who are denied insurance payouts because they did not make seemingly unimportant details clear on applications could benefit from a crucial change to the law. The Law Commission, which monitors the way laws are applied, has put forward plans that mean insurers would no longer be able to deny claims because they weren't given enough information when the insurance was taken...
  • International healthcare for Britons living in Spain Spain windmillExpatriates in Spain may be able to use the local health service. But because the system is highly regionalised, with each region exercising its own autonomy, complications may arise. Permanent and semi-permanent expatriates should register with the authorities and obtain a residence card which gives access to state-run healthcare. But this is not a guarantee. UK residents on "short-term" visits...
  • Do you need long-term care insurance? elderly couple long term careWith healthcare costs rising and longer life expectancies, funding long-term care needs is an increasing concern for millions of people. The average annual cost of nursing home care rises every year. People who would like to protect their assets, minimize dependence on family members and control how they receive nursing or home care, should carefully consider long-term care insurance. It is a...
  • Last-gasp effort to stop smoking Health insurance risks - smokingAs buyers of a product which blatantly warns This could kill you, smokers may not be very moved by Government campaigns showing how wonderful they will feel after stopping. As if you will taste your food better is really going to stop a smoker! Health and life insurers can take another tack .A simple but sound one that it can save you money. Some of the nonsense in the popular press could be...
  • Should health insurers be able to use genetic information? The results of genetic tests should be passed on to insurance companies to allow them to assess the health risks of potential customers, a professor of bioethics says. Prof Soren Holm, from Cardiff University Law School, argues that genetic information is no more "sensitive or private" than other information about a person's health, including cholesterol levels and body mass index, which...
  • Lie detectors - a case of insurance foot and mouth The health insurance industry is renowned in the UK for innovation in marketing and products. But the insurance industry generally has a bad reputation with the public. The bad reputation is mostly undeserved, but the industry has a disease you will not see in any private medical insurance policy. Insurance foot and mouth" is where it says or does something to shoot itself firmly in the foot by...
  • Smoking and health insurance Girl smoking cigaretteFrom 1st of July 2007 virtually all enclosed public places and workplaces in England will become smokefree. This includes work vehicles. A smokefree England follows recent bans in Wales and Northern Ireland, and earlier bans in Scotland and the Republic of Ireland. If you don't comply with the new smokefree law, you will be committing a criminal offence. If smoking in smokefree premises or work...
  • Critical illness cover - luxury or necessity Which?Consumer group Which? has called critical illness a luxury product. The report by Which? appeared in its May issue and said: We believe that critical illness insurance is a luxury product and, for most people, it is more important you have adequate life insurance if you have dependants, and income protection, before thinking about taking out critical illness cover. Insurers disagree. If there is...
  • Instant quote, instant documents for life insurance Pinnacle LifeIf a small New Zealand life insurer can do it, why don't UK insurers do it? Web sites with instant quotes are common, although too often the price is only an indication until the insurer has your completed proposal form. Web sites where you can get your policy emailed to you as a full legal document, instantly, are as rare as hen's teeth. You can do it for airline and theatre tickets, and other...
  • Insurers fail to comply with the new ABI Statement of Best Practice on critical illness ABI (association of british insurers) logoAlthough insurers have had a year to comply with the new ABI Statement of Best Practice on critical illness, many have failed or just scraped under the deadline of Ist May 2007. To be fair, several leading insurers have amended their wording well in advance. Most of these have also gone beyond the minimum requirements and added cover for a wider range of illnesses. Some insurers have still to...
  • Crackdown on screening proposed Insurers offering private medical insurance and health cash plans have had a shock. Health screening is increasingly seen as a vital component in helping people be pro-active in keeping themselves healthy. Government advisors want to add health screening to the list of industries it closely regulates. The National Screening Committee is considering how best to regulate the industry. It is worried...
  • Freedom to choose private medical insurance When choosing which private medical insurance to buy it is easy to concentrate on price and width of cover, and miss an important area where insurers disagree. At one extreme, insurers will allow you to be treated wherever you want in the UK. Some will even allow treatment overseas - a topic we will return to soon. At the other extreme are those who will not only tell you where you will be...
  • Regulation of the travel insurance industry Cyprus - PlaneIf you buy travel insurance from a travel insurer, insurance intermediary, or anyone else who sells insurance as their business, they are subject to strict rules and regulations controlled by the Financial Services Authority. If you buy your travel insurance from a travel agent as part of the travel package, the travel agent is not regulated in the same way. There is a heated debate as to whether...
  • Income Protection Task Force - damp squib? CWC research logoWhen most of us see the words; task force, committee, and white paper, - we turn to something more interesting like the sports pages or watching paint dry. Like Government, certain sections of the insurance industry love their talking shops and progress at snail like speed through industry consensus. The Income Protection Task Force (IPTF) was set up to find ways of promoting Income protection...
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