With an increasing number of people using private hospitals paying for themselves, we answer the important questions for consideration if you’re thinking about paying for your treatment.
Yes! Almost all private hospitals and clinics list their prices for treatment and you can pay either in full as a one-off, or spread the cost of treatment using finance options. Interest free options are now widely available and you can choose to spread the cost over a longer period, with a fixed interest rate, so its easier to budget for the cost of your treatment.
It may be that you have private health insurance but choose to pay for yourself for some or all of your treatment. This may be to keep the claims costs down, or may be because there is an excess on your policy. If this is the case, and the excess cost of treatment is significant, you should also ask if you’re able to spread the cost.
However you choose to pay or fund your treatment, the full amount for treatment is generally payable either just before admission or when you receive your tests or treatment. Almost every private hospital now has the ability for patients to spread the cost of treatment, which can make it more affordable.
The guide prices for treatment are usually given as a ‘package price’, and what is included and excluded is clearly set out. Whilst the guide price is just that – a guide price, once you have seen a specialist a guaranteed package price will be confirmed with you. But being able to know what the cost is likely to be before you see a specialist is really good and will help you decide if your treatment is affordable.
Once you’ve confirmed your treatment and price, you will need to check carefully on the terms and conditions of treatment. It’s usual to find that everything related to your treatment is included, except for things like newspapers, phone calls and so on (just like in a hotel).
For reassurance, you will also find that things like your drugs to take home and follow-up appointments are included, as is post-discharge support and even re-admission if it’s related to your original treatment.
There are often time limits on what’s included or excluded so it’s important to check the small print carefully, but on the whole, hospitals and clinics will include everything that’s need to ensure you have successful treatment and follow up.
Once you’ve made the decision to pay for yourself, what do you need to do? Well firstly you may not always need a referral letter from your doctor - your hospital or clinic will tell you what’s required. They will also book your initial appointment for you and explain how the whole process of paying for yourself works. They will also be able to help you find out how to spread the cost of treatment. Most hospital and clinic websites now have lots of information about how the process works and you can contact them directly by phone, email or live chat. Even if you’ve never used private healthcare before, there will be someone to help and support you through the whole process.
No. Your hospital or surgeon will ensure your own GP is informed about your treatment so your medical notes can be updated. Going privately doesn’t prevent you seeking NHS treatment in the future.