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A Beginner’s Guide to Private Medical Cover


A Beginner’s Guide to Private Medical Cover

For newbies to the health insurance market, private medical cover can be a bit of a minefield. But if you follow this beginner’s guide to private medical insurance then you will end up with a policy that perfectly suits your needs and budget.

Sit down and think about the following questions:

Why do you want private medical cover?

The first- and most important- thing you need to establish is what you want covered by your private medical insurance policy. This could include diagnostic tests and scans, full outpatient cover, full cancer cover, or dental and optical treatment.

If you are looking to get cover for a pre-existing condition, stop right there. Health insurance is not designed to cover you for conditions you have already got. However, there is a particular type of underwriting called moratorium that could provide cover for these conditions in the future.

How much money do you have to spend each month?

Whilst budget is important, it should never be the only consideration. Cheap private medical cover may seem like good value for money at the time, but you may not be covered for certain drugs and treatments in the future.

Write down what you can realistically afford to pay for private medical insurance each month and use it- you will be grateful in the long-term.

Would you mind using a discount scheme?

Whilst you shouldn’t scrimp on your private medical cover, for most of us money is tight. Luckily there are ways you can reduce your premiums without sacrificing on cover. Discount schemes are great ways to bring down cost- popular ones include six week wait, adding an excess and a reduced hospital list.

Think about what discount scheme you could apply to your policy. Increasing your excess is an easy way of dramatically cutting costs. By choosing an excess of A�200, you will pay a maximum of A�200 towards your annual claims, and will have significantly lower monthly premiums.

Would you like any extra benefits?

Some health insurers reward their customers for leading a healthy lifestyle. Rewards could include discounted gym memberships, discounted health checks, stop-smoking sessions or a reduction in your premiums. If this all sounds appealing to you, write it down!

Shop around

One of the biggest mistakes you could make when looking for private medical cover is not spending the time to research the market. Armed with your list of needs and budget, it is a good idea to compare health insurance online with a health insurance comparison website.

Watch out for many unethical companies which claim to offer you instant online quotes, but actually take your details and sell them on. Always make sure the website you are looking at is FSA regulated, with its registration number displayed clearly at the bottom of the page.

Review your options

Once you have compared private medical insurance quotes and found one that suits you, make sure you go away and think about it overnight.

You will often be able to choose the underwriting method on your policy. There are two common types of health insurance underwriting- full medical underwriting (FMU) and moratorium. Your underwriting will affect whether you will be covered for pre-existing conditions in the future.

Always look closely at the limitations on your policy to check you are happy with it. On a basic policy, providers may put a limit on the maximum amount they will pay for a single medical condition, and on how long they will continue to cover it.

Sit back and relax!

After you have purchased your private medical cover you can sit back and enjoy complete peace of mind about your future healthcare.