In the UK, the National Health Service (NHS) is the authority that regulates public healthcare. It was set up in 1948 to provide free healthcare cover to anyone living in the UK. The NHS is funded through national insurance taxation and is run by the Department of Health. However, private healthcare also runs alongside the NHS even though it is currently used by less than 8% of the population.
Despite most of the UK’s healthcare services being free (visits to the GP, and in most cases to the hospital, are free of charge. The patient only needs to pay for any treatment provided by doctors that are not affiliated to the NHS), many people living in the UK today opt for private health insurance in order to cover unexpected medical costs. The most popular types of complementary health cover are private health insurance and cash plans.
Consumers who choose private health insurance can create a specific policy that suits both their needs and their budget. This type of health cover assures the consumer that there will always be a private hospital available should they ever need to use their services.
Basic cover on private health insurance generally includes the costs of private hospitals, diagnostic tests and specialist fees. However, this type of cover will only apply to new conditions and will not apply to conditions sutained prior to taking out the private health insurance policy. What’s more, any treatment needed to fight alcohol or drug related illness is not covered, as is the treatment for illnesses such as HIV and Aids. Any further restrictions will be made clear to the consumer prior to them taking out the policy.
Private health insurance policies are usually taken out on an annual basis, and the premium is calculated on the age, sex and area the customer lives in. Furthermore, coverage may include dental treatment, physiotherapy treatment, psychiatric treatment and optical care amongst others.
The alternative to private health cover is to subscribe to a cash plan.
A cash plan is a policy for which a monthly, or in some cases an annual, premium is paid to the insurer in order to claim back cash for the cost of healthcare required. In the case of a cash plan, cover can be bought for the whole family where any number of individuals can be put onto it.
A cash plan also differs to private medical insurance in that it only covers everyday treatment and will not apply for specialist treatment at a hospital. Once the bill is paid, the patient must send the receipt to the insurer in order for them to be re-imbursed the cost of the treatment.
However, some types of treatment such as childbirth benefits and health checks might be excluded from the cash plan’s general coverage costs. In most cases, a cap will restrict how much money can be paid each year per policy.
Source by James H Hunt