In a country where the NHS is at the forefront of medical treatment it can be easy to forget that there are actually other options out there for the average person. Just because we have a nationwide national health service that is available for all does not mean that there is no private alternative and whilst private health care cannot replace the NHS – indeed, it is there to stand alongside rather than to step into its shoes – it still provides a service to a large number of people in the country.
But how can we obtain private health care? For many the idea of paying for private treatment is something reserved for the rich and healthy but with health insurance anyone can get access to a variety of services offered by private health care. This is largely because of the different levels of cover provided by health insurers, which allow those with the means access to high end policies and those on a tight budget access to even the basic level of cover.
In most cases you will be presented with basic levels, mid-range level and high-end/premium level insurance policies and which option you choose will be based on a range of factors that do not just necessarily relate to cost. The important thing is that you carry out the relevant research and settle on a policy that is right for you.
The basic level of cover may also go by the name Core Cover or may even be referred to as the Budget Package. This is the cheapest form of cover and will generally cover items such as in-patient treatment and leave certain costs for the patient to pay when they actually require the treatment. As such the patient may be left to cover items such as X-Rays and other diagnostic tests, consultation charges and conditions that require outpatient treatment.
Of course all of this will depend on the policy at hand and as a result patients should carry out relevant research not only related to the level of cover they might require but also related to different policies and the insurers that provide them. Whilst a general package could include in-patient treatment, year-long cancer treatments, travel to the medical practice in an ambulance and more, there may be examples of basic policies that do not include them.
As one might expect the mid-range level of cover could often be called the standard package in that it features a cost relatively low compared to high-end policies whilst also offering a little bit more than the Basic Cover. So in addition to the services generally included in Basic Cover, Mid-Range Cover is also likely to include diagnostic tests, charges related to consultation and a variety of out-patient treatments.
On top of these there are also further areas that might be covered by the Mid-Range option and this will naturally vary from insurer to insurer. So make sure you look into the cover you are considering to work out if it includes accommodation costs and similar factors you might not have considered. Some mid-range covers also offer to cover dental expenses so this is also something to keep a look out for.
High End Policies
Finally we come to the comprehensive packages that are often known as High End Policies. As one might expect these offer the highest rates of medical insurance to cover you for private health care, not only in terms of cover but also in terms of price. So these policies would be for someone who wishes to obtain cover for the maximum spread of conditions, diagnoses and treatments. So expect these packages to cover the same areas as outlined in the previous examples and more.
Sometimes, mid-range covers may cover certain areas like accommodation or ambulance use but with a limit and this is where high-end policies may come in handy in that they might offer unlimited cover in these instances. Of course, as ever, this is something to clarify with a specific policy provider and is not simply an area that a patient should take for granted is included.
Don’t forget that these are only examples. Not only will there be levels of cover similar to those outlined above but with certain key differences, there are also examples of patients tailoring a policy to suit their own needs, so a custom policy could come into play. This is where the patient picks and chooses what is included and as ever will depend on the insurer at hand.