In 1948, the NHS was founded as a healthcare system for all citizens of the United Kingdom. Today, it is […]
The last two years showed the world that medical emergencies are unpredictable and cause significant pressures for frontline healthcare workers. In the UK, the NHS is still stretched to its limit, so it might be a good idea to look for other options for your medical treatment, such as insurance.
Many people have shifted towards private care, using insurance to cover their medical expenses. Despite the standard of care largely being the same across different providers, there are a number of considerations when you compare private health insurance. But today, we’ll focus on the general benefits of private health insurance – the ones that you can enjoy from any competent provider of private treatment.
Benefits of Private Health Insurance
Getting a health insurance plan for yourself and your family can provide added protection and convenience, especially when considering the current public health situation. We’ll be looking at nine advantages to help you weigh up the value proposition of private policies.
1. Shorter Wait Lists
The waiting period for doctor appointments, treatment and/or surgery is a key reason why people think about going private. We compared average waiting times in our article discussing the choice of NHS or private health insurance and many other criteria.
In short, many share the frustration of waiting lists caused by the underfunded public system and over-worked staff. But with health insurance, patients experience reduced ‘waiting for’ and ‘waiting in’ times at private hospitals with almost immediate access to their healthcare provider.
2. Specialist Therapies and Medicines
Private health services are directed less towards standardised healthcare provision. As a result, addressing the needs of an individual on a one-to-one basis ultimately leads to better patient outcomes and levels of satisfaction.
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence might not recommend certain drugs simply because they are too expensive. Since resources aren’t scarce, patients are presented with better access to non-standardised specialist assessment and treatment that is not based on cost but rather on effectiveness. Private health insurance coverage may also extend cover to benefits like new or alternative therapies.
3. Private Hospital Facilities
We talked about the best private hospitals in London in one of our previous articles. But it’s not only top-tier, royalty-level hospitals that have state-of-the-art equipment and high standards for patients’ experience.
There are an estimated 515 private hospitals in the UK, all with an excellent doctor-to-patient ratio. They also usually have a larger number of attentive staff per patient.
4. Private Room Stays
Private rooms are not necessarily better as far as medical services go, though they are more comfortable. The main differences are usually in terms of privacy and amenities. Private rooms tend to offer a very relaxing environment. Some types of health insurance even cover hotel-like services, such as multiple food options, toiletries, and Wi-Fi.
5. More Choice
On paper, you have the right to choose the hospital or service you’d like to go to with the NHS. You can also choose a clinical team and a leading consultant or named professional. But this also comes down to availability. Even if you have a preference, the request may not be fulfilled for weeks or months. Medical insurance encourages patient participation without crossing the line between choice and confusion.
6. Immediate Access to GPs
This links back to our point about shorter wait times with insurance. Too many patients go into a very narrow pipe, which the public system cannot handle. Private care streamlines the volume of appointments in general practice, bringing patients closer to tests, prescriptions, or referrals to specialists.
7. Longer Time Limit for Doctor Visits
While regulators and advocates are fighting to extend GP service from 10 to 15 minutes per appointment by 2030, private care is already past that issue. There aren’t specific limits, so the doctor won’t finish the appointment unless you receive the help you need. They have the time to consider the risks and benefits of recommended treatment, share what other support is available for your health problem, and answer your questions.
8. Full or Partial Cover for Private Treatment
If you decide to go for private treatment, the price differences with or without health insurance are astronomical.
The average health insurance cost is under £1,000 (for a 25-year-old with a comprehensive plan with £0 excess). For comparison, a CT scan costs £668 on average, and an all-inclusive treatment package starts from £1,750. Thus, health insurance might give you a huge leg-up when receiving any form of private care.
Health insurance gives you peace of mind and confidence that your issue will be addressed on short notice if you become ill. You will be able to access private healthcare whenever you need it and even get preventive care before there’s an issue. With the support, tools, and rewards to help with your health and wellbeing, you can relax knowing that you’re in the right hands.
UK residents are lucky to have free comprehensive healthcare from the NHS, but the system is far from perfect. Therefore, private health insurance is a great way to fast-track lengthy waits while also having a greater choice of where, when, and how you are treated.
Going private gives you freedom and control over your medical treatment. But it can also create additional confusion when deciding where to go and what type of health policy to choose. Take your time comparing providers to receive the best care available!