Private medical insurance vs the NHS: Pros + Cons

What are the advantages of PMI over the NHS?

In the UK, the National Health Service (NHS) will take care of your medical issues very well, but there are long waiting lists. Sometimes it takes years to receive the inpatient care you need from the NHS. Private health insurance (PMI) solves this problem by allowing immediate medical attention. It requires making payments on premiums every month, and many people cannot afford it. Premiums for PMI can be expensive, but there are ways to reduce the cost, and it has become affordable for many people.

Advantages of PMI over NHS

The main advantage of PMI over NHS is the waiting time. It is always good to get the medical help you need in a timely fashion to avoid the illness becoming worse. The service provided by the NHS is excellent, but it may not come when you need it most. Having private medical insurance means there is no waiting time for medical consultation, tests or treatment for short-term, curable medical problems. However, for very serious illnesses the waiting time may be the same.

Most companies that offer PMI also offer a 24 hour help line. If you feel worried about a health issue for you or a family member, someone on the help line can hear your problem and offer advice about any medical treatment you may need. However, PMI does not replace every NHS service. It doesn’t cover emergency treatments and accidents.

Private medical insurance also ensures that you will have a comfortable room in hospital. You will get a private room most likely with a TV and other amenities that will not be provided in an NHS hospital room. Some people get PMI for that reason. However, you could also be a private patient in an NHS hospital. There is also the small possibility you could be in an NHS ward.

With PMI, you will be able to choose the time and date of a doctor’s appointment or stay in hospital. Sometimes it may be urgent that you get to the hospital, but if it isn’t, you can plan around your days off. You can also choose the location of your appointment, which makes it even more convenient.

The Basic PMI Coverage

• A private room in hospital
• Nursing and medical care
• Operating theatre fees
• Any costs that arise because of complications with the procedure
• Prescription drugs and dressings needed during and after treatment

Benefits for the Whole Family

Family private medical insurance also has several benefits that are not available with the NHS. Accommodation for parents in the hospital when a child is sick is one of the main benefits. It is very stressful for a child to be in a strange place and undergo treatments, and having a parent nearby all the time can make all the difference.

Family plans also offer routine optical and dental check-ups. This can save a family a lot in the long run, because the eyes and teeth need to be regularly checked and most children need some dental treatment.

Other benefits for families are the option to include homeopathy, osteopathy, oral surgery, home nursing and the use of a private ambulance.

How to Reduce the Cost of PMI?

If you think PMI is right for you and your family, you should take the time to research the different possible plans that can make the premiums cheaper. The cost of the premium will depend on the type of coverage you select. It will also depend on the state of your health and if you smoke or have smoked in the last 12 months. Several ways to reduce the cost of PMI are:

Have an excess. The more excess you can afford to pay, the lower your monthly payments will be. This means when you are hospitalised, you pay a certain pre-agreed amount on your bill, and the insurance company will pay the rest for the whole premium year. If you pay 250 pounds excess, your premiums will be about 10 per cent cheaper. You will have to pay the excess again when the next premium year starts.

Select the six week wait option. This means that you agree to use NHS if the waiting time for NHS service is less than six weeks. If it is more, you will receive private care immediately. This is a good option, because most NHS waiting lists are much more than six weeks. This option can reduce your premium by about 20 per cent.

Reduce the number of hospitals where you agree to have treatment. With some plans, a reduced hospital list means you can select hospitals that are not in London or that are within a certain radius of where you live. A reduced list also means you are willing to have treatment in a private ward of an NHS hospital. This may also give you a 20 per cent reduction on your premium.

The main advantage of private medical insurance over NHS is the waiting time. Another important advantage is that surgery can be performed immediately. You will also choose the specialist you need, and they will be your doctor throughout your treatments. You may also have access to medical techniques that are not available on the NHS.

Private medical insurance is generally better for acute illnesses that can be cured relatively quickly. It will not usually cover pre-existing and chronic conditions such as asthma. In general, a combination of PMI and NHS is considered a good option, as PMI is not seen as a replacement for NHS.

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