What is Private Medical Insurance?

Medical insurance is designed to cover the costs of private treatment for medical conditions that arise after your policy begins. It usually covers all types of diagnostics – including scans and X-rays – to investigate the disease, illness or injury, and then provides the best possible treatment. A vast range of operations are commonly performed, including hip replacements and knee surgery.

There are several types of medical insurance policy. You can buy individual cover for yourself, or joint schemes which cover you and your partner; there are children’s policies, and family schemes which include everyone. In general terms, medical insurance will be cheaper when you are younger, and will become more expensive as you get older and more likely to need medical treatment. A non-smoker will benefit from lower premiums than a smoker, and in some cases an individual who can demonstrate that he goes to the gym four times a week, can also get a better deal. But the cost can vary enormously depending on the level of cover required.

Do I need it?

Private medical insurance provides swift, high-quality care in comfortable surroundings, and may be right for you if you do not wish to risk getting stuck on long NHS waiting lists for non-urgent treatment. It also gives you more choice as to which specialist consultants and surgeons treat you, and more flexibility as to when that treatment takes place. Some people may already be covered through workplace schemes. If not, medical insurance need not be expensive – although the more comprehensive policies will inevitably cost more – and it represents a good investment if you can afford it, and seek the additional peace of mind it can bring.