Joint Health Insurance
Protecting your health...
Private Health Insurance pays for treatment in private medical facilities. The scope of the cover provided can vary considerably depending on what options you select.
Most joint plans will cover inpatient and day patient treatment in full which means that you would be covered for treatment, testing and consultations where a hospital bed is required either overnight or just for the day.
To cover initial consultations and diagnostic testing where a hospital bed is not required a level of outpatient cover will need to be selected. This is recommended to avoid NHS outpatient waiting lists.
The level of cover and type of treatment required will determine the exact process but the main variation depends on whether the policy includes outpatient cover.
No Outpatient Cover
With Outpatient Cover
Without any outpatient cover you run the risk of having to go through the NHS outpatient waiting list for diagnostic testing and initial consultations.
Do we need
Although the NHS does a brilliant job with limited resources, thousands of couples in the UK have decided they would rather be treated privately.
Should we go private?
Those with private healthcare cover benefit from speedier diagnosis and treatment, the highest quality care, lower infection risks, private rooms with internet access and round the clock visiting times.
Health Insurance is particularly popular with business people and the self-employed who need to return to work as quickly as possible and retired couples where NHS waiting times for orthopaedic treatment has traditionally been one of the longest.
1. Choose the level of Outpatient CoverAlthough the level of outpatient cover makes a sizable difference to the premiums it does ensure that initial consultations and testing can be done privately.
2. Cancer CoverA popular option is to upgrade the policy so there is no time limit for the provision of biological cancer drugs (some plans have a standard limit of 12 months).
3. Therapies CoverIt is common for plans to cover therapies (such as physio) up to the outpatient limit, although GP referred therapies are an additional option with some providers.
Whether as a couple you are considering a new joint private medical insurance plan or looking to consolidate your existing arrangements there are a number of options available and points to consider.
Why opt for joint cover?
Medical insurance for couples is no different to two individual plans it simply combines the administration and places cover for both individuals under one policy number with one monthly premium.
Key policy factors still include the level of outpatient cover provided, excess and additional benefits such as alternative therapies. With joint health cover in place should you want to start a family it is very easy to add children to the policy creating a family health insurance plan.
Although both individuals are covered under one policy each still has their own benefit limits and excess.
Low cost option
As with a personal plan, a basic joint plan is likely to cover both members in full for any inpatient treatment while may provide no outpatient cover or limit outpatient cover to that which is necessary following an inpatient stay.
Mid range and premium options
As with the basic option inpatient treatment will tend to be covered in full, a mid range option may provide a limited level of outpatient treatment often around £1,000 per policyholder per annum. It is important to recognise this benefit limit is per person.
As with the benefit limits being set-up per person, excesses and other benefit limits are set up in the same manner. We need worry less about the structure of a comprehensive plan as both inpatient and outpatient treatment will be covered in full for both members.
Many are familiar with an excess as you would find on your car or home insurance policy, the excess tends to be a set monetary amount such as £100, this is the figure the policy holder would have to pay towards treatment required in that policy year. With most insurers the excess is a one off payment per annum rather than per claim.
It is also important to check the insurers policy terms to confirm whether your joint health insurance policy has a per person excess rather than a per policy excess. Most joint medical plans have a per person excess which means if both individuals require treatment in the policy year the excess would need to be paid twice, once for each member.
An additional option available on many of the core products, this provides policy members with access to treatments such as physiotherapy, osteopathy and homeopathy privately covered by the insurance plan.
Psychiatric treatment can be very costly and as such many insurers offer an option to bolt on cover for both inpatient and outpatient psychiatric cover.
Six week wait option
As an option this is less well known but has over the past 20 years or so been a solution to offering a more affordable private medical insurance solution.
By selecting the six week wait option you are agreeing to use the NHS should the waiting list for your treatment be less than six weeks. However if the waiting list for your treatment is more than six weeks you are eligible with your health cover to receive treatment privately immediately.
As with any person choosing a health insurance plan it is important to check the insurer's hospital network list and ensure hospitals in your area where you expect to receive treatment should you require are within the network of available hospitals.
Given the rapidly increasing cost of providing treatment at many of the more exclusive and London based hospitals it often pays should you not expect to use these hospitals to consider hospital lists which may exclude these from the cover.
As with any form of health insurance there are many insurers offering a range of products, each with its own nuances. If you require some guidance, further information or quotes from the leading insurers please do not hesitate to give us a call or pop us an email, at the end of the day we are here to help.
10/01/2015 N Tanner
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