Private Medical Insurance: COVID – 19

We’re lucky enough in the UK to have the NHS, which provides free healthcare at the point of need. But, due to Coronavirus, the NHS waiting list is set to hit 10m people by Christmas and many non-urgent procedures are now seeing a very long wait. Therefore, it is important that people understand all of their options.

Surprisingly, the spread of Coronavirus has NOT resulted in major changes to the availability or cost of private health insurance.

Private hospitals face less demand than the NHS. New data from PHIN in June ‘20 shows the pandemic has led to an estimated 84% drop in privately funded care. The type of private treatments delivered during the pandemic has also changed significantly, with medical oncology becoming the largest single specialty performed, making up an estimated 63% of all privately funded admissions in May 2020. Private healthcare is typically able to deliver treatment much more speedily and at a time to suit your needs. Private health insurance is, therefore, one means of fast-tracking lengthy waits and can be cheaper than you think.

Millions of people in the UK are covered by some form of private health insurance – also known as private medical insurance, or PMI. But what is it and how does it work? At its most basic, private health insurance pays out for private treatment if you fall ill. The product is designed to pay for private treatment of medical conditions that respond quickly to treatment (usually called ‘acute’ conditions), as well as elective surgery and medical tests.

Like many other types of insurance, the costs of private health insurance vary depending on your circumstances and the specifics of the cover bought. Similarly, where you live can have an effect on costs of treatment – and consequently, on the premium you’ll pay. Premiums also inevitably rise with age and for those with pre-existing conditions and/or previous claims.

Please note that private health insurance doesn’t cover you for everything and differs from provider to provider. Anyone considering taking out private health insurance should be aware that it will be of limited assistance if they catch Coronavirus, as all treatment is being led by the NHS.