Individual Health Insurance: How to Choose a Medical Policy for Yourself
Many people look for individual health insurance because, with long waiting lists and over-stretched medical resources, it can take a lot of the hassle and stress out of the equation.
When thinking about individual health insurance the first thing you need to do is ask yourself if you are sure you only want to cover yourself. Many people are surprised to find they can take out family health insurance without paying much more premium-wise.
However, if you come to the conclusion that you only require coverage for yourself, then you need to consider the type of cover you need and find the policies that cater for your requirements.
Individual health insurance can enable you to have access to a wide range of specialists and treatment centres promptly, as and when you require it. Often this means you will require less recuperation time than what you may otherwise have required and, if you are an employed person, you will be able to get back to work more quickly.
With individual health insurance policies, as with many other policies, you may choose just to see a specialist quickly and then claim for any medical costs incurred during private treatment. Alternatively, you can receive the lump sum and await your treatment through the NHS without jumping any waiting lists; in the meantime you can use the cash payment to help towards your living expenses whilst you wait for your treatment.
The tips below will help you go about selecting a policy that meets your needs:
- Consider the type of individual health insurance cover you require and think about any particular conditions you wish to be covered against;
- Be realistic about how much you can afford to pay for your cover and decide if you want to pay it as a lump sum or monthly by direct debit. Some insurance providers give discounted rates to customers depending on the method of payment they choose, so it's worth asking if this is the case with any providers you are considering;
- Read through any insurance policies you are thinking about and carefully examine all their terms and conditions, paying particular note to any exclusions that may apply;
- Be sure to find out what insurance cover will be provided for pre-exisitng health problems; some insurers specify a that you must be symptom-free for a certain period of time before they will cover named conditions and for some illnesses they may not provide cover at all. Always enquire if there an option to pay a higher premium for extra cover if you think you will need it;
- Ask around your family, friends and work colleagues for personal recommendations. Enquire as to whether particular insurers paid out, whether any problems were encountered during the claims period and if the insurer responded promptly and efficiently or offered any assistance if required.
- Try searching for your insurance on online insurance comparison sites to find competitive policy rates or, if possible, try to make time to speak to an independent insurance adviser before going ahead with any health insurance policies. Independent advisers can often be aware of insurance plans that are not very well publicised and, as a result, you may have access to a better value individual health insurance plan.
- Do not rush into taking out a plan before checking it thoroughly to ensure you are getting everything you require and don't always go for the cheapest plan available. When comparing policies try to compare like-for-like.
A lot of insurers will tie you into your policy once the legal cooling off period has expired and if you then decide to cancel you may not receive all of your premiums back and you may also face additional cancellation costs.
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