There are many different kinds of health insurance but essentially they cover the need to pay for medical treatment, surgery or check-ups.
In return for premiums you can buy various levels of health protection which could, in their very basic form, cover you if you need to pay for dental treatment. Or, by purchasing a more comprehensive policy, it could pay for all your medical needs.
Many businesses provide health insurance for their employees as part of their benefits package. However, people can also take out personal policies for themselves and their family.
What does it cover?
Different health insurance policies cover different areas depending on the insurer and how much the policyholder is willing to pay.
Medical insurance, or private health insurance, provides cover to allow the policyholder to receive immediate treatment for an illness or injury at a private hospital with a consultant of their choice.
You can also purchase disability insurance which covers you in case, through a disability, you become unable to work. It will cover you for loss of income. This type of cover is also a feature in income protection and accident, sickness and unemployment (ASU) insurance which pay out in the event you become too ill to work.
Group health insurance is usually provided by businesses for their employees and provides fast treatment and sometimes it covers for loss of income for a specified period.
Dental insurance plans are also becoming extremely popular as NHS dentists become a rarity. They can cover treatment you have to have – emergency or otherwise – and also regular check-ups.
Who is Health Insurance for?
Health insurance is designed for anyone who wants more choice over their healthcare. They can cover individuals, partners or families.
Many people receive their health insurance via their employer, a benefit that many businesses see as a long-term investment in their staff.
Pitfalls of Health Insurance
As with many insurance products there is usually a list of exclusions in health plans. These are illness, incidents or circumstances which are not covered by the policy. The most common is associated with pre-existing conditions – many insurers will not allow you to claim for treatment for an illness you’ve had before taking out the policy.
Other exclusions can relate to chronic conditions, or those which are permanent. And many insurers will refuse to pay out for cosmetic work. Many dental health plans will not include treatment for routine dental work.
Insurers take into consideration your age, health, medical history and factors such as whether you are a smoker when providing a policy. Premiums usually rise as you become older and being a smoker, for example, could increase the cost of a policy too.
If you need to make a claim on your insurance plan your premiums are likely to rise.
Check group health insurance plans carefully. While some might provide cover for you and your partner, the list of treatments they pay out for might be limited.
Where to buy Health Insurance
Most people assume that the more comprehensive the health policy is, the more it will cost. While this is true in essence, it is also important to remember the market is very competitive. So if you do want a policy which covers a broad area you can still shop around and get yourself a lower premium.