As we get older, so the likelihood grows of us developing medical conditions. And while the most serious conditions are usually best dealt with within the NHS, the waiting lists associated with some procedures can make the concept of private medical healthcare highly appealing – especially as this will allow you to undergo the procedure at a time and in a hospital of your choosing.
Going down this route may also offer the opportunity to access drugs and treatments not necessarily available on the NHS.
Anyone can pay for this care at the time… or you might prefer to hedge your bets and take out health insurance (also known as private medical insurance – “PMI”).
Go onto any of the comparison websites as well as the well-known providers of private healthcare and you will have a large choice of policies to choose from. But do read the small print very carefully: while the premiums will inevitably rise with your age, the conditions they will cover will also vary considerably, as will their exclusion caveats if you have pre-existing conditions.
If, indeed, you do have a pre-existing medical condition, your best option may well be “full medical underwriting”, which will require you to fill out a detailed medical questionnaire. It will stipulate what will and won’t be covered based on your medical history – and do be aware that if you don’t provide full disclosure of any health problems, you may have problems later on making a claim.
The alternative, especially for those who may be in a better state of health, is “moratorium underwriting” – this is normally cheaper and the disclosures will be restricted to general questions about your health and lifestyle. If you have had any medical conditions in the last few years, these would normally be excluded for treatment.
How affordable will health insurance be for you?
Not only will premiums will rise with age, but some insurance providers will actually have upper age limits. That means there may come a point when you look at the premiums being quoted that you may need to consider ways to make it more affordable.
Ways to trim the premiums can include accepting a higher excess or to pay a proportion of the costs, agreeing to be treated by the NHS if that can be arranged within a reasonable timeframe, opting out of some of the outpatient elements of the cover, and limiting your choice of hospital where you would receive treatment.
Shopping around is critical to get the best deal, but equally critical is for you to get the right cover for your needs and budget – and that means reading the small print.
And making sure that you can afford the premiums in the years ahead? That’s simple – just key in the figures into your personal RetireEasy “LifePlan”!