• Michael Christensen

Medical insurance of advantages and disadvantages

As with any service there will be naturally be a range of advantages and disadvantages related to it, though this section will cover the advantages of taking out Private Medical Insurance.

Perhaps one of the best documented advantages of private medical care is the quicker access to treatment. As there is such a high demand for the NHS it can take longer to get access to treatment and so patients may opt for private medical insurance to avoid waiting lists.

On a related note, there are a range of specialist treatments that are made more readily accessible to patients as a result.

As such you will feel more reassured throughout your treatment.

You will gain access to treatment in a private medical facility, which means that you could benefit from an en-suite private room with facilities to make you feel more at home. These could include a television, internet access and more.

Greater choice. You will be able to choose when and where you will be treated, plus the consultant that will be treating you.

Related to the last point, the consultant you choose is more likely to be same throughout your treatment.

In addition to feeling more at home with the facilities provided in your room, you will also be able to have your family members close by.

People travel abroad for a wide variety of reasons and a consideration that is unlikely to be the first to come to mind concerns health problems during your time away. It is important that you think about this, however, as falling ill outside of the United Kingdom can turn into an expensive problem if you are not covered and this is why it is important to check whether or not you are covered before you make the journey out of the country.

In some cases your medical insurance provider will offer you some basic cover – sometimes for an additional fee - during your travels, but this is not always the case and some providers will not cover this at all. So you should be aware of your options well in advance, perhaps considering taking out a separate travel insurance policy ahead of your journey.

Another option is expatriate medical insurance. If you are leaving the country for an extended period of time – perhaps you are emigrating or are planning on working for some time in a foreign country – then this is a form of medical insurance that will ensure you are covered if you fall ill. What is and what is not included in expatriate insurance will vary from policy to policy and in some cases the United States can be excluded due to the high costs of medical treatment in that country (though, as ever, this is not always the case and you should naturally check this). There are, in fact, various forms of expatriate insurance and they will often cover similar areas as their domestic equivalents.

But that is not the final option. You should also take into account which country you are planning on visiting. If you are a resident of the UK, for example, then you are already entitled to health care if you are visiting a country that is within the European Union (EU) or within the European Economic Area (EEA), though you should check what you will still have to pay for if you need treatment. If you have a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) and have obtained basic travel insurance then you may find that these will cover you for many of your needs abroad, but once again this will vary depending on the level of cover, where you are travelling and what you think you might need the cover for.

So the considerations that you will need to take into account are similar to those that would have arisen concerning private medical insurance in the UK. So you will need to consider your budget and which level of cover/package is suitable to this, similarly considering how much money you are likely to have when you are out of the country. What exactly will you need the insurance for (illnesses, accidents etc.). Where are you travelling? What kind of things are you planning to do whilst there?

Some policies will remain the same no matter which country whilst others will alter depending on this, so this is another consideration. So it is important to do plenty of research, weigh up the facts and ensure that you are aware of the limitations of the cover you are looking at.

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