NHS v. Private Healthcare
‘Why pay for private health insurance when you can get treatment on the NHS?’ you may ask. To answer this question we have to look at the vast differences between the NHS and private health insurance companies.
Although NHS waiting lists have improved in recent years, the level of service relies on public spending. Therefore, if a particular Government decides to cut back on public spending, waiting times could deteriorate. The NHS is also increasingly under financial pressure for several reasons. One of these is that the population is escalating, and in particular the number of older people is rising as life expectancy increases. An added pressure is down to medical advances as new drugs and breakthrough treatments can be very costly.
NHS under Pressure
As financial pressure increases within the NHS, this may mean that prescription charges will continue to rise in order to meet the added expense. Alternatively, many more drugs will become unavailable on prescription because of the high costs involved. There are currently some drugs that can only be obtained privately for these reasons.
Because private health insurance is funded privately, more money is ploughed into employing the numbers of staff necessary to ensure a good level of care. Some people may have concerns that doctors in private hospitals are not as well qualified as those in the NHS. However, many of those health professionals have been trained by the NHS, and some work for the NHS as well as for the private sector. Furthermore, private hospitals carry out the same staff checks as the NHS does, the staff also have to operate within set guidelines and policies, and private hospitals are regulated by the Care Quality Commission. The main difference relating to staff is that with private health care there is a larger number of staff per patient.
Levels of Care and Cleanliness
Additionally, there are concerns in the media continually regarding the levels of care and cleanliness in NHS hospitals. Stories about people contracting superbugs whilst in hospital are of particular concern. Private hospitals have to remain competitive in order to attract customers. Therefore they are more likely to focus on things that matter to customers like as hygiene and patient consideration. As such, private hospitals have a much better reputation than the NHS in these areas.
Apart from health insurance policies to take care of you or your family in the event of major illness, many health insurance companies offer cash plans to take care of day to day medical expenses. This is very useful for dental or optical fees, for example, which can work out very expensive and are not covered by the NHS.
There is an increasing trend for medical insurance companies to offer incentives, which help to reduce premiums. This means that private health insurance becomes more affordable for everybody. The incentives include No Claims Discounts and fitness schemes whereby you receive a discount off your insurance premium for improving your health. Health insurance companies usually have guidelines as to what you have to do to qualify for these discounts and it can involve, for example, joining a gym or giving up smoking.
It is best to take out private medical insurance before you become ill. If you are diagnosed with a serious illness and then decide to go private, you will not be covered for that condition, and it will prove very expensive without a private health insurance plan in place.
To obtain a free quote for private health insurance from one of our many providers, please fill in the online form. We will then contact you to give you details of the affordable health insurance policies that we have available.