HEALTH INSURANCE | BUYING | THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW
How to reduce the cost of your health insurance
Thousands of people are currently overpaying for health insurance: could you reduce yours?
If you’ve got private health insurance, you already recognise the importance of having prompt, high-quality healthcare.
Which is great.
But that doesn’t mean that you want to pay the earth for that cover – who in their right mind would?
Unfortunately, a lot of the people in the UK currently paying for private health insurance are paying over the odds.
Often it’s because they don’t have a policy that’s entirely suitable for them, or the market has changed since they signed up, leaving them with a bigger bill than is strictly necessary.
But whatever the reason, it’s not something that most people are willing to live with: after all, why pay more than you need to?
With that in mind, we’ve put together some straightforward things you can do to get your private medical insurance premium down as low as possible.
Introduce a “wait” option
Lots of more modern insurance policies offer a “wait” option, and if you’re able to access a plan that includes it, it can have a significant impact on your premium.
Essentially, having a wait option in your premium means that if you’re able to receive NHS treatment within a defined period – say 4 or 6 weeks – then you’ll have the procedure on the NHS.
If the waiting list is longer than that, then your insurance company will pay out, and you’ll be able to have it done privately.
If your primary reason for having health insurance is to avoid waiting a long time for treatment, then having a wait option safeguards against that option, while reducing your premium.
Just to be clear, if you’ve got outpatient cover on your premium for things like consultations, tests and scans where you don’t need to stay in a hospital, you’ll still get all of that privately. Your wait time will apply only to inpatient treatment that requires a bed in a hospital.
Adjust your level of outpatient cover
Most private medical insurance premiums completely cover “inpatient” treatment, which means procedures that requires you to spend time in hospital.
The significant variable is “outpatient” cover – consultations, tests, scans and other appointments where you don’t need to stay in hospital.
Most healthcare providers do their best to minimise inpatient treatment, which means the risk from the underwriters perspective is much lower when insuring for inpatient treatment.
By contrast, with outpatient treatment - where claims are much more likely, and also more common - is a much more significant risk – the chance of the insurer having to pay out is higher, and consequently, the premium is too.
Generally, most insurers will give you three options when it comes to outpatient treatment:
- No outpatient treatment
- Full outpatient treatment
- A monetary limit on outpatient treatment
As you’d expect, if you have full outpatient treatment included in your policy, it’ll cost you more than if you have a monetary limit on outpatient procedures, and likewise, a plan with a monetary limit will be more expensive than no outpatient cover at all.
It’s worth checking your policy, understanding what level of outpatient cover you have, and asking whether what you have is necessary – if it’s not, you’ll be able to shave money off your premium.
Reconsider any “additional benefits.”
Your policy is likely to offer a standard hospital list – it’ll give you a wide range of hospitals around the country where you can get treatment.
However, that list isn’t fixed – you can increase or reduce your list, based on your needs.
And as you’d expect, when you reduce the list, you’ll probably see that cover can come down, as the potential cost to the insurer is easier to quantify.
Talk to an advisor
If you didn’t speak to an advisor when you took out your private medical insurance, there’s a very strong chance that you’re overpaying.
Advisors are not ‘salespeople’, but rather trained insurance advisors, whose role is to get you the best possible policy for your circumstances.
They have access to a broader range of policies than you’ll see on the Internet and can find cost savings that price comparison websites aren’t able to.
If you’d like to talk to an advisor, click HERE and we’ll put you in touch with one within the Sustainable Healthcare network.
Is it time to recalculate your health insurance premium?
Hopefully, you’ve found this article useful, and it’ll help you to make smart decisions when it comes to your medical insurance.