10 Tips for choosing the most appropriate
Choosing the most suitable health insurance policy is extremely important as
prices, product features and benefits can vary.
The following top 10 tips have been designed to help guide you through the
process, so you can be confident in your final decision.
Tip 1 - PMI or Cash Plans?
• Private Medical Insurance (PMI) grants fast-track access to a number of
health care facilities and medical procedures, typically where your
problem or condition is both curable and short-term. You will typically
need to answer a medical questionnaire in order to get a policy;
• Cash Plans cover the everyday day costs of healthcare such as dentist,
chiropractic or opticians costs – typically reimbursing you (up to a set
limit) for all or some of these costs. No medical is required;
• People often buy the two products together, to give them all round
protection and peace of mind.
Tip 2 - Is PMI suitable for you?
Health insurance is aimed at anyone who gives priority to caring for
their health in a way that uses not only the best of the publicly funded
NHS but also their own contribution to a private medical health
There are 3 principal aims of private health insurance:
• Speed – aimed at those who want the comfort and reassurance of
being able to avoid NHS waiting lists;
• Choice – aimed towards those who want to exercise greater choice
in the health care facilities used and professionals consulted; and
• The general quality of facilities – typically, this is likely to include a
more comfortable, private ward and, often, the provision of
hospitals and clinics purpose designed for the treatment of private
Tip 3 - Don’t put it off
• The earlier the age at which you start your private medical health plan, the
more effective and wide ranging you are likely to find its benefits;
• You are almost certain to have far fewer pre-existing medical conditions,
for instance, making your insurance easier to obtain and at a lower
• Although premiums typically increase the older you become, the
increment applied is likely to be lower in the absence of any claims.
Tip 4 - Know the different products and
The ways in which different policies may vary, include the following:
• The range of medical conditions or illnesses covered – effectively, a choice
between more basic cover for only those medical problems about which
you are most concerned, or a full comprehensive policy;
• Whether there is any upper limit on the amount the insurer pays out for
• The amount of any compulsory excess and any additional voluntary excess
to which agree; and
• The qualifying period after which you may make a claim under your policy.
Tip 5 – Know the policy terms and conditions
• Benefits vary and what conditions are covered by one PMI policy may not
be covered under another. Therefore it is imperative you check exactly
what conditions are included within your policy;
• Different insurers may also offer choices between your use of entirely
private hospitals or private wards or facilities in NHS hospitals;
• Some insurance plans require you to pay for any medical consultation or
treatment first before claiming reimbursement under the terms of your
policy. It might be important to consider, therefore, whether you are likely
to have access to the necessary funds in the first instance.
Tip 6 - What is excluded?
• Some conditions may be excluded from the cover, such as pregnancy, self-
inflicted injuries and illness due to alcohol and substance abuse;
• Pre-existing conditions are typically excluded;
• Check your policy wording carefully to ensure you understand, and agree
to, the policy exclusions.
Tip 7 - Pre-existing medical conditions
• If you have a pre-existing medical condition, or have had recent treatment
for something, it is important that you tell your insurer;
• If you don’t, in the event of a claim, it could be rejected (even if the
condition you are claiming for has nothing to do with your pre-existing
Tip 8 - Ways to get more cost-effective cover
There are ways that you can influence the cost of your cover.
• Opt for a higher voluntary excess - this is the first part of any successful
claim you are liable for. Do make sure that you will be able to comfortably
afford the excess amount in the event of a claim;
• Some insurers reward a healthier lifestyle with lower premiums, so give up
smoking, keep within the recommended alcohol limits, and tell your
• Opt for a policy where, if you are not seen on the NHS within 6 weeks,
then the PMI kicks in.
Tip 9 - Compare, compare, compare
There are a lot of plans out there – meaning a lot of choice and the chance for
you to cherry pick the PMI plan that most suits your needs and your budget.
• Visit health insurance comparison sites to get an idea of the different
options available, as well as the differing prices;
• This will give you a good overview of policy types, how policies can be
tailored to meet your own needs, and differing policy features and
• Don’t forget to look at any exclusions, too.
When looking at comparison sites, do note that not all health insurance
providers will be featured on these sites. This means that while you are not
getting a whole of the market overview, you will be getting a very good idea
of the types of products available.
Tip 10 - Know where to buy your cover
Once you have done this, you can then choose your ideal policy. You can do
this either by:
• Visiting one of the providers via the comparison site;
• Going direct to a health insurance provider;
• Using the services of specialist broker.
• To ensure you get a health insurance policy that suits your requirements
and your budget, shop around and compare;
• Over50choices can help you review and compare the UK’s leading private
medical insurance policies plus gives you access to free independent
• Visit www.over50choices.co.uk