9 Reasons To Take Out Medical Insurance in the UK Updated for 2024

Updated: 26/06/2024

Medical Insurance for Individuals in the UK

Everyone residing in the UK is entitled to free healthcare under the National Health Service (NHS). However, many people choose to take out Medical Insurance instead.

This is a good option if you want faster access to specialists, better facilities, and shorter waiting times for treatment. This is further explained in another of our articles titled “Private Medical Insurance – Is it needed in the UK“, which should hopefully be helpful to you.

Please read on to find our 9 Reasons To Take Out Medical Insurance in the UK.

Medical Insurance Quotes and Providers

If you are employed, check out whether your employer has enrolled you into a company Medical Insurance scheme, as sometimes this is offered in your employment terms. Otherwise; there are many companies that provide Medical insurance in the UK, such as BUPA, AVIVA, or The Nuffield Trust to name but a few.

1. Cover for emergencies

The NHS provides emergency care in hospital accident and emergency departments, which are open 24 hours a day. You can also call 999 to receive ambulance treatment in emergencies.

The NHS uses General Practitioners (GPs) to offer primary care and refers you to hospitals for more specialist treatment. You can also have eye tests, dental care, prescriptions, and many other aspects of personal healthcare if you want them, but usually, the time scale is the issue.

Long waiting lists and constant cancellations of appointments tend to drive some people towards using their Medical Insurance to get faster access to specialist care and avoid long waiting times. This is particularly important if you have an urgent condition or need a specialist referral.

2. Cover for routine care

As already mentioned, anyone living in the UK is entitled to free NHS care, with a few exceptions. Citizens of Commonwealth countries and those with European health insurance cards are also eligible for limited emergency cover.

For those looking to supplement the public triumvirate of free, subsidized, and tax-only healthcare coverage, there are a variety of private medical insurance products that cover a broad range of benefits from routine care to cutting-edge technology and state-of-the-art facilities.

It’s a good idea to compare the different policies on offer, as well as their individual benefits, to find the best cover for your needs and budget.

The most important thing though is to remember that if you’re unsure about the coverage options available, it’s always better to speak with a qualified insurance adviser before making a final decision.

The right policy can ensure you have peace of mind knowing that you’ll be covered should the unexpected occur.

3. Cover for specialist care

The NHS is obviously the flagship of a diversified healthcare system. This includes the large public sector, which provides most of the nation’s primary care, and a relatively small private sector for specialist referrals.

The largest and most complex of these sectors is the supplementary VHI sector, also known as Private Medical Insurance (PMI), which provides insured access to privately delivered care that is often faster and more comfortable than what’s available via the NHS.

Despite its burgeoning popularity, PMI is not without its drawbacks.

These include higher premiums and less control over provider charging. Moreover, PMI is not suitable for all needs and most consumers will be better off with a more comprehensive package of cover.

As with all insurance products, the right choice for your needs will depend on your personal circumstances and budget.

4. Cover for pre-existing conditions

Healthcare in the UK is financed by a variety of sources: government funding to the National Health Service (NHS), tax-funded private insurance, and voluntary provision. The majority of care is provided through the NHS, which provides free treatment for everyone.

The NHS is primarily responsible for primary care through General Practitioners, but also for referrals to specialists, hospital services, and Accident & Emergency departments. Medical Insurance in the UK can help to fund these costs, allowing patients to access more specialist care when necessary.

Most insurers exclude cover for pre-existing conditions on the basis that they are unlikely to respond to treatment. These conditions are also excluded because they can cause the individual to alter their behaviour in ways that increase the cost to the insurer.

These exclusions are sometimes used to avoid adverse selection problems, but they also constrict the choices within Medical Insurance policies that the consumer has available to them.

5. Cover for maternity care

The NHS is available for Maternity Care and does a very good job. They have well-trained medical staff, but the issue sometimes lies with the availability of beds in maternity wards. This can lead to individuals with a birth plan, seeking Medical Insurance to make sure they have everything they have planned for.

6. Cover for dental care

Free Dental Care vs. Private Care

Dentistry in the UK is extremely expensive, but free dental care is provided by the NHS if you are under 18, enrolled in full-time school, pregnant, just gave birth, or on a low-income benefit, or are a dependent of someone who is.

All of the treatments you may need for your oral health are available on the National Health Service (NHS), including routine check-ups, x-rays, fillings, crowns, and bridges.

A majority of those who attend a dentist for any of the above and are not in the categories stated will have to pay a subsidized fee. Added to this, many people are starting to choose to go for private care in order to avoid long waiting times.

This has led to a rise in the number of dentists refusing to accept new patients on the NHS.

There is the possibility that you could get a specialized loan to help pay for your dental care, but it would be more sensible to make sure it is covered by your Medical Insurance policy.

9 Reasons To Take Out Medical Insurance in the UK

7. Cover for optical care

It’s important to note that medical insurance does not cover eye exams or glasses. Instead, you must purchase vision insurance in addition to your medical coverage.

The latter can offer a number of benefits, including access to low-cost eyeglasses and contact lenses.

This is a great way to help ensure you have the best possible vision, regardless of your financial situation. Moreover, it’s always a good idea to consult your doctor when making a decision on which insurance plan is right for you.

8. Cover for physiotherapy

A physiotherapist is a health professional who treats disease, injury, and disability through physical methods like massage, joint manipulation, and other techniques outside of drugs or surgery. They help people to manage pain and stay mobile and independent as long as possible.

Physiotherapy is a key component of the National Health Service, and it’s available to anyone who has a referral from their doctor. You can also get it at private clinics and through home-care services.

Physiotherapy can be used to treat back pain, sudden injuries, and long-term medical conditions. It can also help people prepare for childbirth or sporting events.

It is available but be prepared for a long wait for an appointment. Make sure this is covered on your Medical Insurance policy if you have one or are thinking of taking one out.

9. Cover for rehabilitation

The UK has a large number of drug and alcohol treatment centres and rehab programs that can help people recover from substance abuse. These range from medication-assisted treatments to residential detox and rehab programs, support groups, and therapeutic sessions.

The NHS offers addiction treatment programs through GPs and local drug centres, as well as harm reduction services. Those with severe or complicated substance use disorders may be referred to a residential drug and alcohol rehab program for more intensive care.

Most residential rehab programs are not covered by the NHS, but private health insurance can help fund residential detox and rehab for those who qualify.

However, you should check your policy carefully to ensure that it covers the treatment programme you choose and if there are any restrictions on the cover. For example, your insurance may only pay for a 28-day programme or longer.


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