In Britain we have the NHS which effectively means that everyone already has health insurance, with free care at the point of delivery. But it’s additionally possible to pay for private health insurance through a range of different providers. Many people choose to take out medical insurance every year for a wide variety of reasons.
It might be the case that you’re interested in the idea of health insurance but you’re not sure whether you need it, or whether it will have any benefit for you. Here, Dakota Murphey looks at five key reasons why you might like to invest in health insurance.
One of the most common reasons you might need health insurance is if you work for yourself. This is because if you are self-employed, you are entirely dependent on your ability to work for your income. Employed people have protections where if they need to go into hospital they can take statutory sick pay, or even take the time as paid holiday if they don’t want to lose any wages.
For self-employed people it can therefore be extremely important to get well as soon as possible. So if you need an operation, rather than having to go on a waiting list with the NHS, you can get it performed as soon as possible and be back to work. Experienced provider Flexible Health even offers specialist health insurance which combines aspects including income protection, critical illness cover and life insurance. When you’re self-employed, you need to ensure that you are completely protected no matter what comes your way.
You want to choose your own surgeon and hospital
If you use NHS services and require an operation you will be assigned to a hospital and surgeon without any choice in the matter. For many people this is completely fine as all NHS doctors are held to a very standard. However, if you prefer to take a more active role in decisions about your health you may wish to choose a different hospital or a specific surgeon.
Taking out health insurance means that you will always have the final say in the hospital where you want to be treated as well as the surgeons that treat you.
You like the versatility of a second opinion
If you are taken ill and use the NHS you will see a doctor who will assess your situation and recommend treatment. It may be the case that you feel that you would like a second opinion on this situation, but at this point your only option would be to pay privately for that second opinion. The difficulty then occurs that if you take that opinion and want the treatment you will have to pay for it outright. Taking out health insurance means that you will be covered for the private treatment you are interested in.
You want your own room
When you have treatment on the NHS you will often need to stay in hospital either overnight or for several days. During this time you’ll have to stay in a ward, usually with a number of other people getting treatment. Many people would prefer to recover in the peace and quiet of their own room, but this is not something the NHS is generally able to provide. However, if you get health insurance (and depending on the form of insurance you get) you can have a bed in a private room for the whole of your treatment and recovery.
You want to get non-emergency treatment as soon as possible
In general, NHS services are excellent in providing emergency care. It’s only non-emergency and routine procedures where there is likely to be a waiting list. If you value getting on with things and want to be prepared in every scenario, getting health insurance means you can be treated as soon as possible even for non-emergency procedures.