Making Sense of Health Insurance

This is Bates information page about health (medical) insurance coverage. This type of cover comes in three main forms: individual; family and group. This information page defines each of these forms but mainly focuses on individual medical cover (although the principles are relevant for family plans also).

Personal health insurance is a policy that only covers one person. The advantage of this type of policy is that it allows the individual to select a policy that is personal to them. The next type of cover is for families. It is possible to take out a medical plan to cover a whole family. When I say a whole family what I mean is your partner and children. The rule is that you can only add dependants to the plan so it is actually possible to add a whole family provided that the eldest generation takes out the policy (i.e. grandparents or even great grandparents). Finally, the next type of policy is a group health scheme. A group scheme is much like a family plan expect that those insured do not need to be related. Group plans are sometimes known as business plans and companies take out these plans for their staff (standard part of a reward package). Please note that the health cover discussed on this page is not to be confused with United Kingdom National Insurance (NI), which provides funds for treatments conducted by the UK National Health Service (NHS).

Although health cover is provided by the UK government from the National Health Service (and paid for via National Insurance Contributions) many individuals still decide to take out their own private medical coverage. The main reason for this is to do this the long waiting times associated with receiving treatment on the NHS and, to a lesser extent, the quality of service provided. Within private care treatment is conducted very swiftly and the standard of the private hospitals and doctors is extremely high. Most patients have similar luxuries to those experienced at home, such as a private room rather than a bed in a public ward.

Given the benefits of private healthcare, companies and individuals alike continue to purchase health insurance policies (companies take out group policies as part of their employee reward package). In between those two groups self employed health cover is also available. Although the level of coverage does vary from policy to policy, reputable plans with sufficient basic cover can be taken out. Affordable health insurance is therefore a real possibility to individuals looking to avoid having to seek medical care via the National Health Service (NHS). It is usually recommended that individuals take out as much medical coverage as they deem affordable as the more coverage included in a plan the less chance that the NHS will have to be used.

Health plans come in three basic forms: basic; mid-range and comprehensive. It is needless to say that the level of cover does increase significantly with a more comprehensive plan. With the best plan cover will be provided for all inpatient treatment, most outpatient treatment and additional benefits, such as overseas cover and emergency dental operations. This information page is just designed to provide an outline to medical cover and the resources contained within can be used to find more information on the subject.

As a final note, permanent health insurance is a very different type of policy to medical insurance. Permanent health insurance is another name for income protection, which covers the policyholders income should they become ill and therefore not be able to work.

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