If you take out a health insurance plan in the UK, it means that you are eligible to receive affordable private treatment for a range of health-related complaints. Insurance companies often refer to as 'acute conditions'. Basically, this term embraces any illness or injury that is short-term and curable, and one that it is thought will benefit from treatment.
If you are considering taking out private medical insurance, there are a number of factors that can greatly affect the premium, therefore it is important that you think carefully about what you want from the policy. For example, will you want to receive treatment as an outpatient? Do you require cover when travelling abroad? Are you happy to be treated in any hospital that the insurance provider selects, or would you prefer to choose your own hospital and specialist? There are an overwhelming number of different policies available, but once you have a clearer picture of what you need from your health insurance, you will find the selection process much easier
What is not included in a private health insurance policy?
Firstly, it is important to note that all insurance companies are different, and that you should check what is included and what is excluded before committing yourself to anything.
In general, however, most companies will underwrite any treatment for acute conditions, including diagnostic tests and surgery carried out as an in-patient or day-patient, and any necessary hospital accommodation or nursing.
Some policies will extend cover to out-patient tests, consultation and treatment, as well as overseas cover. However, very few insurers will compensate for treatment of any pre-existing condition, i.e. an illness or injury that you had prior to taking out the insurance. In addition, you should not expect to be covered for any incurable, long-term illnesses (chronic conditions), any GP services or any accident and emergency admissions.
I have taken out medical insurance, but now think it was a bad idea? Is there anything I can do?
You should be entitled to cancel the policy whenever you wish to do so. You may be eligible for a refund of any premiums already paid if you cancel before the end of your 'cooling-off period' (usually two weeks after receiving your policy documents), provided you have not already made a claim.