Three ways to cut the cost of health insurance
If you’re a UK resident, you’ll more than likely be entitled to free healthcare from the NHS.
However, if you want to be more selective about the treatment you receive or want to reduce the time it takes to be seen by a doctor, you might want to consider private health insurance – also known as or private medical insurance.
Health insurance premiums can be high. According to the Money Advice Service, a typical family premium (two adults in their 40s and two children under 10) can vary from £700 to £1,650 per year. Premiums also get more expensive the older you get.
The good news is there are ways to cut the costs of health insurance. Here are three:
- Reduce your coverage
Deciding how much cover you need can be tricky as you’re covering yourself against unpredictable illnesses. You may end up being covered for treatment you’d happily rely on the NHS for or for services you’re unlikely to use – alterative medical treatments or the use of a private ambulance, for example.
Pick the policy that’s best for you. You have a range of options from fully comprehensive to more basic plans which only apply if treatment isn’t available when you want it on the NHS. ‘Six week wait’ policies, for example, entitle you to private treatment if the NHS cannot treat you within 42 days.
- Increase your excess
Increasing your voluntary excess is an effective way of reducing your premium. So you pay the first £100, £200, £250 or £500 of any treatment. Or you can opt for a co-payment agreement which means you pay an agreed percentage of a claim and the insurer pays the balance.
The caveat here is that health insurance covers unforeseen circumstances, so you need to make sure you’ll be able to meet any excess requirements.
Some polices also offer a no claims discount for committing to staying healthy. You may be required to have an annual check-up to qualify.
- Do your research
Use a price comparison site such as uSwitch.com, Comparethemarket.com or GoCompare.com to find the best cover for your budget.
A comparison site is a good place to start your research but if you have a pre-existing medical condition, you’ll need to go to a broker. It might be a good idea to go to a broker even if you don’t have a pre-existing condition as some have access to deals that aren’t available via price comparison sites.
When you’ve decided on your policy, ask your insurer if they offer discounts if you pay annually or by direct debit.
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