If you live and reside in the UK and are considering private healthcare in any form and for any procedure or treatment option, it is important to understand what factors contribute to the changes in the overall costs of health insurance.
Like any other insurance policy in the UK, you will be expected to pay your premium either monthly or annually, with the insurer paying out some or all of the cost of the medical treatment that you receive should you so require.
Influencing Factors for Private Healthcare in the UK
Typically, the cost of private healthcare and health insurance in the UK depends on 4 main factors:
- Your age
- Your postcode
- Any current or pre-existing medical conditions
- Your chosen policy benefits
How Does Age Affect the Cost of Health Insurance?
Age is an important element of the health insurance process because more often than not, your medical needs will at least in some small way be influenced if not determined by your age. The older you are, the more likely many health problems are to develop and thus, the more likely you are to have to rely on medical services.
Therefore, health insurance quotes and premiums will become higher as you age and will reduce in cost, at least to some extent the younger you are.
How Does Your Postcode Affect the Cost of Health Insurance?
A lot of private healthcare insurance companies base their quotes and prices on postcode. This is because in major cities, the cost of treatment will likely be greater in certain locations over others. For example, private London hospitals tend to be more expensive than private hospitals in Oxford or Devon.
How Do Pre-Existing Medical Conditions Affect the Cost of Health Insurance?
A pre-existing medical condition is a condition in which you have already experienced symptoms, received medication, advice or treatment before starting your health insurance policy. However, your condition may be covered if it remains and lingers after a determined amount of time with no symptoms, medication or treatment required.
A chronic medical condition is a condition that is persistent and long-term and usually incurable, but can be maintained through medication or lifestyle changes. Typically, these are not covered by UK health insurance plans.
How Do Your Chosen Benefits Affect Your Health Insurance?
Like other types of insurance and insurance policies, health insurance is directly influenced by the benefits you add on and require from your policy. A healthcare benefit is a healthcare item or service specifically defined by an insurance company as such.
For example: prescription drugs, paediatric services, preventive and wellness services and chronic disease management, emergency services, hospitalisation, mental health, addiction services, pregnancy, maternity and new-born care, ambulatory patient services, laboratory services and rehabilitative services and devices are all classified as benefits under most health insurance policies in the UK.
Your chosen benefits affect pricing because the more benefits with a higher limit, is the more likely the cost will increase. A limit is essentially a sort of cap that insurance companies will place per year on the amount that they will pay out for your chosen limits.
It is therefore wise and useful to evaluate not only your personal and overall financial situation when considering taking out health insurance, but also which categories you could potentially fall into.
It is also in your best interest to do some research on what benefits you may want, which will of course be at least somewhat dependent upon your health conditions; whether they are pre-existing, chronic, or if you have any at all.
It is also be helpful to research a number of different insurance companies, taking into consideration where you are located and the type of services and medication the hospitals around you have available, in order to pinpoint which may be the best option for you.