As most UK residents are entitled to use free NHS services, you could be forgiven for thinking that private healthcare is a luxury that you don’t need to budget for. However, if you are self-employed, or relied upon as a primary carer, private healthcare becomes more of a necessity because of the crucial element of choice it provides. Although you don’t need to have private health insurance to use private healthcare services, you may find it difficult to afford, as health insurance pays at least some of your medical expenses, and sometimes all of them.
Private Health Insurance Cover
The most basic levels of cover will take care of the cost of most treatments, including diagnostic appointments, and both inpatient and day surgery. Other levels of cover may even pay you a small sum for each day spent in hospital. It’s worth noting that pre-existing and chronic ongoing conditions are usually not covered – insurance is just that; a safety net for just in case. Some policies are available which might give cover for mental health treatment, but it’s worth reading the small print to make sure.
Is Private Healthcare Right for You?
There are reasons why private healthcare might not be for you at the present time; for example, if you have other debts and no savings, it’s a better financial decision to take care of these first. Additionally, if you are taking it out primarily to ensure quick treatment for your children, it’s worth noting that children always take priority for fast NHS care anyway. If you do have savings, and are otherwise in good health, you may wish to ring-fence a percentage of these for possible private healthcare needs – joint replacements, for example, can cost around £10,000, but you have the advantage of electing to have surgery before you are in a position where your mobility, or perhaps even your ability to work and get around independently are compromised. The cost might seem high, but weighed up against having to wait for the joint to be ‘bad enough’ to warrant replacement, they look more appealing, and could even save you money when weighed up against possible lost earnings.
However, if your concerns are choice and speed of treatment, the benefits of private healthcare should convince you; from second opinions, to having quicker or even additional scans when needed, these options can make all the difference in speeding up treatment and recovery, especially when surgery and subsequent physiotherapy are involved.
If you do need surgery, you can also choose not only your hospital, but your surgeon – options which aren’t available on the NHS. Private hospitals such as The Wilmslow Hospital can offer much more choice over not just where you have your operation, but when; an essential consideration if you work for yourself, or if your family or employer are relying on you being back to full health as quickly as possible.
Final Words on Private Healthcare
Whether you choose to take out health insurance or to use your savings to cover the cost of care, there’s no doubt that the choice and reassurance offered by private healthcare are comforting factors when you need them most.