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How To Beat Nhs Waiting Lists With Private Health Insurance
The NHS has recently announced that their waiting lists for operations and other treatments are at an all time low.
This sounds like good news, until you take a serious look at the numbers. The NHS waiting list length for March 2007 is 774,000 - 2,000 people less than February 2007. Are you prepared to stand in a queue with thousands of other patients if you or one of your children needs medical treatment?
Millions of UK residents have already stepped away from the NHS for certain elements of their health care needs. Private health insurers offer a wide variety of plans and options that promise fast treatment and perks like private rooms and in-home care, plus benefits that include reductions on fitness club memberships and assistance with stopping smoking.
One of the major reasons that people opt for private health insurance is the desire to get treatment when and where it's best for the patient rather than waiting until there is an opening through the NHS. Keep in mind that private health insurance should be seen as a complement to the NHS rather than a substitute for it. There are exclusions to some conditions that private health insurance will cover. In general, private health insurance will not cover:
Pre-existing conditions are defined differently by different insurance providers. Some will not cover any illness or condition for which you have ever been treated, or which arises from a condition for which you have been treated, has been diagnosed or for which you have taken medication. Others will consider a medical condition 'new' if you have not been treated for it within a stated time frame, e.g., within the past five years.
Chronic, long term or incurable conditions...
In general, private health insurance excludes cover for chronic conditions like asthma, diabetes, hypertension and other illnesses that require ongoing, long term care. Most also exclude "catastrophic" illnesses like cancer, AIDS and heart disease. There are specialty private health policies that do include treatment for specific conditions though, so shop around to find one that suits your needs.
Elective and/or cosmetic surgeries like breast implants and facial reconstruction...
Among the surgeries that are commonly excluded are breast enlargement, rhinoplasty and other cosmetic surgeries, sex change operations and organ transplants.
Experimental treatments and drugs...
In most cases, private health insurance will not cover treatments or drugs that are still considered experimental. Many companies include most organ transplants under this umbrella.
Private health insurance offers many benefits that can supplement NHS services. They include:
-Access to medical services that may not be available on the NHS
While private health insurance has the reputation of being expensive, the truth is that there are policies that are affordable for almost anyone. One of the best ways to reduce the costs of private health insurance is to shop for your policy and insurer as carefully as you would a new car. Sadly, the FSA states that most people do not investigate their options for insurance, including those for private medical insurance. If you investigate private health insurance online, you'll find a wide variety of health insurance plans available beyond the typical expensive comprehensive plans.
Like any type of insurance, if you're unsure it's important to take professional advice. The last thing you want is to discover that you bought the wrong policy when you've just been diagnosed with an illness or condition and you are expecting immediate private treatment.
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