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Penalties if there's no health insurance

Health insurance is what it is, to provide cover when you get sick or suffer an injury. Whether you are self-employed, working for a private company or the government, health insurance is very important. But what happens if you are out of job and cannot even afford one? Find out if there are penalties if no health insurance is present.

Is there private health insurance in the UK?

The National Health Service Act of 1946 created the NHS in England and Wales whilst in Scotland, in 1947. It was established so that everyone can have access to medical services and treatment.

  • Funding and eligibility

Funded mainly through a central taxation, the NHS provides a comprehensive range of medical services free of charge. The major requirement is that you have to be a legal resident of the UK to be eligible for NHS privileges. Foreigners who are in the country can also benefit from the NHS although there is a minimum legal residence requirement.

  • What it offers

The National Health Service provides everyone with the minimum cover for health and medical needs. It provides medical consultation, hospitalisation and medication. Thus, even if you don’t have private insurance you are covered if you get sick or disabled. There are no penalties if no health insurance is available.

  • Private health insurance

Private health insurance is available in the UK with as much as 10% of the population purchasing extra protection for stuff that the NHS does not cover. In other cases, employers can also buy group insurance for their employees. At the same time, employees can top up their current premiums with the employer’s insurer by purchasing additional cover. It is convenient to have extra cover because the NHS has limitations when it comes to specialists and private hospitalisation.

Additional cover

Primary care is generally answered by the NHS which is why most people do not bother to buy private insurance. In addition, it is not mandatory to have one and there are no penalties if there's no health insurance. However, if the insured wants to purchase additional cover, then it is up to their discretion. One area where private insurance is useful is to broaden the range of specialty services where the NHS wait can be quite long. In this sense, private insurance can provide the patient with shorter waiting times for a specialist and other perks such as private rooms in hospitals.

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