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A guide to types of health insurance

In the UK, all residents are entitled to NHS care and treatment. However, if you want more options when it comes to treatment, faster access to care and to be in control of your own health then there is the option of buying private medical insurance. But what are the types of health insurance out there?

The main types of health insurance

There are three main types of health insurance or private medical insurance available.

  1. Private medical insurance for individuals
  2. Health insurance for the self employed or small businesses
  3. Cover for people living and working abroad

Individual cover is what this article will focus on. People's main reasons reasons for choosing private health insurance is to get quick access to treatment that could potentially be delayed on the NHS.

The benefits of private medical insurance

The main factor is that it gives you, the patient, control over where and when to be treated, as well as access to private hospitals, useful helplines, extra benefits and, most importantly, very fast access to treatment. For lots of people health insurance can play an important role in giving policy holders peace of mind.

The types of cover

  • Packages - the health insurance equivalent of package holidays where you have a fixed amount of cover but only a certain amount of choice.
  • Limited cover - only covers for certain illnesses and health related events.
  • Choice of cover - building your own policy means you have far more choice and freedom.
  • Shared risk - affordable policy payments but you will have to share treatment costs with the insurer.
  • Special cover - for individual needs, e.g. cover for children or sports injuries.
  • Cover for the over 50s or the elderly.

Tips on buying health insurance

Get several quotes and study them. Think carefully about your requirements and the reasons you're wanting to look at types of health insurance. It's essential to balance affordability with need, so don't have anything on a policy that you don't require. For example an elderly man living on his own doesn't need health insurance that covers the costs of pregnancy or children. Once you've made your choice, read the small print, buy your policy and enjoy the security of private health care.

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