Avoid NHS Drug Shortages with our Tips for Private Medical Cover
A survey conducted back in April has shown that patients with life threatening conditions are finding it difficult to get hold of drugs in 80% of NHS trusts in England and Wales. Delays are being reported in four out of five trusts because the medicines destined to go to NHS patients are being exported out of the UK to other EU countries. There have been quotas set aside to control the amount of drugs held in the UK but apparently this has only exacerbated the problem. Back in April, MPs in the All-Party Pharmacy Group published a report on their inquiry into medicine shortages and discovered that the problem is caused mainly by exporting medicines intended for NHS patients abroad. This is a legal practice under European provisions for the free movement of goods. So if you are worried about obtaining drugs from the NHS it may be time to consider private health insurance, know as PMI. But how do you find one that meets your specific needs with the right price? There are advantages to PMI, such as faster access to consultants and recovery in a private room. And if you are treated in a private hospital, you could also get access to a private pharmacy, which would mean you would avoid any drug shortages. We’ve put together our top ten tips for private medical insurance:
1. Do you already have a policy?
Many people do not realise that they are actually already covered by a policy at work as part of their benefits package, so before you take out your own private medical insurance, check whether you’re already covered by your employers.
2. Be honest when filling out any forms
Always put any pre-existing conditions down on the forms as if you do not disclose them at the start your policy may be cancelled and you could lose money. There are some companies that accept people that have serious medical conditions, you have to shop around to find them.
3. What type of policy do you need?
When choosing a PMI policy, there’s more to consider than just the cost. You should think about whether you simply need a budget plan for emergencies or something more comprehensive for the whole family. Are you insuring the main breadwinner or everyone? Think about claim time limits, in-patient and out-patient cover, what treatments are included – and excluded? Which hospitals are available to you if you buy the PMI policy?
4. Don’t accept the first offer
It is a little known fact that you do not need to accept the first offer by the medical insurance broker, you can haggle the price! Ask them if they have any better rates or if there is any way to reduce the premiums.
5. Not all policies are the same
If you do this however, and opt for a different policy, remember that although you may be getting a good discount, it doesn’t mean that you have been provided with the same level of cover. So check to see what has been excluded or taken out to reduce the premiums.
6. Read the fine print
You should always do this as a matter of course but make sure you double-check the details to see what is covered – and what is not. Is this the right amount of cover for your medical needs?
7. Get any extra benefits
Check to see if your private medical insurance policy offer any additional benefits, which will give you added value for money. These could be free annual eye tests, dental check ups or private maternity care.
8. Do not automatically renew your policy each year
When your policy is due for renewal, start checking around for cheaper alternatives as if you let your health insurance policy renew automatically, you could lose out. This is because your premiums will usually increase with age and advances in medical care. Compare policies from time to time and you could get a cheaper deal or better value for money.
9. Ask for a discount
Ask your broker how you can get a discount on your policy, for example, you could save money by agreeing to a voluntary excess or by paying annually rather than monthly. Or, if you think you’re unlikely to claim then you could save further by going for a policy which offers a no claims discount.
10. Think about a moratorium if you have a pre-existing condition
Moratorium underwriting is a type of underwriting in which you do not fill in an application. A moratorium clause is put in that no coverage will be paid out for pre-existing conditions up to five years before the start of the policy. However, frequently that moratorium is lifted after a period of time like two consecutive years where you have had no symptoms from that condition.