Health and wealth are vital for enjoying life, and at Continuum we have ways to help you protect both.
Your health – and that of your family – is beyond price. But there are ways both to help safeguard it, and to support yourself and your family if your health suffers as a result of illness or accident.
At Continuum we look at these vital types of protection.
Private health insurance
Private health cover is no longer just for the wealthy few.
While the NHS will usually provide treatment and will always be the first point of call in an accident or emergency, it can mean long waiting lists. Private medical insurance is becoming increasingly popular, both as a company perk, and as something individuals and families provide for themselves.
Its purpose is simple. It is designed to cover the costs of private healthcare, from diagnosis to treatment. It helps ensure that you will receive medical treatment as quickly as possible and where you want, usually in a comfortable private hospital close to your home.
There are different levels of cover. Some are comprehensive, covering private diagnosis, treatment and aftercare. Others reduce the costs by providing treatment and care only, with diagnosis by your GP under the NHS, but with treatment under a private consultant in a private hospital.
Basic health cash plans simply contribute towards healthcare costs. Full Private medical insurance policies tend to be more expensive, but the policy will pay out, up to specified cover limits, for any treatment you might need.
Prompt treatment and faster recovery from some conditions can be well worth the cost – which can be surprisingly moderate if you are healthy when you take out cover.
Dealing with the financial impact of illness
Having the care you need as soon as you need it is a major benefit for yourself and your family. But although private medicine can provide vital medical support, you could still be left with the financial symptoms if accident or illness made you unable to work.
But there are some types of cover that can deal with the financial impact of illness.
Critical Illness Cover: A growing number of people take out Critical Illness Cover (CIC) as an add-on to their life assurance protection. It pays out a tax-free lump sum if you are diagnosed with one of the illnesses listed in the policy which usually include most forms of cancer, heart attack and stroke (some serious illnesses not listed in the policy may not be covered) . The benefits of the plan could be used for example to pay off your debts or your mortgage or provide such things as a stairlift, or an adapted vehicle. The cash lump sum could replace your income – even if you subsequently recover. The policy may not cover you for pre -existing health conditions which you should disclose before taking out the policy.
Permanent Health Insurance or PHI: PHI allows you to replace a proportion of your income, often 50% of your salary in the event of illness or an accident that stops you working. It can make monthly payments which can continue until you can return to work or your normal retirement age, if you are unable to return to work.
Accident, Sickness and Unemployment (ASU): This may allow you to protect the payments on your mortgage, other debts and even provide some extra income in the event of illness or an accident – or even in the event of losing your job through redundancy. ASU will cover you for a maximum of 12 or 24 months, and will usually start after 30 days, although some policies may mean a delay of 90 days before you can claim for the loss of a job (certain exclusions may also apply) .
What will your protection cost?
Premiums on medical insurance policies always tend to get higher the older you are when you take them out, and if you have previous medical conditions they are likely to be excluded.
You should also check exactly what benefits the policy you are interested in will pay for. With a very low cost plan, for example, you may only be covered for hospital admission costs, and not out-patient costs. Always read the small print to check if any particular illnesses and treatments are excluded.
Many policies charge an excess – the portion of any claim you must pay yourself. This can help keep costs down, but you may find that you pay for a great deal of treatment without ever passing the excess level and receiving any benefit from your policy.
The financial protection polices will also depend on your age and health, but you may be able to reduce your monthly premiums by integrating them with a life assurance policy.
At Continuum we are independent – which means that we can search the entire insurance market for the cover that is right for you.
For help with getting the health protection you need, and integrating it into an all-round protection plan, you need expert, individual advice.
The information contained in this article is based on the opinion of Continuum and does not constitute financial advice or a recommendation to suitable Protection products or investment strategy, you should seek independent financial advice before embarking on any course of action.
Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage or any other debt secured on it.
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