Starting a new year and thinking about the future – and health cover

With 2020 already here, you may be thinking about what the future may hold. The fact is that none of us know, and that while we all tend to take our good health for granted, we know that illness or accident can strike at any time.

Of course, the NHS will usually provide treatment and will always be the first point of call when it is an accident or emergency, but for everything else, relying on its overstretched facilities can mean long waiting lists. Private treatment could mean prompt care in a well-equipped and comfortable private hospital, avoiding long waiting lists, reducing suffering and helping ensure a faster recovery. In some cases it could mean access to treatment which is simply not available on the NHS.

Private medical treatment is expensive; private medical insurance can put it within reach, and at Continuum we can help you find cover that is affordable.

The different types of health cover

This can actually be more of a challenge than it first appears.

All health cover policies are designed to cover the costs of private healthcare. They help ensure that you will receive the medical treatment you need, from diagnosis to treatment as quickly as possible and where you want.

But it is not commonly realised that there are several kinds of private health cover.

Health cash plans

Health cash plans are the low cost solution. They pay out a cash sum whenever you visit a medical practitioner, such as a dentist or optician, which can help you deal with their costs. They mean a low monthly premium, but you might find that the range of treatments that you can get are limited, and you may find that you need to pay towards the cost of some kinds of treatment.

Private medical insurance policies

Private medical insurance policies tend to be more expensive. You pay a monthly premium and the policy will pay out for any treatment you might need, up to specified cover limits.

Some let you reduce the costs by offering treatment and care only. You can be diagnosed by your GP under the NHS, but referred to a private consultant, and receive treatment in a private hospital if you need it. Some will only cover hospital admissions, and not out-patient costs. Others are comprehensive, covering private diagnosis, treatment and aftercare for all your medical needs. Naturally, these are rather more expensive – although these days some offer lifestyle health cover with a range of extras – such as discounted gym membership, online health reviews and personal fitness targets which can make them look better value.

What will it all cost?

It could well be a sound plan to get cover while you are young and fit. The cost of medical insurance gets higher with age and if your general health and fitness is poor and if you have previous medical conditions, they are likely to be excluded altogether.

Many policies charge an excess, a proportion of any claim you must pay yourself. This will help keep costs down, but you could find that some treatment will not pass the excess level, meaning that you receive no benefit from your policy. Always read the small print to check if any particular illnesses and treatments are excluded.

For help with getting the health protection you need, and integrating it into an all-round protection plan, you need expert, individual advice. Call us at Continuum, and talk to a Continuum Adviser about cover designed around you and your needs.


The information contained in this article is based on the opinion of Continuum and does not constitute financial advice or a recommendation to suitable investment strategy, you should seek independent financial advice before embarking on any course of action.

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