I Cant Afford Private Health Insurance?

For many the decision whether to get private health insurance at all comes down to cost. What can you afford? It is worth working out a budget and working out what is affordable and realistic for you. This is important and worth seeking some advice if this is something you find hard to do, and if you do decide to accept a company’s quote they may have an accounts department who are able to discuss a payment plan with you. Of course costs do vary widely so again it is very important to do your research, compare and contrast products. It often is a matter of finding what suits your needs at a price you can afford. There are some general rules to help you reduce the costs involved. Finding the best value is not simple or easy as there is such huge variety in types of cover. Don’t feel rushed or pressured and take time to consider all the options, get several quotes.

Consider Purchasing Limited or Flexible Cover

Always look into comprehensive packages where full cover is offered for one price as you may be able to pay less with a policy that gives you more flexibility and allows you to choose which benefits are included. Comprehensive cover may leave you paying for things that you don’t need. This might sound like an obvious thing to check but many people have policies that cover many areas they don’t need cover for, such as pregnancy costs for insured males or child cover for couples who do not have children. Look around for a flexible policy and see if you can bring the price down. It is not guaranteed that the price will be lower with a policy that lets you choose your benefits because you pay for the tailoring and the benefits that may be essential to you might be the pricier ones that make comprehensive cover the price that it is anyway. Buying limited cover is one way to possibly reduce costs, but bear in mind it may only cover major illnesses. It could be an option though for those looking for lower cost health insurance.

Set Up a Waiting Period Before You Can Receive Treatment

You could choose a policy which only kicks in after an agreed waiting period for NHS treatment. This means which means you agree a waiting period when you take our the policy, for example of six weeks, and if the NHS can not provide treatment within this time your cover will arrange treatment. This is one way of reducing the price of cover. It may seem unattractive, as many people want private health insurance because of the NHS waiting times. However, you have control over when you have treatment this way even if it involves a wait which is not the same as not knowing when you will get treatment and having no control over it. Also, for some people NHS treatment is not of a dissatisfactory level and a six week period of waiting may not seem too much. A waiting period policy just gives you the security of knowing you won’t be waiting for an inordinate amount of time without treatment.

Build Up a No Claims Bonus

Just as with car insurance, some medical insurers have no claims discounts where you can benefit from a reduced premium if the company considers you a low risk customer, ie unlikely to make a claim. This applies to customers looking to reduce the price of renewing their health insurance or taking out a new policy with a different insurer when the old one has run out. If you only use the cover when you really need it you can earn what is typically about a 10% discount off of your next policy. If you have had health insurance previously make sure you mention it when getting a quote, in case there is a discount offered.

Think About Purchasing Your Policy Online

Going online and purchasing your cover could reduce costs, sometimes as much as 10%. This is because companies do not have the same overhead charges if the policy is purchased online. For some people buying online may make them uncomfortable and they might want to speak to someone but for others, especially younger customers, online discounts may be well worth it.

Choosing Your Hospitals

Some cover will allow you to have choice over where you have treatment. Your choice of hospital could make a difference to the price. Generally speaking, those policies where there is limited or restricted choice in which hospital you have treatment at tend to cost more. It is worth seeking out a policy that allows you some choice here. For example a policy that only allows you to have treatment at a London hospital will be expensive when it might be worth travelling elsewhere to receive cheaper treatment.

Make Yourself Less Likely to Claim

It is worth keeping healthy if you are looking for low cost health insurance. Insurers will have higher charges for smokers for example. Obviously there are multiple benefits to giving up smoking but it may also reduce the most of health insurance! You may also be able to reduce your premium by being in better shape, so eating well and taking regular exercise could make a difference.

Speak to Your Insurer About Different Payment Options on Offer

You may be wondering how you are going to pay for private health insurance, especially if you have found a policy that is perfect for you and you just can’t spare that amount of money in one go. There are a range of options that may help you meet the costs involved. Most types of cover involve a monthly fee, which might be more suitable if you do not have a lump sum disposable, but it can incur an interest charge. There are other options available however.

Health Cash Plans

A health cash plan is cheaper than full health insurance, from as low as £2.50 a week, but it is quite a different product. The premise of a health cash plan is that instead of arranging and providing the treatment your insurer will pay out cash towards the treatments you undergo yourself. This kind of plan is geared towards everyday health needs and does not provide the security that either private health insurance or critical illness cover provide. With a health cash plan you can expect help with things such as dental or orthodontic treatments, trips to the optician or optometrist, or visits with a specialist or a consultant. For many people this can really help out because it means you avoid having to pay out a sudden lump sum without warning.

Health Insurance as Part of Employment Benefits

It may be possible that your employer or your partner’s employer offers health insurance or, more likely, discounted health insurance as part of an employee benefit package. This means that you may be able to choose for part of your salary to be paid towards private health insurance and your employer will contribute an equivalent or lower amount. You might already have this option on offer and not know about it, so check when each year you choose your employee benefits. This is much more common with large companies, and you may be able to contact your human resources department to find out what is available.

Paying Annually

Paying annually rather than monthly will help you avoid any interest charges, but paying by direct debit may also still be cheaper than paying by credit card. Some companies charge more depending on the type of card you use, for example charging more for American Express or Switch cards than VISA or Mastercard. If possible, choose the card without a charge.

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