Comprehensive health insurance is available in several different plans. Essentially, it covers all the medical needs of you and your family. Almost all medical insurance plans, basic and comprehensive, give full coverage for eligible inpatient healthcare, but comprehensive medical insurance also includes the costs of outpatient consultations, scans and tests as well as treatments.
In addition to this, it will cover treatment such as physiotherapy, acupuncture, homeopathy and osteopathy. Some additional benefits with certain plans include oral surgery, the use of a private ambulance and home nursing. Routine optical and dental coverage are also additions that can be added to a plan for extra cost.
Comprehensive Medical Insurance Coverage
The typical comprehensive medical plan has certain things that are almost always covered. These include entitled inpatient, outpatient, day-patient and associated healthcare services. Additionally, there are options that can be added to most plans. Choosing a premier hospital list is one option that can be added, and overseas coverage is another.
• The main benefit of comprehensive medical insurance is the outpatient coverage. This is when a stay in hospital is not required.
• Consultations with a specialist are fully covered with no limit on the number of consultations.
• Scans including MRIs, CT and PET scans will be paid for in full by most comprehensive policies.
• Any other diagnostic tests are also covered in full by comprehensive plans.
• There is also full coverage for cancer treatments such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy.
• There are comprehensive plans that give full coverage for physiotherapy, but most plans limit the number of sessions to 12 or about 500 pounds a year for each policy.
• Psychiatric care is fully covered in about a third of comprehensive plans and a third gives coverage for about 1,000 pounds. The last third gives no coverage for psychiatric care.
• Osteopathy, homeopathy and acupuncture are considered alternative medicines. A few comprehensive plans give full coverage for these, but most have limits from 250 pounds to 1,000 pounds per policy year.
• Most comprehensive policies cover home nursing, dental treatments and oral surgery.
Options for Comprehensive Plans
Once you know the kind of coverage you or your family needs, you can choose a plan that corresponds.
• Plans that cover routine dental and optical treatments usually cost around 10 pounds more each month. With these plans, the dental or optical bill is paid by you, and you are reimbursed a pre-determined amount. There is also usually a separate excess with this option. Excess is the amount you agree to pay first, before the insurance company begins to pay your medical bills. The more you can afford to pay in excess, the less your monthly premiums will be.
• A few insurance plans include coverage while you are overseas. For anyone who
travels overseas a lot, this would be a good option to have.
• Selecting hospitals where you choose to have medical treatment is one way of lowering your premiums. You can choose hospitals outside London or within a certain radius of where you live. With a premium comprehensive medical insurance policy, you can upgrade your hospital list to hospitals in London as well as specialist hospitals. This upgrade will increase your monthly premium by about 30 per cent.
• Family private medical insurance covers you, your spouse or partner, children and grandchildren. They can be added to your policy.
More benefits of Comprehensive Medical Insurance
• Peace of mind that all of yours and your families medical costs will be covered for diagnosis, tests, treatment and aftercare. There will be no financial limits as part of your policy, and you will have a consultant whose fee is assured. Any treatment you begin will not stop.
• Your consultations will be at a time convenient for you. You can plan around days off, and school exams.
• You will get the latest technology developed for diagnostic scans and tests.
• Your hospitalisation will be in a private room with TV and other amenities in a private hospital or a private wing of an NHS hospital.
• You will also have access to the latest cancer treatments and drugs that may not be available to people on the NHS.
• Many insurance companies offer a 24/7 helpline where you can ask questions to specialist cancer nurses.
Choosing a Comprehensive Medical Insurance Plan
• Compare the quality of the coverage. This includes the number of hospitals from which you can choose for inpatient or outpatient treatment.
• Be clear about the type of benefits and treatments the policy will cover. Don’t wait until you need to make a claim to find out your illness or injury is not covered.
• Find out if the policy has annual limits on the amount you can claim. If you or your family member needs long term treatments or a long stay in hospital, you need to know when you buy the policy that this will be completely covered.
• Find out if there is a compulsory excess. If not, and you choose not to pay any excess, your monthly premiums will most likely be higher.
When looking for private medical insurance, don’t be reluctant to ask questions. Most insurance companies will be happy to help you choose the coverage that you need and help you reduce your monthly premiums. With a smaller hospital list, larger excess and a six week waiting period, which means you will use the NHS if their waiting list is shorter than six weeks, private medical insurance for you or your whole family can be made affordable.