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Taking Out Private Medical Insurance

Updated on June 1, 2010

Having private medical insurance can be extremely beneficial if you experience health problems that require diagnostic tests or surgery, as you can claim the expense back if you have taken out the right level of insurance. The big downside of private medical insurance is the cost. The most affordable levels only cover you against the basics, and you will usually have to pay considerably more each month to receive a higher level of cover. If money is tight, should you take out private medical insurance to protect yourself and your family?

Choosing The Right Level of Insurance Cover

The most affordable option is the basic out-patient cover, which usually entitles you to claim back the expense of diagnostic tests and private consultations up until a certain threshold. For example, this threshold may be set at $2000, which means that you cannot claim beyond this point. Any additional diagnostic tests or consultations that go beyond the set threshold must be paid for using your own funds. The threshold often sounds like a considerable amount of money, but be aware that private tests and consultations can soon mount up and you can easily get through $2000 worth of diagnostic tests and consultations without having much to show for it. Because of this, many people choose to take out a more comprehensive level of cover. This will often cover you for an unlimited number of diagnostic tests and consultations that are conducted on an in-patient or out-patient basis during the course of the year. 

If you want to protect yourself further, you can choose to include additional options. For example, some private medical insurance policies will offer options relating to cancer treatments and physiotherapy. Alternatively, you may be able to choose dental and optical options. These are nice options to have, but they will increase the cost of your monthly premiums quite considerably. For most people, the option that entitles you to unlimited in-patient and out-patient treatment is probably the best option in terms of being affordable. 

Factors That Can Increase Your Monthly Premiums

Your general health can affect the cost of your monthly premiums, especially if you have existing health conditions such as diabetes or heart problems. Generally speaking, your monthly premiums will increase as you get older, as insurance companies tend to assume that older people are more likely to develop health problems that will require them to make claims. 

Do Your Homework

Before you commit yourself to one specific policy, make sure that you shop around for the best quote. Some companies will charge a higher monthly premium for the same level of cover, so it is vital to look for the most cost effective policy that you can find. In addition to this, do as much as possible to determine whether there are any hidden catches. For example, you may be quoted an introductory monthly premium that increases after a few months or if you have made a claim. This type of detail may only be shown in small print in your membership paperwork, which you receive after you have committed yourself to the policy. Most policies give you the option to cancel your policy within seven days, and direct debit payments will usually not be taken from your bank account until the end of the month in which you sign up. 


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    • loveingyou profile image

      loveingyou 6 years ago from Canada

      Thank you for the educational article!