One major private hospital group has experienced a doubling in patients opting to pay for treatment out of their own pocket, due to the strain the coronavirus has put on the NHS. Prior to this, roughly 11% of the UK population had some form of private health insurance in place, but now that number is steadily increasing.
If you have already invested in private health insurance in order to access quicker treatment and high-quality services, you will likely have noticed that your premium cost has increased over time. There are multiple reasons for this, including the increasing prices of treatments and drug prices, general inflation rates, and your age. But fortunately, there are ways of reducing the cost of your private health insurance without skimping on the quality of your cover. Here we look at four ways of doing so.
1. Speak to experts
Discussing your needs with healthcare insurance specialists is the best way of cutting the cost of your private health insurance policy. They will be able to review your existing cover, identify exactly what you’re paying for, and make suitable recommendations on how to adjust your policy to save money. What’s more, experts can also compare private health insurance quotes on your behalf, helping you to measure your existing cover against other policies on the market – and most brokers will do this for free. Take Healthcare Clarity, who assist customers in finding the best coverage for their needs, comparing private health insurance from all of the top providers.
2. Reassess your cover levels
If you have a policy which offers full coverage, this will naturally come at a higher price. However, depending on your health situation, you might not actually need this level of cover. Reassess your current policy, and identify what cover you really need to protect your health. There might be something you don’t require, and removing it may reduce your premiums. For instance, optional covers like dental, mental health, and alternative therapy all cost more. If you’re looking for your most affordable option, you should stick to the core benefits of any given policy.
Basic private health insurance usually covers the costs of most inpatient treatments and day-care surgery, but you should only do this if it isn’t compromising your health. You can also switch your policy to include the NHS six-week option, which will refer you to a private hospital only if your inpatient or day patient treatment isn’t available on the NHS within six weeks. This further reduces your costs, as you will be less likely to claim on your insurance, leading most providers to lower your premiums accordingly.
3. Change your payment plan
By paying annually, rather than monthly, for your private health insurance, you could save up to 5% a year. If you agree with your insurer to pay for a year upfront, they are likely to offer you a discount on the overall cost. For instance, you can save around £30 a year just by switching to annual premiums. The price of your policy will depend on a variety of factors though, and will differ from insurer to insurer, but at time of writing, the average price for private health insurance in the UK is £1,435 per year.
4. Check your employment benefits
Some workplaces offer healthcare benefits as an attractive perk, meaning you could pay less for a policy than if you were taking out one yourself. As such, it’s worth asking your employer whether this is something they offer to employees. It should be noted that if it’s a free benefit, you will likely pay tax on the premiums, but even so, you could still save up to 60-80%, depending on how much tax you pay. If you decide to take this route, you will need to inform your provider prior to leaving that your new organisation does not have the same health insurance benefits. This ensures that your insurance will be classified as continuous cover, rather than a new policy, which could be more expensive.