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Is Private Health Insurance Worth it?

  • Sep 04, 2023
  • Health Insurance

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Struggling to find out whether private health insurance (also known as private medical insurance) is worth it for you? We have put together this helpful guide to understand why health insurance can be a good option for you.

What is the difference between private health insurance and the NHS?

While there are many differences between private health insurance and NHS healthcare, it boils down to the former being a free service (at the point of use) provided by the Government and the latter being a paid service provided by a private entity.

However, private medical insurance (PMI) shouldn’t be seen as a replacement for the NHS, but as complementary. This is because some treatments and conditions are generally not covered by PMI, but they are covered by the NHS, including:

  • Accident & emergency (A&E) services
  • Pre-existing medical conditions
  • Chronic medical conditions
  • Pregnancy 

If you would like to learn more about what sets these two different services apart, then check out our Private vs NHS guide.

Benefits of private medical insurance over the NHS?

The main benefits of private medical insurance over the NHS are:

  • Shorter wait times
  • Increased medical resources
  • More choice
  • Private hospital rooms

1. Shorter wait times

When it comes to medical appointments, the NHS can usually have longer wait times depending on your required treatment, hospital and region. While the NHS continues to make an effort to shorten wait times, it is always good to receive your diagnosis and treatment in a timely fashion to avoid the medical issue from developing further. Going down the private route means you are more likely to receive treatment quicker.

2. Increased medical resources

Private hospitals allow you to access a wider range of medical resources from specialist drugs to ongoing recovery treatments, many of which may not be readily available when relying on the NHS.

3. More choice

Under the NHS, your procedure could be carried out by a member of the consultant’s team rather than the consultant themselves and you often don’t have much choice when it comes to the hospital, consultant or appointment time.

With private medical insurance, you can expect more freedom in choosing the medical facility, consultant and the time most convenient to you.

4. Private hospital rooms

When treated privately, you usually get your own private en-suite room with hotel-like facilities such as TV, menu choices and other amenities. This added control over your immediate environment can be very beneficial when it comes to post-surgery rest and recuperation.

Is private medical insurance good value for money?

Taking out private medical insurance can make being treated privately more accessible and affordable by paying a monthly premium. Depending on your needs, you can tailor your policy by adding extra benefits to your cover and choosing the level of excess you want to pay. Find out more about the cost of health insurance. Freedom Health Insurance also offers you the possibility to save even more by paying annually.

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Will my NHS care be affected if I go private?

If you decide to go private, remember you will still be entitled to free NHS healthcare. However, the NHS can't pay for or subsidise your private hospital treatment.

There must also be a clear separation between your private and NHS treatment. For example, if you have been diagnosed under the NHS, but want to be treated privately, you will most likely have to be transferred to a private hospital or private ward of an NHS hospital.

If you want to know more, the Department of Health and Social Care has published a helpful guide for NHS patients who wish to pay for additional private care.

Why buy private medical insurance?

Private medical insurance is worth it if you want to:

  • Avoid waiting for NHS treatment
  • Have the peace of mind that your private medical bills are taken care of
  • Get your treatments done in private hospitals wherever possible
  • Have access to drugs and treatment you can’t always get on the NHS

Looking for a private medical insurance quote?

If you’re curious about just how much UK private health insurance would cost you, then head on over to our quick and easy, no-obligation online quote calculator