Private Medical Insurance – your questions answered

It’s impossible to ignore the daily headlines about the unprecedented financial and operational challenges our National Health Service faces: long wait times in A&E, a shortage of GP appointments and mental health services in crisis.

These challenges are compounded by our ageing population and the changing patterns of disease, with more people living with multiple long-term conditions than ever before. As such, fundamental changes are required to the way in which healthcare is delivered.

The NHS undoubtedly does its best to meet growing demand for its services but having to provide care within such tight budgets means that there can often be waiting times to see GP’s and specialists. In certain cases expensive drugs cannot be afforded by NHS Trusts.  As a result, some people are now considering the security of Private Medical Insurance (PMI) as an alternative option.


What is Private Medical Insurance?

Private Medical Insurance is a policy that provides quick access to leading UK medical care and hospitals. PMI has changed in recent years in order that policies work to compliment and improve the NHS rather than acting as a replacement.

For example, many policies include access to a Private GP so that initial period of worry from feeling unwell and waiting to see your GP is eliminated and you are referred to a specialist, if required, more quickly.  Some medical policies can also provide the ability to get second opinions and in some cases will offer access to the most expensive cancer drugs.


What are the features of a PMI policy?

The features of your policy will depend upon the level of cover you choose but could include;

  • Specialist referrals to get a second opinion or specialist treatment
  • Reduced waiting times
  • Choice over your surgeon and hospital
  • Option to stay in a private room
  • Access to Physiotherapy
  • Specialist drugs and treatment may be available


How much does PMI cost?

The cost of your PMI premium will depend upon a number of factors – such as your age, location and medical history and your budget.

Access to private cover can be expensive but there are ways that you may be able to reduce the cost of medical insurance. You could choose a scheme that offers full inpatient treatment but only limited outpatient care, and no extras. Alternatively, you could opt for a voluntary excess on claims, like on your car insurance, which reduces your premium without cutting the cover. Another option is to take out a policy that will treat you only if the NHS waiting list for your condition is more than six weeks.


What’s the best way to organise Private Medical Insurance?

You may choose to arrange cover yourself and there are plenty of websites out there which can help. If you take this approach, it’s important to check:

  • the terms and conditions offered;
  • the type of cover you’re buying;
  • any limitations of the policy; and
  • the cost of the insurance premium.

With so many options available to you, you may prefer to get professional advice. Medical insurance brokers are experienced and know all the different providers and understand the product in all its complex intricacies.


Dedicated healthcare services for CLA members

CLA Healthcare gives you the opportunity to create your own healthcare plan and build the right level of cover to best suit your needs. Whether you are thinking of investing in private medical insurance for the first time, or have had a policy for a number of years, you can use the services to ensure you have the right level of cover and the right benefits at the right price.

In 2016, we saved CLA members on average 26% on their annual healthcare premium.

Contact CLA Healthcare on 01274 717361, email or visit to find out more.

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