Home > Keeping Healthy > Health Insurance in Retirement

Health Insurance in Retirement

By: Jeff Durham - Updated: 10 Sep 2010 | comments*Discuss
 
Private Health Insurance Private Medical

Private health or medical insurance policies provide cover for the costs accured for private medical treatment for curable, short-term medical conditions. In essence, it allows you to jump the NHS queue for minor, non-life threatening conditions. It isn't an alternative to the NHS. For example, private hospitals don't have casualty departments, and do not necessarily provide a better service or care, but it does enable you to get the treatment more quickly and at a time and place to suit you.

What is covered?

Private health insurance will cover the costs of specialists, surgery, drugs and X-rays, accommodation and nursing bills in a private hospital or in a private ward of an NHS hospital, . You will get better facilities, better food and a private room often with a phone and television.

It doesn't generally cover long term illnesses like asthma, diabetes and multiple sclerosis, for example, nor will it cover pre-existing medical conditions. In other words, you can't buy medical insurance today for an operation you know you'll need in a few months' time. Policies also generally refuse to cover the cost of treating conditions such as alcoholism/drug abuse, AIDS/HIV, infertility, normal pregnancy or cosmetic surgery.

There are different tiers of private health insurance plans, from budget to standard and then comprehensive. So, as well as comparing price, it's important to determine what each level of policy covers you for.

Some insurers will accept people of any age whilst others have an age limit. However, the older you are, the more expensive it is. This means it tends to price people out of the market, just when they need it most. For the older generation, you can usually guarantee two things. Firstly, if you're over 50, your premiums will start to rocket and, secondly, insurance companies tend to deal in hard facts so even if you're going to the gym every week, eat the correct foods and are, seemingly, in the best of health, you'll generally be viewed as equal a risk as a couch potato eating junk food. That said, health insurance companies have started to realise that people are living longer and are, in general, taking better care of themselves than in past generations so several reputable companies have begun to properly focus on the older generation by offering different sorts of private health insurance plans. However, shopping around is the key for the over 50s when considering the merits of a particular private health insurance plan.

What about the NHS?

For many people, private health insurance isn't an option so what do we get from the NHS?

Well, the NHS' services are paid for out of the taxes we pay and are free at the point of delivery for all those who qualify. It provides the majority of healthcare in the UK from visiting your doctor (GP), having free access to accident and emergency departments, long term health care and dentistry, although the latter only provides free treatment to a certain extent. The advantage of the NHS is that it is available to everyone. For those who take out private health insurance, they don't do it as a replacement to NHS services but mostly as a top up to what the NHS can provide. For the majority of those who have private health insurance, it can cut waiting times by offering certain operations and procedures more quickly and the facilities are usually of a higher standard in the majority of private hospitals.

There are many companies offering private health insurance so it is important to seek advice first to ensure that you purchase the most appropriate cover for you. An independent private health insurance broker will usually be able to advise you.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
Why not be the first to leave a comment for discussion, ask for advice or share your story...

If you'd like to ask a question one of our experts (workload permitting) or a helpful reader hopefully can help you... We also love comments and interesting stories

Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
Topics
Latest Comments
  • Wendy
    Re: Clubs to Join in Retirement
    I'm 63 and still working but love walking, swimming & days out. I drive & am happy to travel. I'd love to have a friend to walk or…
    23 September 2020
  • hillmill
    Re: Clubs to Join in Retirement
    Hi, I recently lost my husband and I am looking for companions that would like to meet up and maybe do day trips and coffee meet…
    21 September 2020
  • Jeanne
    Re: Clubs to Join in Retirement
    I have recently moved to Long Buckby Northamptonshire living with my Son and family, I would love to have female friend to chat to…
    16 September 2020
  • Shylady
    Re: Clubs to Join in Retirement
    I am a young 71 year old and lost my husband last year am looking for someone who has the same interests and would enjoy my…
    14 September 2020
  • Dolly
    Re: Clubs to Join in Retirement
    I am a 68 year old lady I have just lost my beloved husband due to the virus he was 71 and in good health so it was very sudden I…
    13 September 2020
  • Weebilly1
    Re: Travel Concessions for Over 60s
    I'm am on my pension I'm 67 years old and can i get a train ticket for a year
    12 September 2020
  • Trish
    Re: Clubs to Join in Retirement
    I am a young at heart 81 year old, lives in Paignton and wonder whether there is anyone out there who would like some occasional…
    11 September 2020
  • Sheila
    Re: Clubs to Join in Retirement
    Hi. I'm 67 and newly retired. Would love to meet men and women for chats and giggles. I love walking and visits to the countryside…
    7 September 2020
  • MXW
    Re: Learning for Free in Retirement
    Hey Retirement Expert - there are so many unanswered questions here. What's the point? It gives a very bad impression of the…
    7 September 2020
  • Slacky
    Re: Learning for Free in Retirement
    I am 56 in receipt of benefits and need a GCSE in maths to start an access course. I live in Machynlleth, Powys, and am…
    24 August 2020