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Private medical insurance - is it worth it?

(39 Posts)
MalmMumma Tue 19-Sep-17 20:38:05

I've been thinking about this for a while. Neither DP or I get it through our employers and have managed ok so far. But we now have a four year old DS and are hitting 40. A few friends have it and said they wouldn't be without it, just in case.... a quick look at comparison websites suggests that premiums could be £1200 per year for the three of us. We don't have pre existing conditions but figure that we're probably better getting it when we are younger/healthier. Is it worth the money? Have you used it much or do you have it for peace of mind, just in case? Interested to hear your views so thanks in advance!

RainyApril Tue 19-Sep-17 20:51:20

I have private healthcare. I have found that the level of care is no better than with the NHS (often same specialists working for both) but you can be seen very quickly and the facilities are much nicer. I don't care about the facilities, those are just nice extras, but on two occasions it has given me such peace of mind to be seen very quickly (same day in one case).

Having said that, my parents don't have it but put money aside monthly that they dip into if they need a private consultation.

Herestoinsanity Tue 19-Sep-17 21:08:19

Speaking as someone who has a severe chronic illness I would definitely recommend It, I wish I had, the NHS is great it's free but it takes month to get an appointment with a specialist.
I ended up having to get a private consultation with one at the cost of £300 for an hour to finally get a diagnosis after months and months of waiting on the nhs.
Unfortunately now I can't get insurance.
If I wasn't already showing symptoms on record Id have got insurance the only place that will accept me now is 100 a month and can't use it for 2 years.

TakeMe2Insanity Tue 19-Sep-17 21:23:47

DH and I have it for a while now. Never claimed on it. Before DC was born they said give us the name as you have a name while in hospital. So we did. DC was tongue tyed. Hospital, midwife, gp all refused to do anything. GP sent us to SALT for a 6 week old! Private health care approved straight away and it was done just a day later it would have had to be a general.

My long point is it is worth it. But make sure you can always afford it as the day you cancel the next day wilo be the day you need it.

refusetobeasheep Tue 19-Sep-17 21:23:53

if you can't get through your employer will be pricey. first call ask if your employer will provide? i have it and you do get specialist appts very quickly.

abitembarrased Thu 21-Sep-17 01:09:24

I have it through work and it has proved money well spent when I was diagnosed with cancer earlier this year.

I had all my chemo on NHS. The main benefits for me - access to a specific consultant rather than just one of her team, quicker scans, access to procedures not available on NHS (e.g. A special port in my chest for delivery of chemo) and access to some drugs not yet available on NHS.

However depends where you live. I did chemo on NHS as the NHS hospital had access to a wider range of specialists than the private one and they worked as a team (medical and clinical oncologist, surgeon, radiographer, nutritionist, psychiatrist, physio etc etc)

vivaVasLagas Thu 21-Sep-17 02:07:06

"Worth it" is subjective of course but it is excellent.

As someone else said, not so much the level of care but the lack of waiting lists and facilities.

Operations work around your schedule as opposed to joining a long waiting list. When I gave birth, were were in a suite with a bed for DH, 1:2 nurse support etc.

DH had to have his knee pinned a few year ago and the care was flawless.

I wouldn't be without it!

TinselTwins Thu 21-Sep-17 02:16:07

I've used private health insurance in the past. The pro was immediate and longer appointments with a consultant, the con was that I felt over-treated, I felt I was having unnecessary extras so more could be billed back to the insurance company. And I did have some complications due to being unnecessarily over medicatec. I also felt unsafe in a private room after a private op. I fainted in there, luckily I had visitors at the time otherwise nobody would have noticed until the next nurse rounds. In an nhs bay another patient or staff would be there to raise the alarm: privacy is great when you're wellish but if you are poorly you don't really wanna be left alone!

QOD Thu 21-Sep-17 02:20:47

Only if you need to use it - facetious but true

TheFlandersPigeonMurderer Thu 21-Sep-17 04:49:10

That happened to a friend as well tinsel confused
I have it through work and have never had to use it <touches wood>
It's nice to know it's there, it could be the difference between returning quickly to work or being laid up for weeks waiting for NHS treatment or it could be a waste of money- don't suppose I'll know until the issue arises grin

TammySwansonTwo Thu 21-Sep-17 05:11:16

If I could get it, I most definitely would, especially with the state of the NHS. Unfortunately I have endometriosis and my symptoms started at 12 so I had pre existing conditions long before I could get it. At that age I was covered under my stepdads work policy and needed an ultrasound, rather than waiting weeks I had it the next day. Later on when no longer insured I paid out to see a specialist privately, and I'm having issues now getting to see a consultant and Getting the tests I need for potentially another condition - I so wish I had private insurance and could just get it done (it's been dragging on 10 years now). If you have no conditions and are healthy I would do it now.

Personally I don't really understand the point of separate cover just for cancer since that's one time the NHS usually has a rapid response pathway in place. I'd get a general policy if you have the money.

rubybleu Thu 21-Sep-17 06:25:40

Chronic illness mostly isn't covered under private health cover. They'll diagnose you with T2 diabetes/autoimmune/bad back but once it's stabilised, you can't get them to pay for ongoing care or more often, flare ups. You have to go back to the NHS or pay privately yourself.

It's one of the most frustrating aspects of UK private care insurance that other countries do so much better.

OlympicBonfire Thu 21-Sep-17 06:33:07

Was just going to say similar to rubyblue . None of us in my family have it ( I used to through my previous employer) but are lucky enough to be able to pay should any of us need to see a specialist quickly.

I phoned up about using it for my first mammogram as I was worried about the experience and thought going private might be a little more relaxed etc. They told me not to as the NHS have better facilities - frustrating.

SheSaidHeSaid Thu 21-Sep-17 06:36:56

All my family have it and it has been a huge help to myself, my DH, my mum and my dad. My bro and sis haven't needed theirs yet.

Battyoldbat Thu 21-Sep-17 06:47:41

It's like any insurance - worth its weight in gold if you need it, waste of money if you don't. But you'll never know which it's going to be.
We have it through work and it's been invaluable. We've both had several minor ops through it over the years and it comes into its own then; short waiting time, able to choose your own date, a time to turn up rather than turning up first thing and waiting all day, private rooms, nice food etc etc.

daisychain01 Thu 21-Sep-17 06:52:57

A friend of mine decided that, instead of paying the monthly premiums, she would save the money in her own savings account. Over time she had amassed quite a few £000 which she justified was a good enough nest egg in case she needed physio treatment etc. which tends to be lower down the NHS priority list than cancer.

Maybe generalising, but the NHS does tend to prioritise cancer care and is very responsive with early diagnostic scans if a risk is there e.g. A breast lump, bleeding, or other irregularity.

Mainly insurance is good for sports injury treatment and getting to see a specialist quickly then it's back to NHS for surgery etc.

Rufustherenegadereindeer1 Thu 21-Sep-17 08:09:39

We have had it for years through dh job and not really used it

In the last two years we have thrashed the thing, two MRI, blood tests, 3 operations, 3 sets of physio, ultrasound and probably a few things i have forgotten

I would just say though that I noticed that one appointment seemed to be further ahead than usual. A friend of mine who works in the industry says that where she works the waiting list is getting longer

So i dont know how true that it is or whether it would make enough of a difference to matter to you

AJPTaylor Thu 21-Sep-17 08:19:26

Its tough and i suppose the answer is based on how risk averse you are and whether that money will be a struggle or is a small fraction of your spending money.
I had cover at work for 20 years never once used it. Inevitably i changed jobs and discovered in my new employment health check i needed a hysterectomy within the month. No health care in place and indeed no sick pay!
I have to say though apart from having 2 sleepless nights on a ward i would not have got better medical care privately.
Now i have 5k stashed just in case it is needed and i feel happy with that.

2014newme Thu 21-Sep-17 08:23:04

Yes get it from work.
It's paid for 6 months speech therapy for my dd, at £75 per session 2 sessions per week it would have been very expensive otherwise and nhs speech therapy is on its knees.
Paid for 6 months that spinal rehab for me
So. It's not just hospital issues it covers chiropractor, physio, etc
Plus an annual health check

5rivers7hills Thu 21-Sep-17 08:42:12

Like all insurance - total waste of money..... until you need it!!!

AJPTaylor Thu 21-Sep-17 08:47:10

I also think as with most insurance you pay for yourself: the minute you start using it the premiums increase!

HappydaysArehere Thu 21-Sep-17 08:59:55

It's an interesting question. However, over the years have come to the conclusion that if you can put money away instead of paying fees which increase with age and need it is possible to at least have the means to pay when you really need it. I know people who found that their costs were so increased that they gave it up just when they really needed to use it. It's all down to luck. If you don't use it for years you could have saved a good pot of money with no fear of refusal if conditions are related. Also, there is different levels of cover. Some policies cover hospitals which are more able to deal with really serious problems such as heart conditions etc. They used to be classified as A, B or C. Don't know how this is defined at the present time.

wizzywig Thu 21-Sep-17 09:03:10

Dont the premiums shoot up as soon as you use it ?

Rufustherenegadereindeer1 Thu 21-Sep-17 10:21:51


As its a work thing dh payments havnt increased

Although i worked in private medical insurance years ago ive forgotten everything

Apart from the women who rang us before ringing an ambulance for her husband who was having a heart attack ...remember that one alright

kmmr Thu 21-Sep-17 11:19:35

I had private cover through work when I got cancer. I didn't even know I had it! It was quicker treatment and I had an unusual treatment that wasn't really available on the nhs. By a top surgeon, who soon after have up all NHS work due to the cuts.
End result, no chemo or rads, and no infertility.

The surgery gave me a chance of a baby, which would have been impossible with standard treatment (which was a hysterectomy). I think the surgery is more available now, but at the time I wouldn't have even found out about it probably.

Anyway, end result is I got to have a baby! And I'm healthy. Worth it for me.

And a private room, and nice food. But that was totally irrelevant.

So, I'd recommend it if you can.

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