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PRIVATE HEALTH INSURANCE: is it worth it?

(14 Posts)
SpawnChorus Tue 18-Aug-09 09:53:27

My dear old Dad has been paying for a BUPA policy for me (and more recently my family!) but is strapped for cash and can't afford it anymore. It's about £1700 per year for four of us.

We are totally brassic, and obv this is a HUGE amount of money to be spending on something "unnecessary". However, I have Crohn's disease and have recently been having a possible flare up. I'm pg so can't have any investigations until a month or two after the birth (i.e. until Oct/Nov). The policy will end in Sept, so I;m basically wondering if I should try to find the cash from somewhere to keep the policy going. Also, I'm guessing that if the policy lapses, I wouldn't ever be able to get cover in the future for my Crohn's disease (anyone know if that's the case?).

My greatest worry is the possibility of being denied life-saving treatment on the NHS. e.g. my Mum has breast cancer, and was given Herceptin (v expensive treatment) much earlier than she would have been on the NHS. I believe you are only eligible for Herceptin when your cancer prognosis is very poor and you only have months to live (or at least that was the case 5/6 years ago). My Mum was a "borderline" case but because she had private health ins she was given it. She's still clear of cancer (and is still on herceptin), and I have absolutely NO doubt that it's down to the fact that she was able to have it relatively early.

This is pretty rare, right? I mean if private health ins is just about swanky hospitals and getting your dodgy knee seen to more quickly then obv I would have no doubts about letting the policy expire. But if it's more of a life/death choice then erm...I might have to start planning my bank heist wink

Really interested to hear your thoughts.

StripeySuit Tue 18-Aug-09 10:12:49

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

SpawnChorus Tue 18-Aug-09 10:16:33

StripeySuit - yes, I've also had v good experiences with the NHS generally, but it does worry me that just maybe you might get a luckier break with the life threatening stuff if you go privately.

That's prob a good compromise re ad hoc private scans.

SpawnChorus Tue 18-Aug-09 11:21:43

Any more thoughts?

EldonAve Tue 18-Aug-09 11:33:25

If you are brassic you may be better off paying directly for your own private care

SpawnChorus Tue 18-Aug-09 13:33:01

Eldon - really? why? Does the current premium sound too pricey? It is for a family of four, not just for me. I haven't started looking around for cheaper policies (or an individual policy for me).

Or do you mean it might be better just to pay privately if/when I have a health problem, as per SS's suggestion? I suppose I'm just wondering how best to hedge my bets at the moment, as I do have a problem and I know it will be hundreds of £££ just to get it investigated privately, so maybe it's better just to cough up for the insurance. Hmmm.

EldonAve Tue 18-Aug-09 14:36:16

No idea if the premium is pricey or not

Would you be likely to claim for more than £1700 of care in 12 mths?
What excess does the policy have?

Would you consider having your investigations done on the NHS?

SpawnChorus Tue 18-Aug-09 15:25:05

Well the £1700 is for four of us. I need to find out how much it would be just for me I suppose. But anyway, for this year with my problem I think I could easily rack up £1700 in investigations. I would be perfectly happy to have them done on the NHS though.

However, my worry is that the investigations show up something awful (I'm thinking bowel cancer) and I could be in a situation like my Mum where she basically got v expensive treatment much earlier than she would have on the NHS, and has therefore got a much much better long term prognosis.

I can only hope that instances like my Mum's are extremely rare!

EvasMama Tue 18-Aug-09 16:15:54

With a pre existing condition you may be covered with a new insurer (a 'switch') and get a cheaper premium. It all depends on whether you have had a claim in the last 12 months with BUPA and also if you have any claims pending.
If you have been to your doctor /consultant and he knows that there is a claim or flareup pending then he would have to disclose that to any insurance company when you claim - so you must be careful to keep cover continued.
(I speak from experience, having just shopped around for a new policy for me, with a pre existing condition)
Talk to a broker or talk to the different providers (Norwich Union, Axa, Pru etc.) who offer fully comprehensive medical insurance. Freedom Insurance is also an option (they do a cashback so you can get treated where you want, but there may be a shortfall)
Good luck!

EvasMama Tue 18-Aug-09 16:17:40

just found the broker I used - Healthnetservices - 0800 999 08 999. It cant hurt to ask!

TheOnlyDailyMaleForMeisDH Tue 18-Aug-09 16:22:22

I just switched our company scheme to a mutual group for which the premium is guaranteed for life regardless of age. It works by you having a pot of money which you invest in as well as paying a premium (which you draw out of to contribute towards a percentage of any insurance payout). But pre-existing conditions are very tricky. It may be worth talking to a broker - we used the Health Insurance Group.

SpawnChorus Tue 18-Aug-09 20:19:53

That's really great info - thank you both!

I've spoken again to my Dad and we're going to probably go with the option of cutting the policy down to just me (not DH and the kids) for the next year. We're not sure yet how much cheaper it will be, but I'm sure it must be quite a bit less...He's offered to pay the year's premium and I can pay him back monthly.

If it's still too £££ for just me, then I'll definitely look into other cheaper insurers.

EldonAve Wed 19-Aug-09 07:47:06

moneysavingexpert does 2 guides that might be useful
private medical

Healthcare Cashplans

EvasMama Wed 19-Aug-09 09:59:51

Maybe keep the children on the policy so they have continued cover? it isnt usually massively costly (we were paying about £17 a month for our little one I think). Hope flare ups reduce and you have a happy time for the rest of the pregnancy

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