How Does Private Healthcare Work?

As NHS waiting lists continue to lengthen, more and more people are exploring how private healthcare can complement our treasured health service. But if you’ve never had private healthcare before, figuring out what’s what can be a little daunting.

But don’t worry we’ve got you covered and in this short guide on how does private healthcare work, we are going to provide you with everything you need to make an informed and confident decision.

[Related reading: More People Turning To PMI As NHS Backlogs Continue]

What Is Private Healthcare?

Private healthcare, also known as private medical insurance, is a type of insurance product that is designed to help when you need medical treatment by paying for you to receive it in a private hospital or facility.

It should be noted that private healthcare usually only covers the costs of medical treatment for acute conditions i.e. conditions that are considered to be sudden in onset and curable, like a broken bone, a skin disorder or an infection. In contrast, chronic conditions usually take time to develop and tend to worsen over time, like arthritis, diabetes or heart disease.

Why Do I Need Private Healthcare?

Most people opt for private healthcare because of the peace of mind it affords. While the NHS does an amazing job and we are incredibly lucky to have it, stretched budgets and rising patient numbers mean that waiting for treatment can often take months, sometimes years.

With private healthcare, you can benefit from speedy access to medical treatment in facilities that provide an extremely high level of care.You can also usually choose your preferred doctor and preferred hospital.

In a nutshell, most people take out private healthcare so they can:

  • Get fast access to treatment
  • Choose where they want to be treated and by whom
  • Receive an often higher quality of care

What Does Private Healthcare Cover?

As already mentioned, most private healthcare only covers acute medical conditions. Now that’s not to say you won’t be able to find cover that includes chronic conditions, just that it’s not usually the norm.

Private healthcare usually covers the following:

  • Medical tests
  • Emergency services
  • Surgery
  • Pregnancy, maternity and newborn care
  • Rehabilitative and habilitative services
  • Hospital accommodation
  • Medical professionals’ fees
  • Outpatient procedures and consultations

How Can I Lower The Cost Of Private Healthcare?

A pertinent question many people ask when considering private healthcare is how they can lower the cost. 

The cost of private medical insurance usually depends on a number of factors that you can’t influence, such as your age, gender, lifestyle, medical history and occupation. Nevertheless, there are a few ways in which you can secure lower premiums.

First, you can take out private medical insurance with a higher excess – a pre-agreed sum of money you will pay to your insurance provider should you make a claim. 

Another way to potentially lower the cost of your private healthcare is to not claim on your policy frequently. So for a minor condition you might choose to use the NHS instead, or pay for private healthcare using your savings to avoid making a claim. This will boost the chances of your renewal premium being less.

The final way to potentially reduce the cost of private healthcare is by comparing all of the different options available and securing a policy that is right for you (something that we can help you do).

[Related reading: NHS Taps Private Hospitals To Deal With Waiting List Backlog]


So how does private healthcare work? Hopefully, this short guide has answered most of your questions. However, if you’ve still got some, contact us today to see how we can help you discover what private healthcare options are available and secure the right level of cover for your needs.


Author: Darren Perkins - Sales Director