Health insurance is no longer a luxury reserved for the wealthiest. Many ordinary people on average incomes are choosing to support themselves and their families with the safety net of private health insurance. With news in the media daily about the failures and funding dilemmas of our beloved NHS, it’s really no wonder many of us are taking steps to protect our future healthcare options.
If you are considering private health insurance, searching the market place for information and ensuring you get the right policy can feel quite daunting. The health insurance field is a bit of a minefield and navigating it requires a certain level of expertise.
If you have the time and the inclination you can do the research yourself to find a suitable health insurer. However, be mindful that when approaching health insurers individually you’ll be getting their sales pitch, so it’s a good idea to refer to other sources for information as well.
One option when looking for health insurance is to use a health insurance broker. To explain further we’ve put together a guide on health insurance and why it might be a good idea to use a health insurance broker.
Firstly, let’s take a look at the basics.
What are the different types of health insurance?
Broadly speaking there are two main types of health insurance, fully underwritten and moratorium. For fully underwritten policies you’ll need to give your insurer your full medical history. The respective policy usually offers wider cover and is more expensive. With moratorium plans you will only need to give limited medical information, but the cover will have blanket exclusions for some pre-existing conditions.
Ultimately, there are many pick-and-mix style health insurance policies available, so you will be able to select a policy that suits you best. Broadly speaking the more extensive the cover, the more expensive it is.
What does health insurance cover?
What your health insurance covers will depend on your provider, your policy and your level of cover. Most policies will include
- Inpatient treatment, including tests and surgery.
- Hospital costs for inpatient treatment, such as accommodation and limited nursing care.
- Outpatient treatment to see a consultant, and it usually also covers any tests. This aspect of most health insurance policies includes limits on types of outpatient treatment and caps on costs.
- Some drugs not available on the NHS, but have been approved by NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence). This only applies to some policies.
- Some policies cover psychiatric treatment, while others do not.
What is a health insurance broker?
A health insurance broker represents a variety of insurance companies. A broker looks for the best health insurance deal across a range of health insurers to get a deal to suit you and your health needs. Brokers aren’t married to any one particular company or plan, so they will be working in your best interests, not in the interest of a particular health insurer.
A broker can also advise you on how best to bundle your family or business health insurance policies in ways that an agent acting for a single insurer might not be able to. Advisors within brokers are usually highly skilled and trained in the health insurance market.
What are the advantages of using a health insurance broker?
- Brokers are not up-selling any one particular health insurance policy or a range of policies from just one insurer. They will look for the best deal across a number of different policies and a variety of insurers.
- Brokers have extensive experience of the health insurance sector and will have insight into providing the best insurance solutions to suit you. They are experts at navigating the complexities of the health insurance sector.
- Health insurance brokers can help you lower your risk and make wise health insurance decisions, because they are highly skilled in navigating the health insurance sector.
- When your circumstances change, your health insurance broker is at the end of the phone and will give you impartial advice to guide you through any required changes to your policy.
- A good broker will advocate for you and give you impartial advice to make the right decision about your health and protection insurance policies.
- Brokers are more likely to be clear about the costs involved. They’re not attached to any one insurer, so you are less likely to be hit by any hidden fees.
What are the disadvantages?
The main disadvantage of using a health insurance broker is that they won’t be linked to every single health insurer out there. They will have a number of health insurers they work with, but that doesn’t mean you will definitely get absolutely the best deal for you. There could be an insurer they aren’t linked to who would suit you better. You’ll have to weigh up whether or not you have the time to do the proper research.