Is PMI right for me?

2 June 2018

The National Health Service (NHS) is a fabulous institution and when it was created in post-war Britain, the concept and positive vigour it provided to the nation was one that was greatly needed at the time. The NHS still remains one of the most enviable health care systems in the world. However, the ever-increasing population and financial constraints within the NHS have led to shortcomings causing huge delays for patients and long waiting times for treatment. If you are self-employed or on statutory sick pay and need to return to work, delays for medical treatment can be a real challenge.

You may therefore be tempted by one of the many private medical insurance (PMI) policies available on the market which are designed to meet individual needs and to offer the quickest access to medical treatment. With 10% of the population having private medical insurance and over one million operations performed privately every year, PMI certainly seems like a viable option.

However, you need to think carefully before taking out private medical insurance. Pre-existing illnesses, long-term conditions and emergency treatment are not covered under PMI. Speaking to a seasoned insurance advisor who knows the policies available in the market place can pay huge dividends. For example, some policies offer a restricted choice of hospitals, limited cancer cover or not enough outpatient cover.

How your premiums are calculated can also be different from insurer to insurer. Even though most insurers will offer you the choice of individual or family cover, if you’re opting for family cover, some insurers take the age of the oldest person in the family and base the premium on this, while others cost it on an individual bases, which may work out cheaper.

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