There are two main types of private health care plans; a health cash plan and private medical insurance, but is one better than the other? This article will cover health cash plans and private medical insurance policies and explain the key features of each type of plan.
Private medical insurance
When evaluating the options for private medical insurance, it’s worth considering that recent statistics have shown that 13% of U.K. consumers say they have a private medical insurance policy and 53% say they would like to pay for private health care.
Purchasing this type of insurance is also an option for sole traders looking for an extra layer of cover should they require additional support when facing a health issue, as well as for larger businesses looking to enhance their employee benefit programmes.
Key features of private medical insurance
This pays for an admission to the hospital whilst receiving treatment, as well as the treatment itself.
Outpatient care covers the cost of treatments, tests and consultations for patients who do not require an overnight stay.
Remote GP service
With a remote appointment, the GP can write a private prescription or make a referral following the consultation.
Telephone counselling support
Most private medical insurance policies offer a 24/7 counselling service by telephone.
Speed of treatment
One of the key benefits of a private medical insurance policy is that the medical treatment on offer is usually available quicker than on the NHS, although any injury requiring immediate emergency care will still require a visit to an NHS A&E unit.
The average premium for a private health insurance policy in the U.K. is approx. £1,435 per year, although individual premiums can vary, and employees insured under company insurance plans can attract a much lower premium.
If you are looking for added health care protection at a lower premium for yourself or your employees, a health cash plan is another option available.
Health cash plan
A health cash plan is a health care policy with a much lower cost than private medical insurance, with some plans costing under £1 per week. A key difference between a private medical insurance policy and a health cash plan is that a private health care policy will pay a medical diagnostic or treatment bill on behalf of the policyholder, whilst a health cash plan works on a ‘claim back’ basis.
This means the health cash plan holder will have to pay out for a check-up or treatment in the first instance, before claiming back the payment outlay from their provider, in addition to payment of a monthly premium.
Over 595,000 health cash plan claims were paid out in 2017, but what does a health cash plan cover? There are many benefits available with health cash plans, depending on the level of plan purchased.
This includes coverage of fees for private blood tests, allergy tests, cancer screening and much more.
Most health cash plans will pay a set amount per night if you or an employee is admitted to the hospital, depending on the level of cover purchased.
Dental & optical
This covers the cost of routine check-ups, as well as payment toward dental treatment and optical care.
Physical & alternative therapies
Health cash plans can cover physical therapies including osteopathy, physiotherapy and chiropractic treatments, as well as alternative therapies including acupuncture and homeopathy. These plans will pay toward consultations and treatment up to a set annual limit.
Similar to a private medical policy, health cash plans can offer remote GP appointments.
Telephone counselling support
Health cash plans frequently offer a 24/7 counselling service by telephone, similar to that offered by a private medical policy.
Speed of payment
Many health cash plans offer payment within two working days of receiving a claim with receipt.
Private medical insurance vs health cash plan, other factors to consider
Before deciding whether private medical insurance or a health cash plan is best for you or your employees, ensure you also consider the final premium/plan price including optional extras and administration fees, the claim limits available on each policy and any excess fees.
About WIS Business Protection
We offer a wide range of products from a large panel of insurers, with specialist expertise in business insurance plans.
As an independent firm we have access to the whole of the market, if you would like to find out more about how we can help you find the right business protection insurance for you, contact us today.