There is a fact of life that we cannot avoid - healthcare is expensive. A hip replacement costs £10,000 (Net Doctor, 2013
). Long term cancer treatment costs can run into hundreds of thousands of pounds (Telegraph, 2011) PMI insurers face the same challenge as the NHS – increasing demand for healthcare for an increasing cost.
It is an accepted fact of the PMI industry that premiums go up every year. The NHS, too has been increasing its budget by 4% per year, every year, for the past few decades. (.gov report, 2013
So with the ever rising cost of healthcare and health cover premiums, many people are looking for ways to reduce their premiums costs and to make PMI more cost effective. Below are some of our tips for doing this:
- Include a six week option – this is where you agree to pay for a policy for private treatment that only applies if the NHS waiting list is longer than 6 weeks.
If the waiting time is less than 6 weeks you would agree to be treated on the NHS.
This option can reduce your premium significantly.
- You can choose a higher excess on your policy. Like car or home insurance, PMI has the concept of insurance excess – this is the amount you agree to pay when you claim, before the insurer will step up and pay out.
Excesses for some PMI insurers can go from £100 to £5000. The higher the excess you specify, the less your monthly premium.
- You can choose a reduced hospital list. One version of this method is to restrict a policy holder to only using private units on NHS wards, rather than private hospitals.
The downside of this is that some consultants do not work in NHS private wards, which means if you want to be treated by a named consultant, it may not be possible for a reduced hospital list stay in a NHS hospital.
On the plus side, a reduced hospital list option can have a benefit - if you are being treated in an NHS private ward and there are serious complications, then emergency facilities are close by.
If you were being treated in a private hospital, there would be further to travel.
- You can reduce your outpatient cover – under a comprehensive policy, there will typically be unlimited outpatient cover, meaning you can have unlimited private outpatient consultations and tests in a given period.
There is an option with most insurers to reduce premiums by reducing outpatient cover from unlimited to for example £1500 or £1000 per year; this means, that if a private consultation costs £250, you can have four of them in a year before you will have to go self-pay or to the NHS.
Most in the industry agree £1000 of outpatient cover will be enough for one claim per year.
- You can pay your PMI premium yearly in full rather than monthly – most insurers will give a 5% discount for this.
- One great way to save on your PMI premium cost is by using a PMI intermediary when it comes to taking out a new policy or taking out a renewal.
Intermediaries (such as Usay Compare) will compare a wide range of insurers in order to find you the best level of cover at the best price.
When searching for an intermediary, make sure they are totally impartial and independent. This will ensure that you get the best deal.