The Cost of PMI vs Self-Pay
Photo: Moyan Brenn: /CC

The Cost of PMI vs Self-Pay or Pay as You Go Healthcare

Healthcare Choices

For healthcare today in the UK there are pretty much 3 choices -

1. Taking out Private Medical Insurance (PMI)
2. Going with the NHS
3. “Self-pay” healthcare

For those that want to, the NHS is free at the point of delivery, and provides a good service.

On the downside, if you are diagnosed with something and need treatment, you could be waiting weeks or even months before an operation. The conditions are also less salubrious than a private hospital.

An alternative to using the NHS is to take out PMI and allow for the insurer to pay medical costs when needed. Obviously this service costs a monthly premium, but the benefits are numerous.

Self Pay

The third option that someone could take regarding healthcare today is to pay for “Self-Pay” treatment. The logic behind this is that by paying up front for one off treatments, you save the monthly PMI premiums, whilst still beating the NHS queues.

The people who chose this strategy may be relatively affluent younger or middle aged people who are in good health, who would normally be purchasers of PMI, but cannot see its true worth.

They think that illness and injury may “never happen to them”, or at least be a long way off, and that they can effectively afford to take a chance on their healthcare. They basically say that “if something happens, I’ll just pay for it myself, and save on the premiums.”

So why is PMI a wiser, more sensible choice over Pay as You Go healthcare?

Well, the first reason is that people who avoid PMI because of the premiums in order to go direct, don’t actually realise the very high cost of 21st Century medical treatment.

Costs of Treatment

Those thinking “we’ll save thousands on PMI premiums by going Self-Pay and only pay a one off fee when we need treatment – an operation should only cost us a few hundred quid if we need it…” Will be shocked to hear that an average operation, such as a knee replacement, can cost upwards of £10,000 (HCA Hospitals).

And that’s without any complications.

In the face of these sort of everyday medical costs, PMI starts to look like seriously good value, with many premiums being less than £100 per month.

And also – for more serious illnesses such as cancer, treatment can run into hundreds of thousands of pounds. This is clearly unsustainable for most people on Self-Pay.

Cancer cover does, however, come as standard on most PMI policies.

Clearly, for this scenario, PMI is the best private choice.

A second reason for PMI being a good choice over private direct is that PMI insurers will pay for any subsequent treatment for complications resulting from an initial treatment. Many medical consultations, tests and treatment today are complex and things do go awry from time to time.

The costs of this can stack up very quickly; with PMI, you’re covered; with Self-Pay, you’re not.

A decision made to save money could end up costing you thousands, on top of what you have already paid for consultation, diagnosis and treatment.    

A third reason why PMI is a better choice than going Self-Pay is the scope of expensive medication that is available to you.

When you go direct, you have to pay for each and every medication you need, and you may not have access to the latest treatments; for example, new cancer drugs. With PMI, you have access to more of the newest meds that are currently being trialled.

Peace of Mind and Security

A last and perhaps most important reason for going with health insurance instead of Self-Pay Healthcare is the peace of mind it delivers.

Think of the security you’d feel if you had health cover, vs the sheer unpredictability of managing your health on your own. This feeling of peace of mind is what PMI is really selling – it’s priceless.

So you can see there is a range of reasons why PMI is great value, and is a better choice for those thinking about healthcare options, particularly those considering going Pay as You Go.

Make the right choice – choose PMI.

Get a quote from us today!