Preventive Care for Seniors: What is Offered with Private Health Insurance?

20/12/2023

In our golden years, the importance of health and wellbeing often comes into sharper focus. As we age, preventive care becomes increasingly vital in maintaining our health, as does monitoring our bodies for any changes and symptoms - so is private health insurance a viable option when it comes to better managing our health and bodies as we get older?

In this article, we’re going to take a closer look at the role private health insurance plays when it comes to preventive care services for seniors in the UK, and why it's a worthy consideration for your health and wellbeing strategy.

What is Private Health Insurance?

Private health insurance, or private medical insurance (PMI), is a policy designed to cover the costs of private healthcare. It functions alongside the National Health Service (NHS), offering you more control over your healthcare choices and potentially quicker access to treatments and consultations.

Rather than replacing the NHS, private health insurance is intended to complement it. The NHS continues to provide essential services for chronic, emergency and incurable conditions, while your private health insurance policy can help cover the costs of unexpected or acute, short-term health concerns, from diagnosis to treatment.

Do note that there’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to PMI: basic plans might just cover in-patient treatment (aka operations or hospital treatment) while a more comprehensive plan might cover out-patient treatment, including diagnostics, scans, and initial appointments. 

Why is PMI Beneficial for Seniors?

As we age, our health needs often become more complex and diverse, and as statistics show, we tend to face a higher risk of falling ill. This is where health insurance over 60 proves its worth.

Private medical insurance can offer faster access to consultations, treatments, and procedures, reducing the potential stress and discomfort of extended waiting times.

Moreover, seniors with private health insurance can enjoy the flexibility of choosing their consultants and hospitals, while also having access to a broader range of treatments, some of which might not be readily available or may have restricted availability on the NHS. This choice and control over one's healthcare can contribute significantly to peace of mind and overall wellbeing in our later years.

Cancer Care

One of the foremost advantages of private health insurance is access to cancer care: many PMI policies include a range of cancer care and services, from screenings (so long as symptoms are present) to in-patient treatments. These services often include consultations with specialists, advanced diagnostic tests, and a wider range of treatment options, including some which might not be readily available on the NHS, as well as continuous support during the recovery process.

Quicker Screenings

While UK health insurance policies don’t cover routine screenings, another primary benefit of having a PMI is the ability to access quicker consultations if troubling symptoms arise. As seniors are more prone to certain health conditions like bowel cancer and breast cancer, early detection can significantly impact treatment outcomes. With private health insurance, a senior experiencing worrying symptoms can get expedited access to crucial consultations including mammograms and colonoscopies. Again, do note that health insurance does not cover routine screenings, but will offer a quicker consultation after you go to your GP with symptoms.

Digital GP Appointments and Prescription Deliveries

With age, mobility can sometimes become a concern, which is why many private health insurers offer digital services to make healthcare more accessible. Telemedicine, including online GP appointments, is increasingly popular, allowing seniors to consult with healthcare professionals from the comfort of their own homes. Moreover, prescription home delivery services - such as those offered by Bupa for a small fee - can ensure that necessary medications are delivered directly to your doorstep, reducing the need for trips to the pharmacy.

Faster Care

Finally, one of the primary reasons seniors opt for private medical insurance is the speed of care it offers. With private health insurance, waiting times for consultations, treatments, and procedures can be significantly reduced. This is particularly beneficial for seniors dealing with conditions that impact their day-to-day lives: as they can receive necessary treatment quicker, this can potentially result in a faster recovery and improved quality of life.

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