Health insurance glossary

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Health insurance glossary of terms

We’ve put together this helpful glossary to explain the terms you may come across when buying private medical insurance (PMI).

Advice

Advice is defined as any consultation regarding symptoms or abnormalities that you have received from a general practitioner (GP), therapist, or other healthcare specialist.

Acute condition

An acute condition is a disease, illness or injury that is likely to respond to treatment that should return you to full health.

Annual renewal date

The anniversary of the date on which your private health insurance policy starts. When your renewal date is due, Usay Compare will search the market to make sure you’re getting the best PMI cover for your needs and your budget.

Acupuncturist

An acupuncturist is a medical practitioner who specialises in acupuncture and is registered under the relevant act , or a practitioner of acupuncture who is a member of the British Acupuncture Council (BAcC).

Broker

A private health insurance broker works to match clients with a specialist insurance company or policy.

Certificate of Registration

The Certificate of Registration issued by the private health insurance provider, or the certificate that confirms:

  • The level of health cover
  • The people covered by the policy
  • Their dates of birth
  • The start date of the policy
  • The policyholder’s address
  • How you’ve chosen to pay – including the amount and when the premium is due

Chronic conditions

A chronic condition is one that requires ongoing treatment or monitoring, continues indefinitely, has no known cure, or could come back.

CT scans

A CT scan is a medical diagnostic tool that takes detailed internal images of body structures using a rotating X-ray beam.

Curative intent

Curative intent applies when treatment is administered with a reasonable expectation that it will restore the patient to the state of health they enjoyed before diagnosis, and that the patient will be alive and disease free five years after the start of the treatment.

Day patients

A day patient is someone who is admitted to a hospital or unit for medically supervised recovery and does not stay overnight.

Diagnostic tests

Diagnostic tests are a series of investigations such as CT scans, MRI scans, blood tests and X-rays to determine the cause of health-related symptoms.

Excess

An excess is a way to reduce your private health insurance premiums by volunteering to pay the first part of any claim, up to a fixed amount of money. Some insurers include a compulsory excess on their policies.

Exclusion

An exclusion is anything not covered by your private health insurance policy – for example, medical treatment for injuries or illnesses sustained from drug abuse.

FCA

The Financial Conduct Authority. Genuine private health insurance intermediaries and brokers will always state their FCA registration number. You can check that any business is legitimate by looking it up on the FCA register.

Full medical underwriting

Full medical underwriting means you need to disclose your full medical history when you apply for private medical insurance. As a result, your insurer may exclude cover for pre-existing conditions.

General practitioner

A general practitioner is a doctor who is on the GP register of the General Medical Council and has a licence to practice. In non-emergency cases, your GP is the first person to see regarding your symptoms.

Group policy

An annual private health insurance contract for a minimum number of employees in a company.

Homeopath

A homeopath is a medical practitioner who specialises in homeopathy and is registered under the relevant act, or a practitioner of homeopathy who holds full membership of the Faculty of Homeopathy.

In-patients

An in-patient is someone who occupies a bed in hospital for a night or longer while undergoing treatment for a health condition.

Intermediary

An intermediary is an insurance broker or agent who represents customers for insurance transactions. Insurance intermediaries deal with multiple insurance companies, which means they can search the market to find the most suitable and affordable insurance products for their clients’ needs.

IPT

Insurance premium tax (IPT) is a UK government-imposed tax on insurance premiums, currently 12%. All premiums quoted by Usay Compare include IPT.

Moratorium

A moratorium is an application for insurance without medical disclosure. Generally, you will not be covered for any conditions that existed in the five years before you took out the policy, but you may regain cover for those conditions if they do not recur during the first two years of your new policy. This includes having symptoms of, treatment or medication for, or advice about the condition. Moratorium terms vary from insurer to insurer.

MRI scan

An MRI scan is a medical tool used to diagnose symptoms using magnets and radio frequency waves to capture cross-sectional images of the body.

NICE

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence.

No-claims discount

A no-claims discount (NCD) is a discount awarded annually to a policyholder depending on their claims experience during the previous policy year.

No-claims discount protection

NCD protection enables you to make one claim in each policy year without adversely affecting your no-claims discount.

Open referral

An open referral is where your GP states that treatment is necessary, and the type of specialist you require that treatment from, without specifying the specialist’s name.

Out-patients

An out-patient is someone who attends hospital or a clinic but is not admitted as a day or in-patient and does not stay overnight.

Palliative care

Palliative care is specialised medical care for people with serious illnesses, designed to relieve patients from symptoms, pain and stress.

Personal medical exclusions

Exclusions or conditions that may be applied to your policy if you are fully medically underwritten on taking out your policy or on transfer.

Physiotherapist

A physiotherapist is a medical practitioner who practises physiotherapy and is registered under the relevant act.

Policy

A policy is a contract of insurance between you and your insurer.

Practitioner

A practitioner is defined as a practising member of certain professions related to medicine, from dieticians, nurses and orthoptists to psychologists, psychotherapists and speech therapists. When a practitioner provides such services to you as part of your treatment, those services form part of the private hospital charges.

Pre-existing conditions

A pre-existing condition is a condition that you have previously suffered with, sought advice about or received treatment for.

Premium

The premium is the sum of money you pay to your private health insurance company either annually or monthly to be covered for the cost of private healthcare treatment.

Reduced hospital cover

Reduced hospital cover is a way to save money on your private health insurance by opting out of receiving treatment at certain high-end private hospitals.

Remission

Remission is a clinical state where a disease is suppressed and under control, or the patient is symptom free and apparently cured.

Remission of cancer

Remission of cancer is a clinical state in which there is no objective evidence of disease, or the disease is under control and the patient is symptom free and apparently cured.

Six-week wait

Some private medical insurance policies offer a six-week wait option to reduce the cost of cover. If you choose this option and the NHS can provide treatment within six weeks, you will be treated on the NHS instead of claiming on your insurance policy. However, if the NHS is unable to provide treatment within six weeks the cost of private treatment is covered by your policy. This clause does not normally apply to consultations and tests.

Specialist

A specialist is a medical practitioner with particular training in an area of medicine (such as consultant surgeons, consultant anaesthetists and consultant physicians) with full registration under the relevant medical act.

Specified condition

A specified condition is a medical condition associated with, for example, the following pre-existing conditions: diabetes, raised blood pressure (hypertension) or ongoing monitoring as a result of a Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) test.

Switch

Customers switching from an existing medical insurance policy to a new one on switch terms will be covered for any health conditions that arose since taking out their original private health insurance policy, and will not face any extra exclusions.

Therapist

A therapist is a medical practitioner registered under the relevant medical act, such as an osteopath or chiropractor.

Treatment

A treatment can be defined as any medical diagnostics, surgery or services needed to relieve or cure an injury or illness.

Underwriting

Underwriting is the process all insurers go through to establish how likely you are to claim on your policy – in other words, how much of a risk you are. When you take out PMI, you will be underwritten on a moratorium, switch, or full medical underwriting basis. The process of underwriting can affect the price you pay for your cover, and may affect how you’re covered for any illness or condition you have at the time you take out the plan (see pre-existing conditions).

Useful health insurance guides

We know insurance isn’t always the easiest subject to understand, so we’ve produced a range of helpful, plain English guides to clear up any confusion and answer your questions. Choose a guide from the list below to find out more about private medical insurance.
View all the guides

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