Why Invest in Health Insurance?

fHealth or medical insurance is a type of protective insurance that can help alleviate the cost of healthcare and medical treatment when you need to see a doctor, visit a specialist or require access to certain treatments. Health insurance is most commonly acquired as a private purchase for a sole-policy holder or under a family-policy, although some organisations do offer private health insurance as an employment perk.

Health insurance is usually offered in different plans or tiers, with some plans covering extensive treatment and diagnostics and others covering or reducing the cost of basic testing and treatments. Some medical insurance plans include copay or coinsurance policies which request the patient pay a small fee upfront each time they require care or a smaller share of the total bill, i.e. the patient pays 20% of an MRI scan and the insurance covers 80%.

Benefits of Health Insurance

The main aim of health insurance is to help patients cover the cost of any care they require for injury or illnesses. However, an additional benefit of high-tier plans is access to treatments, drugs and diagnostic imaging that isn’t normally available to those receiving care under public health services. This might be because further studies need to be carried out into the effectiveness of privately available treatments or the newer treatments and drugs available are still quite expensive and aren’t cost-effective for the public health sector.

For example, proton beam therapy used in cancer treatment is a service that isn’t readily available across all public health services. It is, however, more readily available for private cancer patients who self-pay or have private medical insurance in a network that includes the cancer centre network that offers proton beam therapy. Further information around the effectiveness and availability of proton therapy in your network can often be found in the proton beam therapy frequently asked questions from your nearest cancer centre.

Private medical insurance can make it easier for these new treatments and drugs to eventually make their way to public healthcare services and ensure all patients can benefit from state-of-the-art medical technology.

In some areas, private health insurance can allow you access to more comfortable facilities such as waiting areas, private consultation areas or treatment rooms and help you get seen faster. In the UK for example, the current waiting period for physiotherapy on the national health service can be several weeks however, through private insurance can be arranged in a few days.

How Health Insurance Works

Most medical insurance works on a ‘shared-risk’ system, this means that all the enrollees including yourself pay a recurring premium (often monthly or annually) that goes into a large shared account. When an enrolled member requires medical care or treatment, the cost is taken from this shared account to cover the cost, often at a reduced rate that has been agreed between the insurance provider and the network of hospitals and treatment clinics. Largely, the general population is quite healthy and so the risk to insurance providers is carefully managed and studied to ensure their enrollees are fully covered throughout the policy lifetime.

Finding Insurance

The right health insurance for you is a personal choice, in some cases, it might not be required if your community is supported by quality public health care services but for many people, health insurance is necessary to ensure they can receive care throughout their life.

It is important to carefully review the details of different health insurance plans including specific copay or coinsurance clauses to find the right plan for you and compare plans between insurance providers to ensure you get the best rate.

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