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How does private health insurance work in later life?

It used to be the case that insurers would place upper age limits on their private healthcare products, which would prevent the elderly from being included. However, in 2012, a law change made it illegal for insurance providers to discriminate against the elderly in that way. That has led many insurers to abolish age limits on some of their policies and even introduce specialist products that meet the specific needs of those in old age.

Given the increased likelihood of suffering from ill-health, is private health insurance for the elderly something you should consider, or is it just another cost that you could really do without?

Why might you consider private health insurance?

Private health insurance for the elderly gives you access to private healthcare if you suffer from any of the conditions that are covered by your particular policy. With the NHS treating more patients than ever before, waiting lists are getting longer. In fact, official figures show the number of people waiting more than 18 weeks for treatment has increased by 35 percent in the past year.

Private healthcare can offer significant advantages in terms of the timeframe, convenience, comfort and even the quality of the care you receive. So, it’s up to you to weigh up the cost of private health insurance against the potential benefits. 

What does private health insurance cover?

Health insurance for the elderly is designed to provide cover for short-term, curable conditions that require prompt treatment. The exact details of the conditions covered vary from policy to policy, but they tend to include things like:

  • Glaucoma
  • Hypertension
  • Arthritis, joint pain and back pain
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Osteoporosis / Osteopenia

A standard policy will cover consultations, nursing, hospital care and surgery, while more comprehensive policies can cover outpatient appointments, complementary medicine and even recuperation breaks. When it comes to claiming on your policy, you’ll usually need a referral from your doctor and authorisation from your insurance provider that the condition is covered.

What does it not usually cover?

Generally, private health insurance for the elderly does not cover pre-existing conditions. So, if you experience the symptoms of a condition before the start of your policy, the cost of your treatment may not be covered. 

What different types of cover are available?

You can buy whatever level of cover seems most appropriate for you. A basic policy may only cover your treatment and surgery as an inpatient. Standard policies are likely to include consultant appointments and aftercare as well. Then there is the top of the range policies that will certainly cost you, but they will cover every step of your treatment and provide a few little luxuries as well!

How can you reduce the cost of private health insurance?

Private health insurance for the elderly is certainly not cheap, but there are a few simple steps you can take to bring the price down.

  • Shop around – Never accept the first policy you’re offered. Using price comparison websites or asking friends and family to do so on your behalf will help you find the best price.
  • Tailor your policy – Never pay for policy extras you don’t need. If an insurance provider won’t let you tailor your policy, it’s time to look elsewhere.
  • Increase your excess – The more you agree to pay as an excess, the lower the cost of your premium will be. Research shows that paying an excess of £500 could reduce your premium by as much as a third.
  • Apply online – Many insurance providers offer discounts for those who apply online. If you’re not sure how, friends and family should be more than happy to help!

Quality and friendly care services

At Westgate Healthcare, we tailor a care plan to meet your specific needs. That means you only pay for the care you receive. Take a look at our range of care homes throughout England or get in touch with our team and they would be more than happy to have a chat with you about your requirements!

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