If you live in the UK, you’re lucky enough to have healthcare through the National Health Service (NHS), which allows for free doctor appointments and treatment, as well as assistance with prescriptions.
There are some disadvantages of the system, however, including the fact, there are waiting lists for non-emergency procedures and that you may be limited in the specialists you can see. And as a personal trainer, sometimes you can’t wait days or weeks to get an ache or pain looked at, or you may need to see a specific specialist get your condition resolved.
For individuals that aren’t having their needs met through NHS, private health insurance is a good alternative. If you’re unfamiliar with how private health insurance works, here is some basic information to help you get started.
What is private health insurance?
Private health insurance is meant to complement the existing support offered by the NHS, not replace it. When you take out a private insurance policy, you get more flexibility with your healthcare options. The two main types of policies offered are individual and group. Individual policies cover only one person. You can work directly with an insurer to get one. Group policies, however, are more typically offered by employers. Check with your employer to see if they have a group policy as an employee benefit before you purchase an individual policy.
What are the advantages of private health insurance?
As mentioned above, the main advantage of private health insurance is that you get more flexibility with your healthcare options. You’ll have more timely access to treatment, quick referrals to specialists, and have access to private hospitals. Sometimes when you’re treated through NHS hospitals, you’re placed in an open ward with little privacy. With a private health insurance policy, you’ll have access to private rooms where you can receive treatment with more comfortable accommodations.
Are there any exclusions?
Yes, all private health insurance policies will have exclusions. Policies are meant to cover illnesses or injuries that will respond quickly to treatment. Most policies will not cover chronic or long-term conditions. If you have a medical condition such as diabetes, it likely will not be covered under private health insurance. Policies will also not provide coverage for substance abuse-related issues or for non-medical cosmetic surgery.
Most policies will also have exclusions regarding pregnancy. They typically will not provide coverage for pregnancy-related issues such as morning sickness or childbirth, but they will provide coverage for complications such as miscarriages.
What should you look for in a policy?
There are several different factors you’ll need to consider when looking at policies. You’ll need to see what inpatient and outpatient coverages are provided. For example, some policies will only cover minor procedures where you’ll receive same-day treatment. They may not be willing to cover procedures that require you to stay overnight. You’ll also want to consider what other benefits the policy includes. Mental health treatment and dental procedures are considered extra benefits within most policies but are not guaranteed.
You’ll also need to consider the reputation of the provider offering the policy. Read reviews from other customers before committing to a policy. This will give you a good insight into what it is like to receive coverage from that provider.
How do you set up a policy?
If your employer offers private health policies, you’ll need to work with an HR representative within your company to receive coverage. If you’re setting up your own policy, you’ll need to work directly with the provider or go through a third party broker. When you work directly with the provider, it is completely up to you to decide what policy works best for you. If you work with a broker, they’ll help advise you on what policy best meets your needs.
Who are some of the providers in the UK?
Narrowing down your options for private health providers can be overwhelming. Some of the most reputable providers in the UK include Aviva, AXA PPP Healthcare, Bupa, Exeter Family Friendly, and VitalityHealth. Each of these providers offers different benefits and different terms and conditions. To learn more about each of the providers mentioned above, visit their websites or check out this health insurance guide.
The services provided by the National Health Service are excellent, but as a personal trainer, you don’t always have the time to be put on a lengthy waitlist. Private health insurance can give you the flexibility to get back up on your feet and hit the gym more quickly.