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  • Is there a way to reduce the cost of my private medical insurance, without putting my cover at risk? Jul 23, 2019

    It’s fair to say that anyone who has paid into private health insurance and is over 50 years old, has likely thought about the long-term costs involved with private cover. It is often the case that these individuals have approached their broker or their insurer and have asked about options or ways, to reduce their cover to keep costs down.

    Two common ones people often consider are;

    1) Adding the 6-or 4-week option to their cover.

    2) Increasing the excess paid upfront at point of claim.

    With each there are things to consider, certainly anyone under 79 years of age who has the 6- or 4-week option as part of their cover should review their plan. There is at least one provider in the industry, who will now take this off your policy for a similar premium, if not for less money.

    Is the 6/4-week option a bad thing?

    In principle it is not, it has and can save many people money, however, it restricts your access to IN or DAY patient treatment at point of claim. It means that you must use the NHS, if they can provide an appointment within 6 or 4 weeks. Many medical insurance customers have opted to take this option to reduce the premium they pay; sometimes by as much as 30%. It can though severely restrict access to treatment and can significantly impact on treatment for heart and cancer. The 6-week option is often oversold and is used as a quick fix option to help lower premiums.

    If you are in the position where you are under 79 years of age and you have the 6- or 4-week option on your plan, you do have the opportunity to continue cover without it on your policy. For example, one option you now have would be to “switch and save” to VitalityHealth, subject to meeting their switch requirements. This could allow you to remove the 6-week option for a similar price, in some cases less money than you’re currently paying. Meaning that at point of claim you can guarantee private care for eligible treatment.

    It may be wise to ask yourself, when you are already paying for cover; why would I continue a policy that does not guarantee private care for eligible treatment, if I don’t have to? If you think this situation applies to you it may be best to seek advice from a medical insurance broker. They will be able to review your policy and tell you if you are eligible for this offer with VitalityHealth.

    How can increasing your excess be a mistake?

    An excess is an option that is used to reduce premiums without changing your cover levels. Sometimes however, people can add very large excess’s that act as a barrier to claiming on their plan. Be mindful when adding or increasing your excess, as it can depending on insurer eat into your outpatient cover limit when used.

    Private medical insurancespecialist Kyle Godden, from Healthcare Clarity highlights how an excess can impact your cover: “In a case we dealt with recently a client had reduced his premium by 50% by adding a £5,000 excess but was not told that this also meant that his outpatient cover was in practice largely unusable; had he removed it he would have reduced his premium by a further 50%.”

    Is there a point in life where my health insurance will stop increasing due to age?

    The common misconception is that medical insurance will get more expensive just because you keep having birthdays. Whilst this is in large true, there are some insurers that stop increasing your policy premium due to age once you reach 80.

    Please see the Healthcare Clarity website for more information.