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In general, health insurance can be worthwhile if you are in need of specialist treatment, for example, if you are a professional sportsman or woman and you require access to experts and surgeons who only work privately. Private medical cover can give you more flexibility with regard to your healthcare; you can ask your GP to refer you to a consultant of your choice, and ask for a second opinion. You can also arrange to be seen much more quickly, and choose a hospital that best suits your needs. Most insurers will also allow you to request scans if they have previously been denied to you, and be given more expensive drugs and treatment that simply are not available on the NHS. You also have the option of having a private room should you need to receive in-patient care, and improved access to physiotherapy sessions should you need them.
Before you sign on the dotted line remember that private healthcare insurance will not cover chronic illness that are incurable; these include some cancers and diabetes. If you do contract a serious illness such as cancer, or heart disease, you will receive priority treatment via the NHS without having to pay. Some policies specify which consultants and hospitals you are allowed to receive treatment from so you are still restricted with regard to your choice of healthcare provider to some extent. Healthcare insurance is also expensive, and premiums will rise every year as you grow older so you may not be able to afford it at the time you will most probably need it the most.
If you do decide to pay for private healthcare and would prefer not to commit to regular premiums then, rather than take out a full healthcare insurance policy, you can choose to pay for some, or all, of your treatment on an as and when basis. You could also pay for a private consultation if you prefer a second opinion; in this case the consultant will then simply refer you back to the NHS for any treatment they advise.
Health insurance can be of real benefit for some individuals, but it is important that you take time to fully understand what healthcare policies do, and do not, cover. Assess your personal needs and requirements carefully, and if you do decide to take out private medical insurance make sure that the policy suits your personal circumstances and lifestyle. After researching healthcare insurance you may find that an alternative insurance policy, for example, income protection insurance which pays out a regular sum should you become seriously ill and unable to work, may be more advantageous.