Private Medical Insurance

Private medical insurance (PMI) can best be described as a type of insurance that is generally used to cover the costs of any private medical treatment. The treatments are geared towards what are most often referred to as "acute conditions". An acute condition is defined by insurance companies as an illness, injury or disease that will typically respond quickly to any treatment. This will usually mean that you are likely to return to the state of health you were in a prior to suffering from the specific illness, injury or disease. In other words you can expect to make a full recovery.

There are various reasons that you may choose to purchase private medical insurance and these can include - giving you peace of mind and being reassured that if you do fall ill, or are injured, that there is immediate treatment available for you. You will also be given a choice about when your specific treatment will take place, the hospital within which you are treated and also the specialist who will deal with you. Private medical insurance will also allow you the privacy of an en-suite room with many of the home comforts that you would expect from private healthcare.

The type of private medical insurance policy that you have will vary from insurance company, but the process will typically start by your GP referring you to an appropriate specialist. It is also recommended that you contact your insurance company prior to requesting any private treatment to ensure that your specific policy will cover the treatment that you require. In fact you will find that this is mandatory with the vast majority of insurance companies. It is also vitally important that you stay in constant contact with insurance company while treatment is being administered. This will allow your insurer to confirm whether certain treatments or illnesses are covered by the policy.

In order to purchase private medical insurance you can contact the insurer directly, or speak with an independent adviser, an agent, or even via your own bank. There are various ways in which you can apply for private medical insurance and these will include using the Internet, face-to-face, over the phone, or even by post. It is important to remember that if you wish to discuss an insurance policy with an agent, they will typically only be able to sell you a policy on behalf of the insurer that they work for. With that said, an independent financial adviser is able to offer you numerous private medical insurance policies from a wide range of insurers. Whether you speak to an independent adviser or an agent, they will initially assess your overall medical needs and provide recommendations from the information you supply them. However, you are also able to purchase a policy without any advice, although it will then be your own responsibility to choose the right private medical insurance policy for your own needs.

Private medical insurance will typically not cover pre-existing medical conditions. These are medical conditions from which you are currently suffering, or that you have had in the past. When completing an application for any type of insurance it is vitally important that you are honest, and provide information as accurately as possible and to the best of your knowledge. There are generally two methods in which a private medical insurance company will deal with your application. There is full medical underwriting or moratorium underwriting. Full medical underwriting is often referred to as medical history declaration, and will require you to give full details of your medical history. Often an insurance company will write to your doctor for further information, although this may not be compulsory. It is important that you provide every bit of information that your insurer asks you for, as failure to do so may affect the legitimacy of a future claim.

When completing a private medical insurance application form, if there is certain information that you're not sure whether you should mention or not, it is best that you do. If you have a medical condition that is likely to return, your insurer is still likely to issue a policy, but may exclude any cover for that specific condition within a set period of time. In the case of moratorium underwriting, you will not be asked to provide any details about your medical history. However, this will simply mean that your insurer will not provide cover for any medical related condition from which you have previously suffered, had symptoms of, taking medication for, or have received treatment for. This will generally be for any medical condition that existed in the previous five years. You may be eligible to cover these conditions at a later date, although there will typically be a waiting period of two years in most cases.

As mentioned, the type of private medical insurance you receive will vary from company to company and indeed the benefits that they offer. When you are looking to purchase a private medical insurance it is advisable that you choose a policy that provides benefits which you believe would be most important to you. The vast majority of policies will tell you what is specifically covered, and what is not. The actual types of benefits that you choose will also have an effect on the overall price of your policy.

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