Healthcare and hospitalization costs have gone up more than 60% over the past decade. Unexpected sickness or an accident can make a big dent in one's pocket. Hence it is now considered prudent to go for a family health insurance policy, which is used to protect the insured and his family against loss due to illness or injury. There are different types of policies available in the U.K, and people can chose the policy best suited for their needs. Premium rates depend on the limits of coverage provided, the treatment options offered and what the policy covers. In some cases, a co-payment clause is included in the policy, where the insurer pays about 80% of the treatment cost and the rest is borne by the policy holder. Health insurance can be bought by an individual, but is mostly provided by employers as a benefit to their employees. The insurance company provides a health insurance card, which can be used to avail cashless hospitalities subject to the terms and conditions of the policy.
Benefits of health insurance: Family health insurance usually covers doctors' visits, hospital stays, surgeries, medical tests and related expenses, to mention a few. The costs of medicine, ambulance charges and incidental expenses are also covered. By and large, most of the hospital charges are met by the insurance company, but in some cases, a policy may cover hospitalization and related expenses only. Visits to a doctor may not be covered under some types of health insurance policies. Most family health insurance policies cover maternity expenses, ophthalmology and dentistry as well, but with restrictive clauses depending on the type of policy.
How it supports the family: A family health insurance policy, once purchased, is usually valid for a period of one year from the date of purchase. The family can be assured of class medical treatment at reputed hospitals. Usually, illness arrives without warning, as do accidents. The policy holder and his family can rest assured that they will not have to bear the high costs of treatment, once they are covered. It provides a sense of security and peace of mind.
Health insurance costs: The National Health Service normally provides coverage to everyone resident in the UK. This free healthcare facility cannot be termed as insurance, but it does provide medical care and treatment including primary, long term and in patient health care. Private health insurance is used as an adjunct to the NHS facilities and about 8 to 10 percent of the population is covered by some kind of private healthcare insurance. The major operators in this segment are Aviva, ACE Limited, Bupa, AXA and Preheat, though there are other service providers as well. The premium depends on the type of coverage, diseases covered and related conditions. The average premium for a family of 2 adults and two children can vary from 700 to 1600 GBP per annum, depending on the type of policy. Generally the premium increases with the age of the insured.
Conclusion: If a family has a health insurance policy, their hospitalization and related costs are covered. It protects against unexpected costs arising out of illness or accidents and provides relative peace of mind. The costs notwithstanding, it is a good idea to invest in a family health plan and to keep the health insurance card handy, you never know when you or a family member might just need it.