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How does Private Medical Insurance Work?

Article by Simon Christopher
Article added: 4/4/2005 - Last updated: -
Rating: 5.00 5.00 (1 votes)

Private Medical Insurance gets you treated in a private hospital, private ward within an NHS hospital or treatment centre for short-term curable illnesses and conditions quickly and at a time and location of your choice avoiding lengthy NHS waiting lists.

It should not be seen as a complete alternative to the NHS and doesn't necessarily guarantee a better standard of treatment, but you will have a choice of how, when and where you are treated.

What Does Private Medical Insurance Cover?
Private Medical Insurance covers the costs of medical specialists, surgery, accommodation and nursing bills in a private hospital or a private ward in an NHS hospital, drugs and X-rays etc. You will get better facilities, a private room with a TV and choice of food.

It will not cover long term and incurable conditions such as asthma and diabetes, neither will it cover you for pre-existing medical conditions, usually that existed in the last five years. When you apply for your insurance, you will generally be given two choices of how to apply. One way is to complete a full underwriting application form giving indepth details of your medical history. Based upon the details you declare, the insurance company may write to your GP for further information at their cost.

The second option is to fill in a shorter form called a 'moratorium' which asks no or very few questions about your medical history. Any existing conditions will only be covered if you have had no symptoms, treatment, medication, tests or doctors advice for that condition for a continuous period, usually of two years, after your policy started.

Certain specific illnesses and conditions will also be excluded such as, drug/alcohol addiction, HIV/AIDS, infertility and cosmetic surgery.

PLEASE NOTE: The guidance published in this article is for information only and does not constitute financial advice or a recommendation of any particular product or company. If you are in any doubt please consult an independent insurance adviser. A database of advisers in your area is available at

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