Private Medical Health cover gives you the peace of mind of knowing that you are not going to be financially wiped out if you suffer from an unexpected illness or injury. Of course, as with any type of insurance there are stipulations about what the Private Medical Health insurer will and won't cover you for. So, what limitations should you expect?
Private Medical Health cover is designed to help you with the costs of acute conditions, that is, those illnesses that are curable in the short-term. Acute conditions can range from the mild to the severe, but by definition they will not require ongoing medical support for a period of longer than around 3 months, such as influenza. On the other hand, Private Medical Health insurance will usually not insure you against chronic conditions, that is, those lasting a longer period of time and with the possibility of recurrence. This can include illnesses such as cancer or diabetes.
The reason for this is that Private Medical Health cover is there to help you deal with the unexpected. Usually, acute conditions tend to begin rapidly whereas chronic conditions will develop over a period of time. Insurers are prepared to cover you for a matter of months, but if they had to commit to covering your bills for an illness that may well last a lifetime, the policy would not make economic sense for them. If you did wish to cover yourself against this type of illness, you should look into critical illness protection cover instead.
For the same reason, a private medical health company will not usually cover you against pre-existing medical conditions - those illnesses for which you have already started experiencing symptoms and for which you have received medical advice or treatment. Again, this is because the illness is not unexpected, and you cannot take cover out against something that has already happened.
When you are taking out a Private Medical Health policy, you will usually be asked to disclose your full medical history, giving details of all the illnesses, injuries and treatments that you have experienced in your lifetime (or at least in your recent past). If you fail to disclose any details for a condition for which you later require treatment, your cover may be invalidated. Therefore, it's very important that you fully answer all these questions to ensure that you will be protected.
There are a number of standard exclusions that you should expect when taking out a Private Medical health policy. These include cosmetic surgery or cosmetic dentistry, treatment required as a result of alcohol or drug abuse and treatment that you need as a result of dangerous hobbies, work or sports. Basically, if it puts the insurer at a high-risk of paying out, if it is self-inflicted or it is likely to result in long-term care, it's likely that you will need a different type of cover to protect you. Make sure that you read the small print in full before taking out a Private Medical Health policy to avoid any nasty surprises.
Click here for a personalised Private Medical Health insurance quote.