The motto underlying practically any kind of general insurance is that prevention is better than cure. The more you do to lower the risk of making a claim, the less the insurer needs to charge and the lower the price of the premiums you may typically pay.
This is just as true with private medical insurance (also known as PMI) and might go a long way to making sense of health insurance quotes.
Pre-existing medical conditions
Although any health insurance quote you receive takes into account your age, where you live and the level of services for which you want cover, one of the principal determinants is the extent to which you have any pre-existing medical conditions in your history.
The insurer’s reasoning is clear – if you suffer or have suffered from particular medical conditions in the past, there is a greater risk of a recurrence or the development of complications sometime in the future. The relationship between risks and premiums is explored in considerable detail in a paper contributed to Health Knowledge in 2017.
The insurer’s response is either to increase the cost of the premiums you need to pay or to exclude future treatment of pre-existing conditions, depending on the type of health insurance you arrange:
Fully underwritten health insurance
- this type of cover takes a more rigorous approach to assessing your current state of health and past medical complaints in order to assess the likelihood of your making a claim;
- this is done by way of a detailed medical questionnaire and may involve a report from your current GP;
- your health insurance quote reflects the premium price necessary for covering the risks revealed by such information;
Moratorium health insurance
- in this case, the insurer assesses risks – and reflects that assessment in the quote you receive – on the basis of less detailed medical information, but one which includes your own declaration of pre-existing medical conditions;
- rather than managing that risk through higher premiums, the insurer instead typically excludes future treatment for pre-existing conditions.
It may be clear that, in either case, declarations you make as to your current state of health and pre-existing medical conditions is critical to the accuracy of the health insurance quotes you are given. Any inaccuracy or falsehood given in the medical declaration may lead to any subsequent claim being invalidated.
Health cash plans
Even if you have some form of private medical insurance, you might still want to consider the addition of a health cash plan – and, again, seek quotes on the wide variety of plans available.
Health cash plans cover many of the more everyday health-related costs which your main policy might not cover.
Included in many such cash plans, for example, are consultations you make with your optician, dentist, physiotherapist or chiropodist – all of which might be considered as your playing your part in staying fit and healthy and, so, avoiding more expensive claims on your main health insurance policy.
Health cash plans work on the very simple principle of you arranging whatever consultation is necessary and, once it is done, submit the receipt and a claim form to your insurer for reimbursement in cash – in an amount equal to the full or part of the cost of the consultation.