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Health Plans Buyer's Guide


Everything You Need To Know About Buying Individual Health Coverage

Those of us, who have been injured or sick at some point of our life, know how important it is to have health insurance coverage. We admit it -- the private health plans market isn't pretty. If you are confused by the variety of plans, don't panic, you're not alone. The key, of course, is to shop around and make an informed decision but it takes time. We recommend that you allow at least 30 days to familiarise yourself with the different options available before you apply for a policy.

Before you're ready to buy a new health plan, you'll ask yourself questions like: Which health plan should I choose? What are the differences between all sorts of plans? How do I find an affordable one? Our helpful guide is here to navigate you through the process of purchasing an individual health plan.

What Are Health Plans?

For a premium, health insurance plans give you peace of mind knowing that you can share the costs of healthcare services with an insurance company and maintain access to healthcare when you need it. Nowadays, the best option for keeping yourself health insured is with a health plan offered through private insurance companies, such as Aviva and Saga.

What Do I Want Out of My Health Plan?

When it comes to health insurance policies, there is no such thing as "one-size-fits-all". You can get 10s of different health plans with just one health insurer, not to mention that health plans may differ significantly from one health insurance company to another. All you gave to do is to shop around and find the health plan tailored just for you.

The best approach to finding the perfect fit is to know what services are covered. There are health plans that will cover anything from dental treatment to laser eye surgery. Other health plans will require you to pay for routine doctor's appointments but will cover expensive hospital care only.

There are even plans that will provide cover for the costs of prescription drugs. Before you commit, ask your health insurance provider for list of medications that have been approved for coverage.

What If I Have Pre-Existing Conditions?

If you get your health insurance plan through your employer, you don't have to worry about pre-existing conditions. However, if you buy a health plan on your own, you may be denied coverage because of pre-existing medical conditions, or alternatively, insurers will charge you higher premiums and exclude coverage for your pre-existing condition completely.

How To Buy Health Plans?

The quickest way to become familiar with your options is to look for health policy quotes on comparison web sites such as HealthInsuranceCompare.co.uk. There are plenty of reputable comparison websites that provide instant quotes for you to view online and apply online, as well.

If you have a preferred health insurance provider, you can apply for a health plan directly with them. Most insurance company websites offer an application that you can print out and send in to them. You can also contact them by phone to apply. Other companies, such as Aviva and AXA, even let you apply online for a health plan.

The Price To Pay

As a general rule, the more you pay for your health insurance premiums, the more healthcare coverage you have. And it works the other way too, the less you pay, the less coverage you get. The cheapest quotes start from £8 per month but these usually provide limited coverage.

You can reduce the cost of your health plan by following a few simple tips:

* Don't overcover: Many policies may try to cover for conditions that are irrelevant. For example, a single man does not necessarily need a full family cover including children and pregnancy costs;

* Share the risk: Choose yourself the level of excess, or in other words the amount you have to pay on any claim. A higher excess of £1,000 will significantly reduce your premiums.

* Pay annually: Some companies give generous discounts if you pay annually rather than monthly.

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