Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Personal medical insurance

Some weeks ago I put together and posted a blog post here about corporate wellness, positing the question as to whether companies really need to bother about the health of employees in terms of putting in place medical insurance and other health related schemes.

This has been the most popular post I've ever put up at this blog and I have picked up several corporate enquiries on the back of it.

This has gotten me wondering if the same issues hold true in the personal market. Pondering this I think a different approach intellectual approach is required. In essence these products when bought for an individual  or family are not really a financial purchase (except insofar as they cost money to buy) but rather a purchase born out of sometimes quite selfish personal needs.  The exact reason will vary from person to person - perhaps a bad experience with the NHS or a relative who needed care and didn't receive it. A worry about hospital acquired infections. Any number of factors can come into play.

So imagine one is considering buying a new private medical insurance plan. What does one get ? Well instant access to (depending on the cover purchased and underwriting) pretty much any medical treatment or procedure that you might need with the doctor and private hospital of your choice. This access can have a large impact on how one sources medical treatment and the knock on effect that being ill has for you and your family.

So for private treatment generally there is no NHS waiting list, nor long waits in an out-patient clinic waiting room rather instant access to the top doctor when you need it in nice surroundings.

For personal purchasers of medical insurance this type of plan then is a personal choice that can have enormous positive impact on the ability to plan necessary treatment around your work and family life and know that the best treatment is there as and when you need it - so all in all a different scenario to a corporate sale.

The other thing to bear in mind with regards to personal PMI is the cost - often it costs a lot less than people imagine. I've just done a report for a client today aged 27 and for him, prices (for a mid-range plan) vary from £ 30 to 45 per month - most people over-estimate the costs of medical insurance and it can be a lot less than you imagine especially if we look at decent cover but with a higher excess.

For more information contact : Phil Knight, Independent Healthcare Consultant - 07792 075748 or philknight@pch.uk.com

Monday, 19 September 2016

PMI for a new company

Ok, so you're running a small business for the first time.

The office lease is signed off, two or three key staff in place and you have that idea burning a hole in your brain.

What do you need next. Well certainly not buy company private medical insurance (PMI). Well not yet anyway.

But you will at some point in the future and here's why ...

At some time though in the next 18 months you're likely to have a health issue for yourself or one of those key people you need to make that business idea real. Hopefully it won't be too serious, perhaps someone won't be able to get to work because they're ill or waiting for a minor procedure. It might not be business critical and cost you money or clients, this time. Maybe next time though it could be.

Put simply you simply can't have vital team members sitting on NHS waiting lists only able to work part time or at less than maximum capability and that's when you might call someone like me to talk about medical insurance.

If you were to call me we would talk products and numbers, prices and excesses.  In reality medical insurance isn't really facts and figures and technical specifications. It's about the health of your business and it's human capitol.

Friday, 16 September 2016

New podcast widget on my blog - listen to PMICast from the comfort of your desktop

Over the years I have played around with my two podcasts : PMICast, a business podcast focusing on private medical insurance , primarily for my introducer clients and 'Where's Wilson' my occasional SF and Fantasy 'cast.

Of the two PMICast has been the most productive with 67 episodes available for download. Time and expansion of the business haven't really allowed much time for this kind of fairly labour intensive social media work but I do think that it is time I stepped back up and began thinking about getting PMICast up and running again. With that in mind I have just put a widget back on the blog that links to my pod bean website and from the widget your can play any of my podcasts straight from the desktop so please have a play around and listen to a couple.

In addition I am planning to revamp the podcast, making it a little shorter, (hopefully) getting a little more regular - probably every two weeks and looking to make the content more consumer focused rather than all about the IFA and introducer side of things. so watch out for that coming to a pod catcher near you.

Tuesday, 6 September 2016

Do you have personal medical insurance ? Or PMI tricks of the trade

If you're insured via a company scheme you still need to keep reading this post - you never know when you might leave, get made redundant, stop being eligible, set up your own business and you might need the cover I'm about to talk about too !

So do you have PMI - 'Private Medical Insurance - in place ?

If you're not in a medical insurance scheme through work you really need to think about whether you need this kind of cover. Broadly medical insurance pays for all eligible secondary care - so usually no GP related services but (depending on the plan benefits you have) all secondary care that is required afterwards - seeing a consultant, having diagnostic tests, any in-patient and day case treatment you might need and then follow ups and therapy afterwards.

Does that sound like something you might be interested in ? If so here are some additional factors or 'tricks of the trade' (from a 22 year veteran of the medical insurance industry) for you to consider :

Waiting lists - for people who need treatment in hospital waiting on an NHS waiting list can be both inconvenient and painful and with PMI there are no waits, you just book your consultation and treatment (once the insurer authorises it) with the consultant. Some insurers ask you to visit a particular doctor but many allow the choice of any consultant which means you and your GP find you the right clinician for your exact health requirements.

Specialist attention - within the private healthcare system you will never see a junior doctor. You will always receive the best attention of the senior doctor. This specialist attention is a vital point and many nurses and support staff in private hospitals enjoy the reassurance of knowing that their doctor colleagues are experienced and at the very top of their game as obviously do the patients.  The ratio of nurses to their patients in private clinics is also high so this doesn't hurt either !

Cleanliness - private hospitals have a deserved reputation for excellent cleanliness. In particular infection rates for hospital acquired infections (which all treatment providers are required to report) are considerably lower in the private sector. The insurer : BUPA reported recently that over 65% of people note hospital clean-ness as a factor when purchasing the cover. In short private hospitals can afford a much more intensive and effective infection surveillance program

Ease of access and worklife balance - the above factors mean that for certain people not having private medical isn't isn't an option. If you need to juggle a busy work and home life one simply cannot afford to be unable to access medical treatment quickly and conveniently.

If your job has any kind of level of responsibility then most couldn't simply wait on an NHS list to see a consultant and not be able to work. More so, taking off time during work for many at all career levels is difficult - with PMI you plan which doctor you see and when.

Flexibility and affordability of cover - modern medical insurance plans offer an enormous range of plan options and I can almost always find some cover for people that ticks most of the boxes we've discussed above. PMI is actually an awful lot more affordable than most people think, especially given the actual costs of private treatment when you look into it.

So there lots of things to think about and I'm passionate about this, the number of clients who come up to me after getting sick and wanting the cover but of course by that stage the conditions they need to be covered for will possibly be excluded by underwriting - NOW is the time to act and not after you have a live medical problem.

Generally, however old you are the cover is probably going to be less than you might think for a plan that is at least halfway decent and it is vital that you speak to an independent broker like myself to find out which cover and which insurer might suit you.

Over the last six years of running my own private medical insurance advisory practice I have advised hundreds of personal clients including many high net worth individuals but I recognise that regardless of income or age everybody needs to take control of their health and finances and my role is to facilitate that for you.

For more information contact :

Phil Knight
Independent Healthcare Consultant
Part of Premier Choice Group
T. 07792 075748
E. philknight@pch.uk.com
@localventure2 on Twitter Or