switching health insurance

Thinking of switching health insurers?

As private health insurance specialists we are here to use our knowledge and experience of the market, to help you switch health insurers with ease, but importantly we will only recommend if it’s in your best interest to do so!

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Why has my private medical insurance premium increased?

Health insurance premiums can increase at renewal for a number of reasons. The biggest contributing factor is usually down to making claims on the policy. However, there are a number of other factors that can also contribute to insurers increasing your premiums:

Rising number of expensive conditions being diagnosed year on year

According to Cancer Research 1 in 2 people will develop cancer in their lifetime and it is estimated the average cost to treat cancer is £30,000, but costs can run into the hundreds of thousands. On top of the cost of treatment you also have to factor in the cost of a quick diagnosis and the potential cost of surgery where required.

Ageing Population

With a longer life expectancy comes more need for treatment of acute conditions, with treatments like hip replacements becoming almost commonplace.

General Inflation

This impacts on a wide range of things such as the running costs of the private healthcare facilities, to wages of the medical professionals.

Improvements in drugs and treatments

Often private medical insurance will give you access to new drugs and treatments that aren’t available on the NHS.

Insurance Premium Tax

Like other insurance products, private medical insurance is also subject to insurance premium tax.

Claims

This is probably the biggest single reason for a premium increase at point of renewal and is often misunderstood or badly explained pre-sale. The impact of a claim can differ wildly from one provider to another, it can depend on whether your policy has a no claims discount attached or is community rated . It is worth baring in mind that not every providers NCD (no claims discount) scale works in the same way.

If you have claimed on your health insurance policy, we recommend getting in touch as our adviser's will be able to guide you through your options. We will offer advice on how to keep the long term cost down, whilst keeping your medical history at the forefront of the review process.

Why is it important to get a market review of your health insurance?

Whether your premium has gone up a lot or just increased a bit you should still take your renewal as an opportunity to review your policy, in fact the FCA (financial conduct authority) recommend it. Getting a review not only gives you the chance of getting a competitive premium, but it also gives you the chance to potentially upgrade your cover.

We especially recommend reviewing your health insurance if you have left a company health insurance plan and continued cover directly through the same insurer. As a result of doing so individuals can be paying over the odds for their individual policy. By moving from a group plan to an individual one, the insurer finds it harder to quantify the risk and as a result often increase/load the premium to cover the potential risk. 

What most people don’t realise is that they could have the option to move to no less than 3 insurers who would not treat the risk in the same way and could get a substantially lower premium. 

If this sounds like you please get in touch and you could be one of those who benefit from a move and large savings on your cover.

Switching Health Insurance Offers

Our clients have benefited from saving anywhere from 10-60% by having a market review, on top of which some insurers have come up with a range of incentives to switch health insurers. 

For example Vitality Health offer up to a 10% discount with their switch & save promotion. Other insurers also run promotions from time to time, offering discounts like two months free or a fixed price for a number of years. To find out if you qualify for a discount get in touch by calling 01242 350071. 

Discover if you could benefit from switching health insurers

Can I continue cover for existing conditions when switching health insurers?

This is a concern for nearly every client we speak too, if you have paid into a policy for 1 year or 25 years it makes no difference, the important thing is that you have paid to protect your ongoing health concerns. This does not have to go by the wayside just because you switch to a new provider.

When switching health insurers, the underwriting you are most likely to use is continued personal medical exclusions (CPME).  This underwriting is subject to a number of medical questions and these questions vary from one provider to the next.

Generally speaking if you have not had the need to see a medical professional in the last 12 months other than your GP, and you have nothing booked in to see a specialist or any hospital stays in the future you are fine to switch without fear of exclusions. In some cases even with planned or pending outpatient visits, there is an insurer that is right for you. 

So that we can put a plan together for you and give you some idea on where you and your personal circumstances fit into “switching” get in touch and ask for some help. A mistake people often make is just assuming they can not move and that is why we hear about so many premiums becoming unnecessarily unaffordable.  

To switch you will need to supply your most recent insurance certificate, this allows your new insurer to identify any conditions that are excluded on your current policy. More importantly though, it allows any new conditions that have occurred since you have been insured, to remain covered.

When you may want to consider a medical exclusion

There are certain circumstances when a medical exclusion may be the right thing for you, before accepting any exclusion, it is recommended that you take advice from an adviser and consider your ongoing needs carefully. It can be a great way of bringing down the cost of your medical cover to consider exclusions. 

Example;

“John has had AXA PPP cover in place for many years and is covered for all conditions, he pays £2,500 per year for his cover and has 50% no claims discount, meaning the base rate premium is £5,000. In the last policy year he claimed for a full hip replacement on his right side. At the time his left hip was checked and is in good condition. 

At renewal his premium went up to £3,250, before any increase for age or inflation, as a result of his claim. This is due to his NCD for the new year now being 35% instead of 50%. An option available to John is to consider starting a new policy. By doing this, with the right insurer, he would have an exclusion on the right hip alone, under a moratorium, but still have cover for the left side. 

As a result the claim he made does not affect his ongoing cost. He is able to bring his premium back down to £2,500 or lower, saving at least £600. 

He would most likely have regain cover for that hip provided that at some point he has goes 2 years trouble free. By starting a brand new policy he would also likely be eligible for any new client incentives that the insurer are offering, potentially saving even more money.”

Whilst this is not a “fix all” solution for everyone, it is worth consideration with the right guidance and advice. If you think that your claims history is adversely affecting your premium and it is becoming unaffordable. 

Why not get in touch and see if you could benefit from the option of looking at exclusions. Our advisers will be able to quickly tell you if there is a solution that works for your situation.

Switching mid policy

You needn’t wait until your renewal to switch health insurers. If you haven’t had to make a claim in the policy year then switching insurers may be straightforward and in your best interest. 

If you pay for your policy on a monthly basis then VitalityHealth, are the only insurer which charge an admin fee (£40) to switch mid-term. 

If you pay for your policy annually then switching mid policy is more likely to be difficult, but certainly is not impossible, to get advice on your situation call 01242 350071 or fill out our online advice form.

What are the advantages of using Healthcare Clarity?

Health Insurance Experts

We know the market inside out and we don't shy away from giving the right advice in any situation however difficult.

Qualified Advisors

Not only do our advisors have many years’ experience in the industry, they are also IF7 accredited.

No call centres

With a dedicated team of experts there is no need to worry about being passed from department to department.

Free service

The service we provide is completely FREE and you are under no obligation to act on the quotes we provide.

Award winning panel of insurers

We work with an award-winning panel of insurers, which gives us access to competitive deals.

Ongoing support

The team here at Healthcare Clarity are on hand all year round to offer support and assistance with any potential issue you come across. There is no limit on our time, it's client first now and always.

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