Healthcare is important, especially for people with acute or life-threatening medical conditions. The National Health Service (NHS) typically provides prompt treatment for people in the most severe distress. However, those with less debilitating conditions often face long waiting lists.
The cost of private insurance is high but people need not settle for less than five-star treatment from NHS. There are several ways to get treatment when it is needed without paying for private insurance.
Learning how the NHS works is the key to making the most of this healthcare coverage. The government has established targets for the maximum waiting times for treatment under the NHS program.
Learn what the target time is for your particular condition and the typical waiting time for treatment from a local provider. If the local waiting time exceeds the government target, request a doctor referral to another area or a different hospital.
A Helpline If You Need It
The Patients’ Association Helpline can assist residents in identifying a good hospital. A general practitioner may provide helpful information but patients should also contact the Primary Care Trust in their local area and the counterparts in surrounding boroughs and counties.
The local PCT sometimes identifies a need for a type of elective surgery that its hospitals cannot perform. In this case, it may establish an agreement with another European provider. Contact the local NHS Trust to identify the active schemes.
If a scheduled operation is cancelled and the hospital cannot provide a new date within a specified period, NHS private treatment may be available. Find out whether the NHS will pay for treatment in a private hospital. If NHS treatment has an excessive waiting list, consider getting treatment abroad.
The European Court has ruled that patients facing excessive waiting times for treatment through the NHS may seek treatment in other European Union member states. However, treatment abroad will only be authorized when the local health authority lacks hospital capacity but has available funds in its budget.
Hospital cash plans are available for as little as £4.50 per week and may be suitable for people on tight budgets. These are less expensive than private medical insurance and provide cash payouts that range from approximately £15 to £90 for each day hospitalized.
Cash plans also help with the costs of chiropodist, dentist, and optical visits. Individuals seeking cosmetic surgery should consider traveling abroad to countries such as Hungary or Belgium because they can save hundreds or even thousands of pounds.
Saving On Prescriptions
Residents of England who must pay £7.65 for each prescription can save money by purchasing Prescription Payment Certificates (PPCs). A 12-month PPC costs £104 and will save money if more than 13 prescribed medicines are needed within a year.
A three-month PPC costs £29.10, representing a savings for anyone needing more than three prescribed medicines within three months. When purchasing medicine over the counter, consumers should select the generic version whenever it is available because this will save them substantially on the same active ingredients.
When Private Medical Insurance Is Necessary
Individuals who cannot avoid private medical insurance can limit their expenses by choosing a larger voluntary excess. They will receive the choice of paying the first part of a claim, which will range from £100 to £2,000. Low cost and budget policies are available for people willing to limit the range and extent of covered treatments and keep hospital stays within a stipulated timeframe.
Flexible patients can select three bands of private insurance, each with different price tags. Paying for private medical insurance via direct debit can decrease the annual bill by up to five percent. If group cover is available from an employer, trade union, or professional institution, compare the cost to that of private insurance because it is often discounted.