Why is healthcare important in retirement?
It's no secret that as you enter later life, you're more likely to require medical treatment. It's a sad truth for all of us that as we age, the more medical care we'll require. In fact, with an ageing population in the UK, more and more of us are relying on medical care services provided by both the NHS and the private sector.
Understandably, healthcare can be a worry for both retirees and their families, especially during the current pandemic so this article aims to provide you with the information you need to help decide whether investing some of your pension into private health insurance might be worthwhile.
The NHS is brilliant, a national institution, free healthcare at the point of use for all with the benefits of that firmly coming into focus as we age. The NHS will always be your first port of call for medical services, regardless if you do or don't have private medical insurance. There are certain services, such as a face to face GP appointment, or emergency care that private providers simply can't replace.
There are several ways you can access private healthcare; you can decide to pay for the treatments in full yourself, or you can purchase private health insurance, which will cover you for a variety of conditions, subject to the terms and conditions of your policy.
Because we tend to need more health care as we age, private medical insurance can be expensive which is why it pays to speak to a health insurance broker who can advise you on a number of ways to reduce the costs.
Continuation of a company health insurance policy
Many of the retirees we speak to have become accustomed to health insurance as they've enjoyed it through their employer for many years. When you're retiring and unless you're very lucky, your company health insurance policy will end and you will need to decide whether to opt for a private policy or simply use the NHS instead. In another recent article we've explained the process of switching from a company policy to an individual one, so if you are in that situation, please follow this link to learn more.
What affects the cost of retiree health insurance?
Over 65's can usually expect to pay more for private health insurance than those under 65 with age playing a key role in the cost of a policy, but what other factors affect the cost of your retiree health insurance?
- Medical history - treatments of conditions you've had in the past will likely affect your premiums
- Underwriting - the choice of underwriting is usually a significant factor in determining the price of a policy
- Policy excess - the amount you're happy to contribute towards the cost of treatment at the point of claim
- Hospital access - depending on your location, accessing certain hospitals will increase or decrease your premium
- Smoking status - as we know, smoking is bad for us so if you're a smoker the cost of a policy is likely to be higher
- Optional extras - dental, optical and mental health coverage
These are just a few examples and it's likely that your health insurance broker will discuss many more factors which will have a direct impact on the cost of your policy.
Reducing the cost of retiree health insurance
Similarly to policies for other age groups, there are a number of things you can do to reduce the cost of your health insurance policy, without reducing your access to care.
Opt for a higher excess
The higher your excess the lower your premiums will be, and we often find that those in retirement opt for a larger excess to reduce the cost of their policy. In doing so, they effectively share the cost of treatment with the insurer.
Consider a 6-week NHS wait option
A 6-week wait option basically stipulates that if treatment is available from the NHS within 6 weeks, then you'll be treated via the NHS and not privately. If the waiting time is going to be longer than 6-weeks then you'd be treated privately. As many people for health insurance to avoid NHS waiting times, this can be an effective option to bring the cost of a policy down without negatively affecting the level of cover too much.
Have a reduced hospital list
All insurers have their standard hospital lists but they often include central London facilities which are very expensive to be treated at. If you live outside of the capital, then you can often reduce the cost of your health insurance by opting for a local hospital list and excluding some of the more expensive facilities. This can be a very effective way to help bring the cost down without affecting your cover too much, especially if you don't think you will ever need to go to some of the more expensive hospitals.
Finally, a sure-fire way to reduce the cost of your retiree's health insurance is to compare policies, and not just today, but every year. Insurance providers tend to increase fees every year, regardless of if we make a claim or not, so comparing all of the available options is vital to keep the costs as low as possible. It's where services such as our own health insurance renewal review come into their own, as we proactively do the leg work for you each year and will report back to you with your best options.
Specialists in retiree and pensioner health insurance
As a specialist in retiree health insurance, we can help you get the maximum amount of cover for the lowest cost possible. With so many options to choose from the process of finding the best health plan can be daunting, but trust us that we can help you navigate it smoothly.
To get a quote for a retiree medical insurance policy, please click this link and complete our quote form. As soon as you do, we will begin the process of reviewing the market on your behalf.