May I sound a note of caution to the growing numbers considering private health insurance?
My mother, who is 93, has held her policy with a major UK provider for 60 years. At her age the premium is astronomical — even more than her utility bills — but she retains this luxury so she has the reassurance of having care if she needs it — and she did.
Four months ago she fractured her thighbone in a fall. Paramedics attended swiftly and the subsequent operation and NHS hospital care was superb.
On about the seventh day post-op the hospital was anxious to send her home, so great was the wintertime pressure on beds. She was still unable to stand, so had the idea to transfer to the private ward of the hospital for a few days of rehabilitation.
But her insurance refused to cover this, as she had failed to advise them, as laid down in the small print, that if she was admitted as an emergency on the NHS, she would let them know within five days.
Is it fair that a frail lady, in the throes of a catastrophe, should be expected to gather her wits and contact her insurer?
It makes me wonder if saving a small sum each month, rather than handing over money for an insurance policy tied up in small print, may be a safer option should you ever want to go down the private healthcare route.
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