Bristol, the most populous city in England, famous for its blend of architecture and scenic views, was voted the wealthiest and happiest city.
The city with its vibrant atmosphere is a good place for businesses to thrive. Living in Bristol is rewarding. The city has so much diversity and a large economy
While in Bristol having health insurance is good but not compulsory. Although health insurance is not mandatory in Bristol, it is important to have one to safeguard your health and finances against unexpected crises.
In Bristol, there are several ways to get health insurance. One way is through your employer. Sometimes employers in Bristol offer health insurance to their workers as part of their employee benefit.
But if you are not covered by your employer or you are self-employed, you can get coverage either through public healthcare or private health insurance in Bristol.
Public Healthcare In Bristol
Public Healthcare is the most affordable source of health insurance coverage in Bristol. The NHS (National Healthcare System), funded by general taxation provides free healthcare services across the cities in the UK.
This health care system provides free medical care on the basis of need rather than the payment of fees or insurance. This implies that if you are relocating to Bristol, you will have access to healthcare services via the NHS.
The NHS has been found to be the best, most affordable and safest healthcare system however, it is important to note that the waiting lists can be long and your choices are limited.
Residents in Bristol are entitled to receive healthcare services from the NHS but you can decide to buy private policies or use a combination of both. Every patient under the NHS is entitled to a General Practitioner (GP).
Your GP is your main contact for health-related matters. Appointments with your general practitioner are usually short(about 8-10 min). In cases where you require more specific care, your GP will refer you to a specialist.
What Is Covered Under Public Healthcare
Public healthcare covers everything from doctor’s appointments to hospital treatments, ambulance rides, long hospital stays, complex surgery, radiation and chemotherapy. However, dental and eye care treatments are not free. They carry a fee.
Non-residents in Bristol also have access to public healthcare provided that they did not travel specifically to receive free treatment.
All residents are entitled to free primary healthcare services such as GP consultation and emergency treatments but you have to be registered as a patient under the NHS to access secondary healthcare e.g. specialists.
Services The NHS Provides
The NHS provides a very extensive coverage as long as you’re an ordinary resident in Bristol that is, you live in Bristol legally, settled and voluntarily. You are entitled to the following services under the NHS.
- consultations with your general practitioner(GP)
- treatment at accident and emergency
- treatment for minor injuries in clinics
- sexual health services and contraception
- Maternity services
- if referred by your GP, treatment with a specialist.
- With some exemptions, patients are required to pay for:
- dental care
- wigs and fabric support.
Public Healthcare Costs
Although prescriptions are paid for, they have a fixed price, irrespective of the type of medication or quantity you require for treatment.
Currently, the prescription charge is 9GBP per item.
While all residents in Bristol are entitled to free hospital treatment, your GP must refer you if it’s not an emergency.
You can purchase medications from chemists( pharmacies are called chemists in the UK).
Once registered with your GP you can book or change appointments or consultations;
in person by directly scheduling an appointment at reception).
Note: It is unusual to get same-day appointments.
Other Health Services Offered By Public Healthcare
There are certain ailments, (minor) you do not need to call your general practitioner or book appointments. Some services are provided to help you in cases like this.
Pharmacists are trained medical professionals, qualified to give advice on minor conditions that do not require a prescription like sore throats, minor burns, stomach aches etc.
In case you have an urgent medical issue, which is not life-threatening, you can call the helpline; NHS 111 and you will be able to speak to a trained adviser who will direct you on what to do next.
Residents in Bristol are also entitled to free sexual health services. You can visit any sexual health centre to get tested for STIs (sexually transmitted infections) and/or for contraception advice.
Public healthcare offers the cheapest coverage, reducing healthcare costs to the barest minimum no doubt but it’s been faced with challenges like the long waiting list and limited choices, majorly as a result of underfunding.
You can opt for private health insurance to get access to better facilities and reduced waiting periods.
Private Health Insurance In Bristol
Private health insurance allows you to choose the level of care you get and when it is provided. Unlike public healthcare, Private health insurance providers have shorter waiting lists and better facilities for healthcare but their costs are usually high.
Bristol residents usually have private health insurance for either one or of the following reasons;
- They want to avoid long waiting times
- Their employer or company provides it as part of their benefit package
- They want to have more control over the healthcare services they receive
Types Of Health Insurance Plans
Healthcare premiums in Bristol depend on a number of factors. Your age, postcode, current and pre-existing medical condition and chosen benefit plan all affect the rates you pay on health insurance. Health insurance plans are categorised into two:
The moratorium is a popular method of underwriting private medical insurance where insurers exclude all preexisting conditions you have suffered from the last five years.
Full Medical Underwriting
The FMU requires you to disclose all your medical conditions to your insurer in the last five years. This helps them decide how much you’d be paying for coverage.
Average Private Health Insurance Costs
Below are some average costs of private health insurance in the UK
Consultations: costs 200 GBP(250 USD) on average
Surgical procedures: cost ranges from 1000 GBP(1300 USD) TO 10000 GBP (13,000 USD)
Private Health Insurance Providers
Some private health insurance which covers healthcare treatments include:
There are many comparison sites online you can find that can help you make good decisions when you have a clearer picture of your needs and preferences.
Different types of insurance, levels of coverage, prices and benefits available can be overwhelming but you can get the help of an expert to help you through it and make the right choices.