Home to a world-class university, Cambridge, Cambridgeshire is delightful and features as one of the prettiest places to visit in England.
While Cambridgeshire is rated the second most expensive city in the UK, many residents may look for ways to cut costs. Health insurance is a very important purchase that becomes an asset when the policyholder experiences a risk covered in his insurance plan.
Health insurance protects a policyholder and his finances from serious crises. In Cambridgeshire, health insurance can be gotten in different ways.
One common way is through employers. Employers often offer coverage to their staff as part of their benefits package. Other ways are through the public healthcare system and private health insurance providers.
Public Healthcare Program In Cambridgeshire
Public healthcare services are provided by the NHS (National Health Service). The NHS which was launched in July, 1948 is the first healthcare system funded by general taxation and it offers free healthcare at the point of use.
Although the NHS is often criticised due to long waiting periods or times, it still ranks as the safest and most affordable healthcare program in the UK.
All residents of Cambridgeshire are entitled to free healthcare services from the NHS but you can choose to purchase a private health plan or combine both.
As a registered member under the NHS, a general practitioner, GP should be your first port of call for most medical issues. You have the right to choose your own GP. However, appointments with your GP are usually short, lasting between 8-10 mins. Your GP can refer you when you need more specific care.
Public Healthcare Coverage
Residents in Cambridgeshire are entitled to free primary healthcare services, for instance,GP consultation and emergency treatments but in order to access secondary care services, you need to be registered as an NHS patient.
Also, non-residents can also have access to the public healthcare system, as long as they did not travel to receive free treatment.
Public healthcare in Cambridgeshire offers coverage for hospital treatments, ambulance rides, long hospital stays, doctors appointments,surgery, chemotherapy etc. However certain treatments like eye care and dental care are not covered, you’d be required to pay for those services.
Services The NHS Provide
The NHS has a wide coverage and as long as you are ordinarily a resident, that is you live lawfully and voluntarily in Cambridgeshire, you are entitled to the following services:
- consultations with your GP and nurse
- treatment for minor injuries in clinics
- Treatment at Accident and Emergency
- maternity services and contraception
- sexual health services
- Treatment with a specialist, if referred by your GP
However, patients are required to pay for the following:
- Eye care
- Dental care
- Wigs and fabric supports.
Public Healthcare Costs
In Cambridgeshire, as well as the UK in general, prescriptions have a fixed price, regardless of the type and quantity of medication you require per treatment. The current prescription charge is 9 GBP which is equivalent to 11.50USD.
Although all residents are entitled to free healthcare services or hospital treatment, if it’s not an emergency, you would be referred by your GP or a qualified healthcare professional.
You will be able to book consultations or appointments for free when you are registered to a GP. Usually there are three different ways you can change or book appointments at your GP practice:
- You could do it online
- Via phone
- Physically(you can directly schedule an appointment in person at reception).
Other Public Health Services In Cambridgeshire
You may not necessarily need to call your general practitioner for every health related issue. For minor health challenges there are health services that can help you and do not require an appointment. Some of them are:
- Pharmacists are healthcare professionals who are qualified to give advice on minor health related conditions that do not require a prescription (such as sore throats, stomach aches, minor burns).
- If you have an urgent health issue, which is not life-threatening, you can call the helpline- NHS 111. You would be able to speak to a trained adviser who will instruct you on the next thing to do.
- If you visit 111.NHS.uk and answer questions about your symptoms online, you will be advised on an appropriate course of action, depending on your circumstances.
- Sexual health services are free and open to everyone. You do not need to be registered for a GP to access this service. Visit any sexual health centre to get tested for sexually transmitted infections and/or for advice on contraception.
Public healthcare service is undoubtedly the cheapest healthcare in Cambridgeshire, lowering the cost of health to a minimum but there are also disadvantages to it.
The NHS has long waiting times and limited choices. If you want faster access to specialists and better healthcare facilities, you may want to consider the private sector. But, it is more expensive, especially for serious health conditions.
Private Health Insurance In Cambridgeshire
Private health insurance policies, although expensive, offer better services to residents in Cambridgeshire. With private health insurance, you get to choose the level of healthcare you want and how and when it is provided.
Typically, private hospitals and clinics have better facilities and shorter waiting lists. Most private policies do not include mental health, maternity services, general practice and emergency care.
Residents usually opt for private health insurance for one of the following reasons:
- their company provides it as part of an employment benefit
- they want to avoid long waiting times;
- They want to have more control over the medical treatments they receive.
Types Of Private Health Insurance Plans
Premiums on health insurance depend on the level of coverage, age, lifestyle behaviours like smoking and alcohol consumption and pre existing illnesses.
Another important factor is the type of medical insurance you’ll choose, as this will significantly impact the coverage you will get.
There are basically two main types of medical insurance:
This plan type excludes most pre-existing medical conditions that you have suffered from in the past five years.
- Full medical underwriting
The Full Medical Underwriting(FMU) excludes any medical conditions you have suffered from in the last five years. However, your insurer may start covering you for that condition after two year on the policy.
Average Private Health Insurance Costs
To give you a rough estimate of the costs of private treatments, below some price averages and ranges:
- Consultations: costs an average of 200 GBP (250 USD)
- Surgical procedures: costs between GBP 1,000 (1,300 USD) to 10,000 (13,000 USD)
Private Health Insurance Providers
Below are some private health insurance companies in the UK:
- Allianz Care
- BUPA Global
- Cigna Global
With a clear view of your needs and preferences, you can find different comparison sites online that can help you make informed decisions based on your specific needs.
You can seek help from a professional to help and advise you through the process because it can be both confusing and overwhelming.