In the UK, public benefits are provided by each country’s National Health Service (NHS). Indeed, this service was decentralized in 1999: thus, England, Scotland, Wales, and Ireland each manage their own NHS and apply their reforms. The NHS allows free access to care.
Let’s focus here on the NHS operating in Oxfordshire, England; anyone residing there for more than 6 months can benefit from this service, in the same way as the English.
On the other hand, its membership is not automatic; it is up to each resident to register with an NHS medical practice to then be able to consult and receive care free of charge. Third-party payment is widely practiced there.
One of the peculiarities of the English public health system is the central role played by the general practitioner. It is necessary to consult it to be able to obtain an appointment with a specialist.
The general practitioner must judge whether you need to consult a specialist, the aim being to control public expenditure and to consult specialists only if the need is real.
A major drawback stands out: the length of the waiting lists. In addition, prescribed drugs are generally chargeable (about 9 pounds sterling), with some exceptions (contraceptive pills, pregnant women or elderly people, etc.).
The cover provided by the NHS can be supplemented by private health insurance, called Private Medical Insurance (or Private Health Insurance). Care not covered by the NHS may then be covered, depending on the protection you choose.
Overall, you will also be taken care of more quickly. You can consider the following private companies: Aviva, Bupa, and Axa PPP.
Registering With The NHS
Be careful to choose a GP affiliated with the NHS. You can search the NHS site to check this. You can supplement the coverage provided by the NHS by taking out private insurance, Private Medical Insurance(or Private Health Insurance). These private covers are often quite expensive but can significantly reduce waiting times.
In general, this health cover also avoids the disadvantages of the English public health system: you can be treated by a private GP and have much less waiting because you benefit from practitioners in your private insurance network.
You can also consult a specialist doctor directly, without having to consult a GP first.
The insured person who goes to a doctor approved by the NHS must apply for care under the NHS to obtain reimbursement.
If the insured does not go to a doctor approved by the NHS, or if he is treated privately by a doctor approved by the NHS, he will have to pay the fees claimed and will not be able to obtain any reimbursement from the British institutions.
Prescribed drugs are provided on the presentation of the prescription issued by the doctor. The insured does not have to make an advance on costs but must pay a fixed contribution (ie £9.35 per prescribed medicine).
Certain groups of insured persons are exempt from paying the flat-rate contribution (in particular people aged 60 and over, children under 16, or pregnant women).
For dental care, there are 3 different packages:
- £23.80 for preventive care, diagnosis, examination, advice, and urgent treatment.
- £65.20 for tooth extractions, fillings, and root canal treatments in addition to 1st package treatments.
- £282.80 for the fitting of crowns/dentures/bridges in addition to the treatments of the 2 previous packages.
The patient only pays one of the fixed prices per treatment, even if the treatment is spread over several consultations.
On the other hand, if the first consultation takes place in the context of a dental emergency, the subsequent visits constitute a new non-urgent treatment and are therefore subject to new participation by the patient.
Hospitalization is usually done on medical prescriptions. Direct hospitalization is however possible in case of emergency. Stays in an NHS-approved hospital are free, except for any special patient requests or services that are not medically necessary. Medicines administered during hospitalization are also free.
Do You Need Private Health Insurance In Oxfordshire?
There are still a handful of reasons to consider taking out private treatment cover:
- If you prefer to choose which doctor or hospital to go to for any procedure or treatment, or even access medicines and treatments that are not usually available on the NHS.
- If so, you’ll likely want second opinions or more tests to make sure you’ve considered all of your options before getting treatment.
- If you want to have the peace of mind of knowing that you can receive a bed in a private hospital and have visited 24 hours a day.
- If you think you may need treatment or service not covered by the NHS for free, such as dental care or specialist medicine.
- If you want to see doctors or specialists without the long waiting times of most NHS services (currently even longer due to coronavirus).
In short, private health insurance allows immigrants to access UK private health care and have more control over their medical treatment needs.
How To Reduce Premiums Of Private Health Insurance
Raise your Deductible
Health insurance usually offers the option of paying a deductible when you make a claim. A higher deductible can lower your premiums.
No one can predict a serious illness or injury, but it is worth thinking about whether it pays off or not.
For example, if your deductible goes from £100 to £250, and this saves you £120 on your annual premium, this may not work as overall savings if you make a claim.
You wouldn’t have saved £150 over the year, so you would have £30 out of pocket if you filed a claim. On the other hand, it is the option to make a claim that could give you the most peace of mind overall. It’s a matter of balance.
Removing Optional benefits
It is smart to understand the optional benefits in your policy to see if you would like to waive them. Things like coverage for additional therapies, psychiatric coverage, travel coverage, dental coverage, etc. Most insurers won’t drop these benefits mid-term, but you can usually drop them at renewal. It may not make much difference, but as they say, every little bit counts.
Reconsider your Outpatient cover
It’s also worth checking whether you can lower your level of outpatient cover. Each insurer’s coverage varies, but generally, it includes things like consultations, diagnostic tests, and physical therapy, so it’s an important part of your private health insurance policy.