Derry, the second-largest city in Northern Ireland, also called the City of Londonderry is the only intact walled city in Ireland and is a fine example of a walled city in Europe. The walled city, charming and endearing, is rich in culture and history.
Living in Derry is blissful and having your health secured to ensure continuity is important and that is the major importance of health insurance.
Health insurance or coverage protects you and your family in events of health conditions that could arise in the future. The importance cannot be overemphasised. Remember that health is wealth.
There are several ways you can get healthcare in Derry. Usually, some employers offer their staff health insurance coverage as part of their benefit package. But this is not mandatory.
If you weren’t offered health insurance by your employer, you can also access healthcare services from either the public health service or purchase a private medical plan.
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Public Health Service In Derry
Majority of the residents living in Derry as well as other parts of Northern Ireland, make use of the public health service. The public health service provides health care services through HSC (Health and Social Care).
Established in 1988, the HSC is publicly funded and provides free healthcare services for every resident as well as social care services like home care services, daycare services, family and children’s services and social work services, living in Derry.
HSC service is the most affordable source of healthcare in the whole of Northern Ireland. Its key principles includes;
- Dignity and respect
- Responsive care and support
- Well being.
Eligibility For Public Healthcare Treatment
The HSC is very comprehensive and provides healthcare services free at the point of delivery for individuals who are considered as ordinary residents. This means that you do not need your own health insurance or have to pay to see a doctor; consultations and prescriptions are also free.
However, sometimes depending on your circumstance, you may have to pay for certain health services like dental and optical care treatment. It also depends whether you are a resident or just visiting.
Although all emergency treatments are free to all individuals but after emergency treatment has been provided, other services like admission to hospital as an inpatient or an outpatient etc may be chargeable if you are not ordinarily resident in Northern Ireland.
Private Health Insurance In Derry
Even though the city provides free medical care for its residents, some people opt for private health insurance or get it from work as company’s benefit.
Private health insurance is usually more expensive than public health insurance but it has shorter waiting lists compared to the latter.
There are several private hospitals that operate independently. Opting for private care in a private hospital requires you to pay the full cost of treatment and maintenance. Also private hospital care is provided in public and voluntary hospitals.
Secondary healthcare is well served by private health insurance. Secondary care refers to more specialised health treatment such as hospitals, mental health provision and care for the elderly. This healthcare involves;
- Diagnostic tests for certain conditions
- Specialist treatment, such as visiting a dermatologist
- Specific operations in a private hospital
- Non-essential treatments like cosmetic surgery
- Rehabilitation and treatment for addiction
There are many benefits of private health insurance. They include:
- It gives you more control and choice over the treatment you receive
- It provides cover for overseas treatment, psychiatric and outpatient benefits.
- It has shorter waiting times
- Access to better healthcare facilities
- Private health insurance takes the pressure that comes with the NHS while offering you peace of mind
- It gives you the ability to choose the consultant you want
- It also provides flexibility choosing the hospital convenient for you
Factors Affecting Premiums On Private Health Insurance
Private health insurance providers in Derry consider some factors when determining how much you pay as premium for your health insurance. These factors include;
Age is a major factor private health insurance providers in Derry use to determine premiums costs. Older individuals are considered as a high risk meaning that they are more likely to fall sick and need healthcare services. The amount you pay on health insurance is directly proportional to your age.
Your postcode or location also plays a role in your premium costs. While some areas are charged more and other areas may be charged less.
- Current Or Pre existing Health Condition
It is mandatory that you declare any pre-existing medical condition when you want to purchase a health insurance plan. Health insurers access the risk associated and base premium charges based on this risk.
Other factors include chosen benefits, lifestyle behaviours e.g smoking, alcohol consumption, gender, profession, body mass index and policy duration.
Using Private Health Insurance
Health insurance is used to pay for private healthcare services in hospitals or from various health professionals. The arrangements differ from one health insurance provider to another but most of them have agreements with hospitals that the company will pay the hospital directly.
There are some of companies that offer private health insurance:
- Voluntary Health Insurance Board
- Laya Healthcare
- Kingsbridge Private Hospital
- Hastings insurance
- Independent Healthcare Solutions
- VHI Healthcare
The National Health Service provides free healthcare services for ordinary residents in Derry. It is the most affordable healthcare service while private health is more expensive but offers a wider range of health services, has shorter waiting lists and better healthcare infrastructures. The best healthcare service depends on your needs and how much you can afford.