Do I Still Need Private Medical Insurance When I Retire?

By FMB on 

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Do you know what your options will be at retirement?

If you are coming up to retirement and currently have a PMI policy through work you might be wondering whether to carry on with a policy yourself. Read on...

Private medical insurance (PMI) is a crucial part of a long term retirement strategy that requires careful consideration because your health is equally as vital as your finances, if not more so. We work closely with Independent Health Care Solutions (IHCS) in our joint aim to support clients and to help you to make an informed decision about your retirement planning. We have chosen IHCS as they are a specialist medical insurance broker aiming to give clients unbiased advice, jargon free guidance and ongoing support throughout the policy year.

The NHS is under increasing pressure

It is well publicised that the NHS is under ever growing pressure and financial constraints. The fundamental benefit of a private healthcare policy is that it offers you choices that you would not otherwise have. PMI allows you to circumvent the NHS for non-emergency medical conditions offering a wider variety of hospitals, practitioners and treatment options. A general misconception is that private healthcare insurance is prohibitively expensive as you get older and that it will not cover pre-existing medical conditions. In actual fact you can cover existing conditions and often the premiums are better value than you might expect.

What are my options?

As a typical retiree, you will normally be faced with one of two options:-

  • Do I proceed with a group scheme leaver’s policy?
  • Should I self-fund my medical needs?

The answer to the above is individual to each person’s requirements and as part of the service offered by our partner IHCS, they will be able to help you to explore the pro and cons of each option, so that you can make a fully informed decision.

Leaving a company-paid PMI scheme?

As a retiree, you may have had the benefit of a company paid healthcare insurance policy and therefore it is likely that you will be reluctant to lose the assurance that such a policy provides. IHCS can provide Group Scheme Leaver options designed to protect your current level of cover and your pre-existing medical conditions with your current insurer. Subject to your medical history, IHCS can also provide you with options from the wider market that will still cover your pre-existing conditions.

We recommend that private medical insurance should always form a part of your retirement planning. A simple policy based on Core Cover only will cover “in and day-patient” treatment and cancer treatment costs in full (subject to underwriting).

PMI versus NHS and how they compare

If you are 60 years old with no pre-existing conditions, you can expect to pay around £90 per month for a Core Cover policy with AXA PPP offering the following benefits:-

  • Full in-patient and day-patient cover
  • Full cancer care – including drugs/ diagnostics/ reconstructive surgery
  • Full hospital access with Fast Track appointment services
  • £500 annual excess with new moratorium underwriting

The benefit of a PMI policy becomes evident when you compare this with the cost of privately self-funded care. Below are two common conditions, often occurring during retirement and both of which can be treated within a matter of weeks within the Core Cover premium of £90 per month:-

  • Full knee replacement London NHS treatment time average of 21.3 weeks*
  • London private treatment cost average £10,468*
  • Cataract operation London NHS treatment time average 18.6 weeks*
  • London private treatment cost average per eye £2,225*

*sources LaingBuisson International Limited & NHS 2019

The big C word – would you have cover?

Cancer care, treatment options and waiting times are of paramount concern for everybody especially as we get older. The NHS aims to offer a cancer specialist referral within 2 weeks. Unfortunately this is not guaranteed and does not account for the required diagnostic tests. Even the most basic PMI policy will offer thefollowing:-

  • Rapid access to a consultant
  • Diagnostic tests within days
  • Access to drugs not guaranteed to be available on the NHS

So, do you need private medical insurance when you retire?

The answer is yes!

Good health should be viewed as the ultimate investment. It is something that you should invest in and protect as much as possible. For this reason Private Medical insurance is very much needed when you retire as, ultimately, the benefits that it offers are reassurance and peace of mind should you ever need to use it.

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