If You Wish To Stay In Scotland When Your Studies End
If you are a non-UK student and you wish to either stay in Scotland after your course ends or to travel outside of Scotland, it is important to check on any reciprocal health agreements in place between your home country and that which you wish to stay in.
Healthcare Options For Expats And Visitors In The Uk
Expats in the UK must have an NHS number in order to make routine appointments with a General Practitioner . To obtain an NHS number, international citizens must register with a GP or make an appointment with their local health authority. Following that, they will be invited in for an interview. Finally, there will be some additional paperwork to complete. Demonstrating your residency is key. You will have to prove where you live in the UK. If they are successful at all stages, they will receive their NHS number via the mail.
One of the supporting documents expats need for an NHS application is a National Insurance number. Thankfully, everyone who already has a biometric residence permit already has one the NI number is printed on the back.
If you want access to a wider choice of medical services, shorter wait times and access to private care you can get coverage here: Health Insurance in the UK for Foreigners
How Healthcare Works In The Uk
It is impossible to explain the UK healthcare system without drawing upon the history of the NHS. Launched in July 1948, it is known worldwide for being the first healthcare system funded by general taxation, which provides free care at the point of use. Moreover, it fully recognizes health as a right, meaning that free care is granted on the basis of need rather than the payment of fees or insurance. In simpler words, if you are relocating to the UK, you will have access to free healthcare via the NHS. Even though the standard of medical facilities is good, be warned: the waiting lists can be long, and your choices might be limited.
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The Best Private Health Insurers For Customer Satisfaction
No private health insurer is truly delivering if they’re letting you down on service.
Between May and June 2021, we surveyed 538 Which? members that own private health insurance and have made a claim within the last five years. Members can see how five insurers – Aviva, AXAPPP, BUPA, Saga and Vitality Health – fared in our analysis of their service.
Which? members can log in to see the results of our analysis. If you’re not already a member, join Which? and get full access to these results and all our reviews.
3 out of 5
In May 2021, we surveyed 538 members of the Which? Connect Panel who claimed within the prior 5 years. Customer Score reflects respondents’ overall level of satisfaction with, and likelihood of recommending, the insurer. Customer Score sample sizes – Aviva , AXA PPP Healthcare , Bupa , Saga , Vitality Health
Do You Need Private Health Insurance
Its very much a personal choice. UK residents get free treatment on the NHS, so you only really need private medical insurance if:
- you would prefer not to wait for NHS treatment
- you dont want to use the NHS, and would prefer private hospitals where possible
- you want to be covered for drugs and treatment you cant get on the NHS, such as specialist surgery for sports-related injuries check the treatment is included in your policy before you buy.
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Factors That Can Affect The Cost Of Private Medical Insurance
The cost of private health care depends on two factors your personal circumstances and the level of policy coverage that you choose.
To better understand your circumstances, your insurance will ask you questions about:
Read more about your private health care coverage options with our guide to the best health insurance.
How Can I Find The Best Uk Private Health Insurance
To find the best health insurance for you, its always worth comparing a variety of policies. You can then see which offer the features you need, at a price you can afford. Whats best for someone else might not be right for you, so youll need to consider your personal circumstances and what you want from your policy.
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What To Consider When Choosing Private Health Insurance
Heres what to keep in mind when comparing health insurance quotes:
Cover level some insurance providers have tiered pricing levels. A comprehensive policy will cover most eventualities without a cost limit. Cheaper policies set a cap on how much you can claim for, which will vary, depending on the treatment.
Hospital location some hospitals, such as those in London and other major cities, may charge more, so your postcode could affect the policy price. Its worth considering how far youre willing to travel for treatment.
- Perks there might be incentives, such as discounts on gym memberships or on other policies you take out with the same insurance provider.
- Exclusions if you choose a basic policy, make sure youre comfortable with any exclusions. You could find the policy only covers limited outpatient treatment or doesnt include it at all.
- Cost your health insurance is likely to get more expensive as you get older, so dont be surprised if your premium rises after each birthday. This is partly due to inflation, but also covers advances in technology and testing. And as you get older, its more likely youll need to make a claim.
Other Types Of Insurance To Consider
If you fall ill or have an accident and cant work, you might find it hard to keep up mortgage payments or handle the bills especially if you dont have enough savings or sick pay from your employer.
Your priority should be insurance that keeps you out of financial difficulty, such as income protection.
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Do I Need Private Medical Insurance
Having private treatment is considered a luxury by many. Because the NHS offers fantastic levels of care and treatment, you dont need private medical insurance to lead a healthy life with access to medical support.
However, some people prefer to go through private healthcare services to jump ahead of NHS waiting lists, and perhaps to have more flexibiliy over their treatment, such as receiving care at home. When you consider the costs of paying for each private treatment, you might prefer to have insurance in place to help pay your bills.
When Is It Better To Have Private Health Cover
Private health insurance is useful if you ever have to undergo some serious procedures or diagnostic treatment.
According to a 2018 report by BoughtByMany, since the average cost of health insurance is £1,435 per year, this can be a good investment if you have to undergo surgery such as a hip replacement or knee replacement , gall bladder removal or cataract surgery .
However, you must check your policy regarding pre-existing medical conditions, since any historical treatments, conditions or symptoms may be excluded from your policy. See health insurance exclusions for more information.
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How Does The Excess Work
When you buy a policy, you can choose how much excess you pay that is, how much youll contribute to the cost of treatment if you make a claim. Depending on your insurance provider, you could set your excess at zero, £100, or even £1,000.
The higher your excess, the lower your premium is likely to be.
Youll usually pay an excess on a claim once per person, per policy year although some providers charge each time you claim. Others may offer you both options. Always read your policy terms and conditions so you know when youll have to pay an excess.
How Does Vitality Rewards Work
If you register on Vitalitys Member Zone and complete an online health check, youll be eligible to start earning Vitality points. These points can be exchanged for rewards with Vitalitys retail partners.
Most opportunities to earn points are linked to the data shown in your fitness tracker. You can earn points based on your daily steps, heart rate and calories burned, for example. If you dont have a fitness tracker, you can buy one at a discount via the Vitality website.
Partnering retailers include Amazon Prime, Caffe Nero and Vue Cinemas.
The reward system is reasonably generous too. If you walk 12,500 steps a day twice a week, youll earn enough points for a treat at Caffe Nero. Do this two weeks running and youll have enough points to buy Vue cinema tickets.
You can also earn points by checking in at a partnering gym or by taking a Vitality health check, among other activities.
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How Can I Gain Access To The National Health Service
International students, who will be in the UK for more than 6 months, can have access to the National Health Service while pursuing their degree in the UK. However, how they gain access to NHS depends on their country of domicile:
- Students from the EU should have a European Health Insurance Card that gives them the right to benefit from free NHS treatment.
- Non-EEA international students are required to pay an annual surcharge for the duration that the visa is granted. The full annual amount for more than 6 months is £300. Dependants will also be required to pay the surcharge. This surcharge can be paid as part of the visa application, and in case the application is not successful, you will be refunded the money .
How To Register For Healthcare In The Uk As An Expat
Registering for healthcare in the UK is done via registering with a general practitioner . You can choose your own GP practice, although some practices may refuse patients if they do not live in the local area or if the practice is too full.
Registration is done at the surgery by completing the GMS1 form . You will usually need to provide:
- valid ID, such as a passport
- proof of address, such as a UK utility bill
Upon registering, you should receive a medical card that can be used to document appointments. More information is available on the NHS website about how to register. This includes information about how to register as a temporary resident or homeless.
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Compare Health Insurance Quotes
In the UK, were lucky to have the NHS, but theres no denying that access to private care through health insurance can be reassuring. Its especially useful if youre self-employed and need to be treated quickly and at a hospital thats convenient for you. You can compare quotes with us now and complete your application online. Or, if youre still not sure about what policy might suit you best, our colleagues at Assured Futures can help you understand your options. You can also apply offline if you prefer. Call Assured Futures on 0808 141 1334.
The Cost Of An Ambulance
There were over 24,000 calls to 999 in August 2019, 13,000 of which resulted in a patient being transported to an emergency department. In August 2019, the average response time to the most critical cases was 7 minutes and 5 seconds, just above the target time of 7 minutes. The next most severe incidents had an average response time of 21 minutes and 13 seconds in August 2019, longer than the 18-minute standard.
- In 2019/2020, there were 14 NHS ambulance bodies in the UK 11 in England and 1 in each of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
- NHS ambulance trusts in England spent £92 million on private ambulances in 2018/2019, £2 million more than in the previous year.
- Air ambulances in England, Northern Ireland and Wales are all provided by charities.
- Scotland has one charity air ambulance to work alongside four NHS-funded air ambulances.
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How Do I Get Private Healthcare
You usually need to visit your GP first and be referred to private healthcare.
If youre interested in going private, just ask your GP if its an option and they should be able to give you more details.
Ask your GP for a referral to a private specialist. There are two main types of referral you can ask your GP to refer you to a specific consultant or specialist, or provide you with an open referral letter.
An open referral letter is addressed to any consultant that specialises in this condition your insurance provider can then provide you with a choice of consultants with the clinical skills and expertise you need.
Make sure youre clear on the costs involved and when payment will be due, especially if you dont have private medical insurance.
How Does Private Health Insurance Work
Private health insurance typically covers a range of acute conditions , but not chronic conditions . If you need treatment for a new health problem, your insurance can cover the cost of getting private treatment, which can sometimes be thousands of pounds. Private health insurance also doesnt cover you for a pre-existing condition.
Broadly, medical insurance works in much the same way as other insurance policies. You pay a monthly premium and claim on your insurance if you need treatment. Each time you claim, youll pay a small excess while your insurer covers most of your medical bill. The excess can be anything from £0 to £500.
You can get private health insurance to cover just you or other members of your family.
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Who Is Eligible For Coverage In The Uk
Anyone who is legally residing in the United Kingdom is entitled to free NHS healthcare. You do not have to be a British citizen or employed to be part of the system. Also, the UK has a number of reciprocal healthcare agreements with other countries, including New Zealand and Australia. As well, EU citizens with a European Health Insurance Card can be treated in the UK at no cost.
As a visitor to the United Kingdom, you can be treated in a UK hospital with an emergency room, regardless of whether or not you have an NHS number. However, you will be required to pay for the cost of your treatment after the fact. Therefore, it is important for tourists and other short term visitors to carry travel medical insurance to cover the cost of medical emergencies.
Disadvantages Of Private Healthcare
There are some disadvantages to opting for private treatment:
- Its very expensive
- Its hard to know the cost for sure when you start treatment you could end up staying in hospital for longer than you thought, for example, leading to extra bills
- The private hospital you use may not have emergency care facilities, which may mean you end up being transferred back with the NHS until your condition is stable
- Its not necessarily better. Some conditions could be treated in NHS facilities anyway, so you wont get much extra for your money
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Your Guide To Health Insurance In The Uk
The United Kingdom is the destination of choice for many working expats, particularly those from Commonwealth countries. Regardless of where they come from, many will understandably have questions about the countrys healthcare system who does it cover, how much does it cost, what standard of care can I expect? While there is a very generous public health sector, the National Health System , many people still choose private health insurance to secure access to Great Britains many highly regarded private hospitals.
This brief guide has been written for you to get an understanding of what private health insurance in the UK looks like, and how you can secure the best medical plan for your situation.
What Types Of Health Insurance Policies Are Available
Getting the right health insurance for your needs is half the battle. First, you should decide why you want it and who you want it to cover.
- get fast access to medical care if you become ill or injured, avoiding NHS waiting times. Youll probably get more choice of consultant and hospital, too.
- covers both you and your partner. This is often cheaper than taking out two separate policies, but not always.
- covering your whole family under the same policy is likely to be cheaper than buying each family member individual cover.
- enjoy the reassurance that if your child becomes ill, theyll receive fast treatment in private hospitals and clinics.
Before you start comparing policies, check if you already have private health insurance through your employer.
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What Does Private Health Insurance Cover
Exactly what is covered by private health insurance will vary between providers and the level of cover you choose.
However you can typically expect the following with comprehensive private health insurance:
- Private consultations with specialist doctors.
- In-patient treatment, including surgery.
- Out-patient services including scans, tests and x-rays.
- Physiotherapy for problems such as back pain or sporting injuries.
- Access to round-the-clock medical helplines and virtual GP appointments.
However it is important to note that private healthcare insurance wont cover all your medical needs.
There are some important exclusions, including:
- Emergency treatment. If you need urgent medical help you should always consult your GP, call 999 or head to Accident & Emergency.
- Maternity care. Although you can pay to give birth in a private hospital, it wont be covered by your insurance policy, nor will any regular pregnancy appointments.
- Chronic conditions. You wont be able to claim for arthritis or diabetes treatment, for example.