Cash sums are paid if you have to go into hospital, see a specialist, visit the dentist or optician, give birth or require alternative therapies such as homeopathy, acupuncture or physiotherapy. They are geared towards the day-to-day health expenses we all have to meet.
They encourage you to seek and receive early medical investigation and treatment. Helplines and health screening are increasingly common inclusions. Some now offer discounts at selected health clubs. Some offer more specialised benefits which may be tailored towards your particular needs such as benefits for illness at home, aftercare and home help.
Premiums are collected monthly, usually by direct debit. A low cost health plan may also include or offer other insurance such as critical illness insurance, funeral benefits, and accidental death benefits.
Private medical insurance pays for treatment and operations performed privately. Health cash complements NHS or private treatment by paying for everyday health treatments. Some people choose cash plans when they would not consider private medical insurance. Some have both.
Health cash plans were once just Hospital Cash Plans, but they have greatly evolved and now offer a wider variety of healthcare benefits that it is important to dovetail your health cash and private medical insurances.
There is a huge variety of low cost health plan products. Each provider has their own ideas of what to offer as a basic package and what options to provide. A range of benefit levels is usual so they can meet every pocket.
Cash plans only help with the cost of treatment, not its provision, so you still have to seek out the treatment yourself. Most do not cover all your expenses, only a proportion, and each benefit has an annual limit. Different plans refund different amounts, usually between 50% and 100% of the bill, up to a pre-set limit. So, if your healthcare bills are fairly modest, look for a low-cost policy with low benefit limits but 100% payouts. No medical underwriting required before joining
Children are often included free of charge where one or more of the parents are covered.