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Private Medical Insurance, Essential for the High-Net-Worth and High-Powered

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With the global health and wellness market set to be worth more than 6 trillion dollars by 2025, new fads and trends are continually emerging from the weird to the wonderful, including sound baths, sustainable gyms, and lymphatic drainage. People are more aware of their own physical and mental wellbeing than ever, with many of us implementing new year’s resolutions centered around our diet and lifestyle in search of a longer, happier, and healthier life.

Many of us will make incremental improvements such as increasing activity levels, tracking our steps or counting calories, but chances are we haven’t considered health insurance as part of a holistic approach to managing our health. And yet, health insurance offers many benefits that not only complement our lifestyle choices but can lead to better overall health outcomes.

 

Better treatment choices

In the UK, NHS waiting list for elective treatment have grown over the past ten years, reaching 4.6million prior to the pandemic. However, with much routine care suspended due to Covid, this has now grown to a whopping 7.7million, with nearly 9,000 people in England estimated to have been waiting more than 18 months to start their treatment.

For those with busy lifestyles, hectic international schedules, high-powered work commitments or who run their own business empires, you probably can’t afford to be out of action, or off the circuit, for extended periods of time. This is where a premium health insurance policy pays dividends. But it’s not just about quicker access to a renowned consultant or specialist, it allows you to take full control of the choices affecting your health.

A private health insurance policy provides more readily available access to diagnostic testing such as CT, MRI, PET scans, X-rays, blood tests and ECGs. It gives you a range of options for which specialist you see and where, a better choice of appointment times and dates, and if you’re not happy with the advice provided you can usually seek a second opinion too. You will likely have access to treatments that aren’t available via publicly funded healthcare systems yet such as new drugs, cutting-edge surgeries, and alternative therapies (more on that later), and you’ll typically get a better quality of care facilities too.

 

Incentivised physical health

Around 1.1billion of us globally now use wearable fitness trackers, capturing various statistics such as heart rate, activity levels and sleep patterns. Health insurers are increasingly buying into this trend as a way of incentivising policyholders, actively encouraging them to take control of their own health and lifestyle choices.

Some health insurers now invite you to link up your wearable device to an app to track your fitness and earn points through increasing your step count or going to the gym, these points unlock membership benefits such as discounts or deals, free tickets, free coffee, and other perks. Many offer money off gym memberships to help you get fit for less, and some even give you a discount on your renewal premium if you provide information on your health and follow recommended actions to improve your lifestyle.

Of course for many high-net-worth these additional policy elements my seem inconsequential, but the behaviour change principles behind them are important considerations for us all.

 

Complementary and alternative approaches

Whilst not historically considered a part of conventional medicine, GPs are often reluctant to prescribe complementary or alternative therapies. However, there is growing evidence to suggest that complementary and alternative therapies can help reduce the need for more expensive medical interventions, and there is now a much wider acceptance of these specialisms amongst the general population. In the UK 9 out of 10 people have now tried a complementary or alternative therapy at some stage.

In recent years many health insurers have added complementary and alternative therapies to their cover options including acupuncture, aromatherapy, osteopathy, chiropody, massage, physiotherapy, and chiropractic care. These approaches can be used in conjunction with other treatments to help manage symptoms or simply improve overall health and may offer a multitude of preventative benefits.

 

Improved mental health

Regretfully one in four adults experience a mental health issue each year, but  once again long waiting lists can be a barrier to accessing appropriate care in a timely fashion. The stigma surrounding mental health has greatly reduced in recent years and most health insurance policies now offer some form of mental health support. Depending on the level of cover you select, services can range from telephone support to talking therapies like counselling and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), for conditions such as depression, anxiety, eating disorders, addiction, phobias, and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), as well as support for ADHD and autism.

In many cases, access to improved support provides an opportunity to take better care of your mental health and manage issues like stress and anxiety before they develop into longer term problems. Insurers are now encouraging active participation in mindfulness with some offering online mental health resources and training, or discounts on mindfulness apps or wellness retreats.

 

Enhanced lifestyle options

If you travel extensively for work or pleasure, have dual residences, or spend long periods overseas, international health insurance offers a multitude of additional benefits to suit your lifestyle. It’s particularly relevant for owners or employees of multinational companies because these policies offer access to specialists in different countries, and often provide the option to receive treatment in the country of your choice - which affords you an extra layer of flexibility.

International health insurance also covers aspects such as medical evacuation should you find yourself in an emergency in a country where treatment is not available locally, or medical repatriation in the event of serious illness, a traumatic event or after surgery. They’ll even pay for compassionate hospital visits from relatives, should you fall ill or have an accident abroad. Additional benefits include in-country crisis response services, local ambulance transport services, cover for pandemics, epidemics or outbreak of infectious illnesses, emergency dental treatment and even maternity care.

Often those high-net-worth may consider themselves well positioned financial to cover any unseen eventualities. But medical costs and treatments continue to rise and are often high than envisaged. In addition navigating complex healthcare systems in isolation can be complicated and time-consuming.

Therefore with a wide range of insurers and cover levels to choose from, from basic health cash plans to comprehensive policies that offer a full spectrum of inpatient and outpatient cover options, health insurance provides a host of benefits, even for high-net-worth individuals, that can also improve or enhance your overall wellbeing and lifestyle – which puts you back in the flying seat when it comes to managing your own health and the health of your family.

 

The views and opinions expressed in this piece are those of the author and do not constitute advice or a recommendation. They do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Enness and are not intended to indicate any market or industry viewpoints, or those of other industry professionals.