HOW TO CHOOSE A MEDICAL PROVIDER

The majority of AIA members will be aware of private health plans, and more often than not, you will question if you really need it when you receive your annual renewal every year.  In most cases, the answer will be no, but the knowledge that it provides you with peace of mind when faced with a medical problem will encourage you to keep it.  The next question you ask yourself is can you get it cheaper, and then you start to hunt out other providers on comparison sites and trawling through adverts, which in all probability will make you wish you had not started. 

The truth is that trying to compare medical plans is nigh on impossible because of the various clauses, jargon and rules that apply to different providers and plans. Do you want in-hospital and overnight stays, or in-hospital outpatient cover and choice of hospital.  You will be inundated with moratoriums, excess, and so the list goes on.  You want simplicity and a full understanding of what you are buying. In order to try and simplify the process for you, the first step towards getting a plan is to make a list of what YOU want from your plan and one that best suits you, your state of health, lifestyle and cost.

If you spend a lot of time abroad or have sporting hobbies, you may want to consider a plan that covers you for travel and interests. What if you want to change from your current plan, does your potential provider offer you a free transfer facility which has no breaks in your cover. Once you have made your list, you can start to research and compare the various providers and plans. A good tip is to balance what you need with the amount you want to pay.

One of the key factors of taking out a private medical health plan is to give you peace of mind when faced with the prospect of surgery or medical condition.  We interpret peace of mind as being able to talk to your provider about any concerns you have and being treated in a personal, sympathetic and professional manner.  The last thing you want is to be connected to an automated service and pushing buttons to get through to someone.

Ok, so you have done your research and are now deciding who to choose. Quite simply, pick up the phone and call each provider. Speak to their claims department and assess their handling of your enquiry. Having to claim on your health plan is the reason for joining. You need to know how their system works, including how approachable the staff are, what is the claims procedure and how quickly will your claim be settled.

These few simple steps can help ease the stress of taking out a private medical health plan, and bring you the peace of mind that prompted you to provide it for yourself in the first case.  You can call HMCA on 01423 866985 for further advice and information or visit us at www.hmca.co.uk.