Surgeons operating in the theatre

Health and Wealth – the perfect partnership

Written by Gemma Darcy

A comment made by one of my clients, drove home the message that to ensure a happy future, managing our health is as important as planning our wealth.

Nutrition the Core

Image of Gemma with the Nutrition the Core team

“Gemma cares about wealth in the same way we care about health.”

John Fielding – Nutrition the Core

Nutrition the Core’s business concentrates on offering clients preventive nutritional care at a crucial stage of life, rather than care towards the end of life. Common sense you’d think, but if like me your lifestyle is super busy, we rarely take time to think about the long-term effects on our health.

The first we know about it…

…is when something goes wrong and we need to seek advice from a medical specialist.

Sadly, one of the significant impacts of Covid-19, is the delivery of elective care which has resulted in a longer wait for treatment. The NHS published their plan of action [1], to tackle the backlog of elective care outlining how “…waits of longer than a year will be eliminated by March 2025”.

Two people holding hands

IPPR/YouGov Poll

Meanwhile, a recently published IPPR/YouGov poll [2], reported that 31 per cent (equivalent to 16 million adults*) in Britain had found it hard to access the health care they needed during the pandemic.

Of these, 12 per cent said they used some form of paid-for alternative, with 26 percent actively considering it. The findings also predict accessing high-quality care on the NHS could become as challenging as finding state-funded dental treatment.

*IPPR extrapolation using official population estimates

Many of us do not have a clear understanding of what Private Health Insurance (PMI) can offer. As the benefits of early diagnosis before any disease gains traction are clear, we asked Amanda Fearn – specialist adviser in the private health care sector – to give us some insight into the options available to us.

Why consider Private Medical Insurance?

“If, as the IPPR/YouGov poll suggests, more people are considering whether the flexibility of health insurance tailored to their budget is for them, then they have a choice of options,” explains Amanda.

“PMI is designed to help you pay for care and treatment of short term, curable conditions as and when you need it,” she continues.

“It’s important to note that you can’t simply take out a private policy to use when your condition has already been diagnosed and are on an NHS wait list. This would entail self-paying for the care you receive, not always affordable depending on the treatment you need.”

Patient lying in a hospital bed receiving treatment

What are my options?

Patient in a wheelchair

“The following is a brief outline of the options available to you.”

1 The NHS

“If you’re happy to wait for any treatment you may need then naturally this makes the most financial sense. You may still have to pay for some treatments. For example, [3] if you’ve been in hospital, or had an illness or fall and need temporary care to help you stay independent any longer than six weeks, you may have to pay for it.”

2 Company Health Plan

“If you have access to a company health plan, this is by far the best option for the healthcare cover provided, as you only pay the taxable benefit charge. However, before you sign up, ask your HR department to clarify any details you don’t understand. Industry jargon can be confusing; HR will be able to contact the provider on your behalf and ensure you have all the information at hand to make a decision as to what policy you need.

Once you take out a policy, your provider usually offers you access to a helpline. Naturally, if you were to leave the company you would lose the benefit.”

3 Self-Pay

“With this option you could invest money specifically to fund future healthcare; this means you would only use your savings if and when required. Do be aware of the cost of funding private medical care yourself though, it can be extremely expensive. Gemma says many of her clients invest on a monthly basis for future goals such as school and university fees, a special holiday, or to retire early. In her experience, most would be reluctant to use their pot to pay for healthcare, whereas taking out PMI prevents this from being an issue.”

The value of an investment with St. James’s Place will be directly linked to the performance of the funds you select and the value can therefore go down as well as up. You may get back less than you invested.

4 Private Health Plan

“If you chose this option, and assuming you’re in good health, the earlier you start your plan, the cheaper your premiums. You’d expect me to advocate all the bonuses to taking out PMI, so here are some of the pitfalls:

  • Pre-existing conditions will not normally be covered unless your provider specifically allows this.
  • Chronic conditions are also not covered, ie, asthma, eczema, colitis, etc, basically anything you can’t cure, but are able to monitor and maintain with lifestyle changes.
  • The rules around personal versus company are different. If you’re lucky enough to have both options to consider, do take advice to see which is best for you.
  • Most policies do not cover emergency surgery.”

“There are plenty of policy benefits of course, and you may also be able to access cover which gives you cash back towards optical, dental, or other benefits. Money back in your pocket, you can spend on something enjoyable!”

“Taking specialist advice is always the best option to know exactly what you’re getting for your money. You don’t want any surprises if and when you come to claim and – in my experience – it really does benefit the client. However, there shouldn’t be a charge if all you need is some general advice.”

5 Combination of Self Pay and Private Health Plan

“To keep the monthly payments down, you could just take out insurance for extreme conditions such as cancer and those related to the heart.

For the vast majority of us, these types of healthcare are totally unaffordable on self-pay.”

Wealth and health – holistic approach

“Ultimately, my advice would be to consider what cover you’d like. Would you like your policy to offer the option to choose your consultant? The hospital where you receive your treatment? Some have better facilities than others, etc? PMI is designed to cover elective surgery – the non-urgent operations such as a hip/knee replacement, the ones the NHS want to eliminate waits of longer than a year by March 2025. Naturally, it’s cover versus budget, but you need to be confident that the cover you’re buying will cater for your needs.”

Wealth and health partnership

Man drinking coffee and smiling

“To be able to offer clients the healthcare plans they need, SJP partnered with WPA because the two companies share the same ethos: both reputable organisations dealing in the same professional sectors.”

“As with SJP, WPA clients are not just directed to a call centre, but to their own personal adviser if they need help. The financial and healthcare advisers work together to create a holistic approach for their clients.”

Self-referral

“Self-referral is included for any clients Gemma refers to WPA, saving the need to access your GP to get a medical referral. However, WPA’s remote GP receives excellent feedback, particularly from those working full time as it’s a 24/7 service – I’d definitely recommend this as the starting point to be on the right track/specialist area.”

“The cash back towards optical or dental, or other member benefits are also included as standard on some WPA cover.”

Doctor typing at a laptop

About Amanda Fearn

Portrait of Amanda Fearn

Amanda has been a practitioner in the private health care sector since 2009, initially working with Bupa, going on to become a Partner with the WPA Healthcare Practice in 2017. She worked holistically with Gemma, until she recently emigrated to Canada.

Like Gemma, Amanda loved making her advice transparent. She was passionate about providing businesses and private individuals with a healthcare plan that offered freedom of choice, as well as the service excellence supported by clinical expertise.

Sources

[1 ] NHS Delivery Plan for Tackling The Covid-19 Backlog of Elective Care 2022, February 2022

[2] The State of Health and Care 2022 – IPPR, 2 March 2022

[3] NHS Social Care and Support Guide, 18 May 2022

Further Information

The British Medical Association offers independent guidance on seeking PMI, please visit their website for further information by clicking here.

Links from this website exist for information only and we accept no responsibility or liability for the information contained on any such sites. The existence of a link to another website does not imply or express endorsement of its provider, products or services by us or St. James’s Place. Please note that clicking a link will open the external website in a new window or tab.

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