Insurance is often looked at in negative terms. In fairness, that’s understandable. Fundamentally, insurance will always be something you buy to protect you against the consequences of a negative event that you hope won’t happen. With that said, however, insurance can offer some positive benefits too. Here are some you might not have thought of.
Unconventional health benefits
You probably already understand that the fewer claims a policyholder makes, the more profit an insurance company makes from them. As a result, people with lower claims rates tend to be accepted as clients more easily and get better rates. You may not have realised that it often makes sense for insurers that offer health cover to encourage their customers to live healthy lifestyles.
The way insurers typically do this is by offering health-boosting, value-add benefits with their policies. As business (often corporate) buyers, insurance companies are often able to commit to high-value and/or long-term contracts. This means they generally qualify for rates that would never be offered to individuals. The insurers can then pass on these discounts to their policyholders in the form of value-add benefits.
In some cases, the value of these benefits can be enough to justify the policy. Here are some examples of what that could mean in practice.
Priority access to GPs and specialists
In the UK, it is currently notoriously difficult even to register with a GP. Waiting times for non-emergency appointments can be lengthy, to put it mildly. With health insurance, however, you can often get priority access to GPs.
Similarly, if you want access to specialists such as mental-health consultants or nutrition consultants, then you may have to wait a very long time for access on the NHS. With health insurance, by contrast, you can often be seen quickly.
Emphasis on prevention
The old saying “prevention is better than cure” is arguably at its truest when applied to health. What’s more, it applies to both individuals and insurers. Again, the more people can do to prevent health issues, the less likely they are to need to claim on their insurance. It’s therefore in the insurer’s interests to help them to stay healthy.
That means health insurance often comes with benefits that relate to preventative measures such as screenings (physical and/or mental) and help to stay active (e.g. special deals on gym membership). They may also cover alternative therapies and treatments such as massage.
Focus on speeding up your recovery
Another reality of the NHS is that it has to ration its resources. This means that it typically provides the minimum level of treatment necessary to achieve what it considers to be a desirable result. This may not be the result you want.
With health insurance, on the other hand, you have far more chance of getting the treatment you want. You’re also more likely to get those treatments when you want them because you’ll be able to bypass NHS waiting lists.
Another point worth noting is that insurers may offer support with non-medical expenses during recovery or rehabilitation. For example, they may cover the cost of hospital parking. This could make it much easier for you to make appointments.
Health insurance is very much a product with a serious purpose. Most of the value-add benefits offered by health insurers also have serious purposes. Increasingly, however, insurers are offering more fun benefits to give their services broader appeal. Often these benefits are health-related (e.g. discounts on workout gear) but this is not always the case.
Sometimes these benefits are made available to anyone who takes out a policy. At other times, they have to be unlocked through taking action. These actions are likely to be health-related such as taking a certain number of steps in a certain time.
For more information, please get in touch
Approved by The Openwork Partnership on 26/7/23