Health insurance has come a long way…

Health insurance has come a long way…

Paul Bridges – Client Relationship Director, Towergate Health+

The health insurance industry has come a long way. It is no longer solely about covering costs for hospital treatment – early detection of health issues, prevention and promoting a healthy lifestyle come high up the list of added extras for private medical insurance and health care providers.

With the dual pressures of work and modern life, some people often find themselves simply too busy to be pro-active about their health – the irony being, of course, that good health in itself is proven to boost effectiveness in countless areas.

Healthcare providers have been quick to respond to this, with several offering incentives to join the gym (and go on a regular basis!) and maintain a healthy lifestyle, as well as offering a wide variety of screening opportunities, usually based upon the individuals age, gender, and lifestyle choices.

One of the biggest publicly funded screening programmes in the UK has been the introduction of breast cancer screening for women over 45. The statistics speak for themselves; according to the annual report from the Health & Social Care Information Centre, 16,432 women had cancers detected by the screening programme in 2012/13 alone. Despite this success however, the range of screening programmes available on the NHS is somewhat limited.

Health screens offered by healthcare providers go a step further. While they of course cover tests for a huge range of serious medical conditions, they also often include a lifestyle assessment, encouraging people to re-asses their lifestyle and its possible impact upon their long term health, and then make positive changes.

One of the biggest advantages of a private health screen is also one of the most simple: time with a doctor. In an age where you will be lucky if you can get an appointment at all with your GP, and certainly nothing more than five minutes, a decent chunk of time with a medical professional is a rare opportunity indeed.

BUPA Wellbeing offer a particularly extensive health and well-being programme, with no less than 5 different health assessments offered, tailored to an individual’s personal circumstances. All the options offer at least 30 minutes with a medical professional. They’ll cover the most common screening tests for your age and gender – with bowel and prostate cancer tests included for men of a certain age for example. According to their research, 93% of customers felt reassured after their screening, while nearly 75% of customers made positive lifestyle changes afterwards.

Private healthcare is no longer a passive safety net, with providers priding themselves on adding value to their policies through their active health management offering. We work closely with several healthcare providers, offering both corporate and private medical insurance and a range of other health benefits. With more and more people identifying otherwise hidden health issues during screening, it’s worth asking, is it something you can afford to do without?

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