Guide to Joint Medical Insurance

Taking out a medical insurance policy with your partner can ensure that you both receive the same high-quality private health care.

In times of ill health, especially when they involve extended breaks from work, meeting the cost of treatments and keeping up with the everyday finances can be a struggle.

Read on to find out how a joint medical insurance policy can help ease the strain of healthcare costs on couples.

What is Joint Medical Insurance?

Like with conventional medical insurance policies, you can cover the costs, either fully or partially, of private medical services, with one manageable monthly payment.

Your premium payments allow you to bypass NHS waiting lists in some part, and access faster treatments and appointments. You can also choose between doctors and select medical centres close to your home.

Joint health insurance policies allow you to select your preferred level of cover for the two policyholders. This means that when you make a claim, your agreed cover may be paid out as a cash lump-sum. This can then be used to pay for the private medical care you receive. If you have children under 18, you may want to look at Family Health Insurance as an alternative.

For more on private medical insurance, take a look at our FAQs article.

What Can Be Covered in a Joint Medical Insurance Policy?

Policies and levels of coverage vary among providers. You may have to select the amount you would pay as an excess before the medical insurance provider gives funds for the rest of your treatments. Some of the services available under certain plans may include;

  • Out-patient Treatment
  • In-Patent Treatment
  • Day-Patient Treatments
  • Additional therapies – such as psychiatry, physiotherapy, podiatry
  • Routine Healthcare expenses – such as dental and optical appointments services
  • Home Nursing
  • Cancer Cover

Your premium charges will also be determined by things like your age, occupation, sex, state of health, lifestyle, hobbies, and family medical history. When taking out a joint policy, you and your partner/joint policyholder will have to answer some medical questions. You may also need to undergo a medical assessment, or supply doctor’s notes and medical records. From this combined information, one premium price is worked out by the insurer.

Please note: If the information you supply is found to be fraudulent when you make a claim, you will receive no payout from your insurer. For instance, if you smoke and you state that you’re a non-smoker on your application, you may not receive a payout for a smoking-related condition.  

Let’s Look at a Joint Medical Insurance Example:

Emma and Michael have recently married and are looking at getting a joint health plan together. They have looked at their options and preferences, and have contrasting ideals on the levels of cover they would like.

Emma would like some cancer cover in her policy, as she has a family history of breast cancer. She is young (25 years old) and she has not suffered any symptoms or concerns in the past. She would just like this extra precaution on her plan, as well as cover for in and out-patient care, as a basic policy.

Michael, on the other hand, has no family history of the illness and is less concerned about having cover in this area. As he enjoys playing football on weekends, he would like to add cover for physiotherapy. In case he injures himself playing at any point.

Based on their two different needs and medical backgrounds, the couple opted for a medically underwritten policy, with the inclusion of physiotherapy and cancer cover.

What are the Benefits of Joint Health Insurance Plans?

  • Excess – You can choose to have an excess on your policy. This is where you agree to part-fund your treatment up to an agreed limit. Then after that, you may claim the rest of the expenses on your insurance. Setting your excess to an affordable, but considerable amount, may help to lower your insurance premiums.
  • Separate Conditions, One Policy – Even though you are joining with another, many joint policies will allow you to set two levels of cover. This may be useful for couples where one person, for example, has a dangerous occupation.
  • Increased Comfort in Hospital - Private medical centres can often offer their private patients their own rooms, which are quite often more comfortable than a typical NHS ward. They will also often have more flexible visiting hours for families. So, you and your partner can recover in a relaxing place with your loved ones around you.
  • Choice of Treatment and Location – When you take out a policy, most insurers will ask you to elect a care network of hospitals and centres where you would most prefer to be treated. This means that you have a choice of doctors and consultants, as well as ensuring that you are as close to home and relatives as possible.
  • Helplines – Customer service, for a range of queries, is often provided in private medical policies. This means that you can go to your insurer with concerns on your cover, as well as medical conditions. Offering customers peace of mind in difficult circumstances.

What are the Pitfalls of Joint Health Cover?

  • Premiums Rise with Age – With these policies, the older you are when you take it out the more it may cost you in premium payments. This is because insurers see those in advanced years as more likely to claim for treatment for their ailing health. If you are relatively young and healthy, now would be a good time to consider taking out a plan. This is preferable to leaving for a few years, only to find your estimated premium costs have risen.
  • Essential Medical Services – Many private plans will not cover you for trips to A&E. This is because many private hospitals do not have provisions for these services. In which case, you will have to go through the NHS to get care.
  • Joint Policy – When your policy is being underwritten by your insurer, both parties will be accounted for separately. And then a joint premium charge will be put forward. This means that there may be no real discounts available for combining policies. In many cases, the costs will be the same as taking out two separate policies.
  • Pre-Existing Conditions – Whether you choose a medically underwritten or moratorium policy, in many cases, you will not receive cover for treatments of pre-existing medical conditions, such as diabetes. This is the case with the majority of medical insurance providers, as it poses more of a risk to the insurer.
  • Waiting Periods – You may have to wait for a certain amount of time after opening your policy before a successful claim on your insurance can be made. This varies from provider to provider and may not be the case with all plans.
  • Other Restrictions – With these policies, cover in many cases will not be granted for cosmetic medical procedures, as an example. However, you may be able to claim successfully, with some insurers, for restorative cosmetic procedures following on from an accident. You would need to check an individual policy’s terms and conditions carefully to get a full idea of the restrictions, so you are disappointed when a claim gets rejected.

What are the Alternatives to Joint Medical Insurance?

  • Health Cash Plans – This works slightly differently to full medical plans. With these, you pay a certain amount per month and then claim all, or partial funds, back after you have paid for the procedures. See more in our Guide to Health Cash Plans.  
  • NHS Treatment – Joint health insurance policies still allow for policyholders to seek NHS services. If you do not wish to pay for private medical care, you can simply go through the universal healthcare system.
  • Savings – If you would like the option of going private for certain procedures, you can keep some savings for these expenses. You may wish to do this for routine checks, like dental appointments.

If you would like to find out more about joint private medical insurance and how it could benefit you and your partner, get in touch with an independent medical insurance advisor. They can offer you a no-obligation quote, free of charge.

Quick friendly service. I was quite confused about what my family and I required but the policy options were quickly clarified and I got a great price and top service. Emily Thompson, Bath

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