There are a number of different forms of health insurance and the benefits they provide may vary significantly.
Generalising is, therefore, risky. Even so, it may be possible to highlight a few common threads in terms of what health insurance may be able to do for you.
Fast access to specialist consultant and diagnostic services
Sometimes one of the worst aspects of being unwell is the uncertainty that may arise while you are waiting to see a specialist.
Your general practitioner may already have given their opinion relating to your condition but that may require consultant confirmation and precise diagnosis.
Even in a situation where your symptoms and possible conditions are not regarded as serious, delays in obtaining an unequivocal diagnosis may be emotionally draining for you and your family.
Family medical insurance may be able to ensure that you see a consultant very quickly and get that diagnosis made or confirmed.
The National Health Service has an excellent reputation for providing critical and chronic healthcare but with less serious ailments there may be delays in obtaining treatment.
Private medical insurance may enable you to have very fast access to medical treatment at a hospital or clinic of your choice.
Not only may this deal with the problem quickly but it may also enable you to minimise disruption to your life caused by your condition and even enable you to get back to work faster than might otherwise be possible.
Some policies might be able to extend cover should you be travelling overseas on business or pleasure.
Given today’s highly mobile world, that may prove to be something that is particularly important to you.
For most parents, the thought of their children being unwell and needing to wait for treatment due to queues and delays, is a worse prospect than the thought of being ill themselves.
Even if the condition is not particularly serious, knowing that our loved ones are unwell is an unpleasant experience.
Of course, family medical insurance cannot stop anyone becoming ill but it may enable you to deal with certain types of ill health in the family faster than may be the case if you are entirely reliant upon the NHS.
The freedom of choice
Sometimes it may prove to be extremely frustrating to find out that you will need to travel a potentially significant distance in order to undergo inpatient or outpatient hospital treatment.
In the case of private medical cover, you might typically be able to choose a hospital or clinic that is local to you rather than one that your local health authority believes makes sense from a consolidation of resources point of view.
This might also make it far more convenient for your family to get you there or to visit you if your treatment involves a stay.
As not all of us are naturally gregarious, the fact that you may be able to obtain a private room might also be attractive.