NHS vs Private Health insurance

I've recently moved to the UK and am struggling a little with the Healthcare system. I have private health insurance and am registered with a GP, and i truely don't understand the difference :)

- If NHS covers most treatments if referred to by your GP, why use the private plan?
- If private plans helps with wait times, how can I use it? Can I go to whomever Doctor I want then claim the expenses? or do I still need a GP referral but will get bumped up to the beginning of the line if I'm privately covered?
- Does the same process (whatever that is) apply to Dental?

Sorry about the long list..

Hi Esraesra and welcome to the Forum,

To answer your questions:

Depends on what Insurance you have I guess.  Assuming you're in the UK under normal circumstances, then you should be adequately covered by the National Health Service (NHS) which is pretty much all you'll need for day to day health care and is free at the point of delivery.  In my experience, the only time that Private Healthcare is a bonus is when you want/need treatment that is at the end of a waiting list - that's the only time I ever used it and in fact I gave it up as a salary benefit as I was getting taxed on it and only ever used it once.

Due to my personal circumstances, I'm lucky and never need to wait to get to see a doctor (I did once wait a very long time to try and get out of a hospital, but that's another story!).  I've heard some stories of people waiting weeks before they can get in to see their GP for a routine appointment, so perhaps it could benefit you there.  My wife is a practice nurse and she tells me the patients get a different number to contact the doctor for private appointments, but they are in the same surgery with the same NHS doctor that you would get to see for free - just you've paid to jump the queue).   I can't talk authoritatively regarding the billing aspect; my advice is to speak to the Practice Manager and ask regarding this.

There are NHS dentists, but they are very rare and even then, it only covers a small part of the cost of treatment, so you end up paying most of it anyway.  So I'd recommend a dental insurance policy.

Hope this helps.

Expat Team

Thank you so much, detailed and informative :) :)

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