At Ascend Health, we are pleased to provide our clients with a comprehensive market review every year. We help you to compare your health insurance policy to other providers in the market. If you choose us as your health insurance broker we do all the research for you.

When looking at a private medical insurance policy for example, we have many questions to consider when looking the similarities and differences in cover such as:

1. What is the level of out-patients cover?
Full refund/£1000 or £500 limit/no out-patients cover

Out-patients cover is for specialist consultations, x-rays, pathology, physiotherapy, radiotherapy, chemotherapy, MRI, CT and PET scans. Please note that many providers cover the high cost scans, MRI/CT and PET scans and out-patients cancer treatment in full, regardless of your out-patient limit.

2. Is there an excess in place or required and is it per claim or per policy year?
£0/£50/£100/£200/£250/£500 or maybe even £1000

Your excess could be per claim or most commonly per policy year. The higher the excess level you have, the cheaper your premium will be. When you compare your health insurance, make sure the excess is like-for-like. An excess per claim will be cheaper than an excess per year.

3. Which hospital list?
Standard hospitals/London hospitals/reduced hospital option

Having cover for the higher charging London hospitals can increase the premium you pay if you have hospital list options. If you live in Scotland or Northern Ireland, AVIVA offer a greatly reduced premium for their Signature hospital list. When you compare your health insurance policy, make sure you have the right hospital cover specified.

4. What is the start or renewal date?
In case of rate changes from the insurers.

If you are looking to purchase a policy and there is a rate change due, you may save money by bringing forward your policy start date so it begins prior to the increase. For those people who already have a policy in place, you cannot obtain a comparison with a start date that differs from the renewal date.

5. Is there cover for psychiatric claims?
Claims for psychiatric/mental health issues can prove costly. You could see a significant reduction in premium if you opt to remove cover for mental health.

6. Is there cover for cancer?
Core cover/full cover/completely removed from the policy

Cancer cover is available in different levels from many providers. You may want the peace of mind to know you have full cancer cover including end of life palliative care. You could chose to remove cancer cover altogether and use the NHS for this. Removing cover for cancer or limiting the cover for cancer will provide you with substantial savings. Please note that not all providers offer the option to remove cancer cover completely.

7. Are there any add-ons required?
Travel/dental & optical/additional care benefits/healthy lifestyle rewards

Different insurers offer different types of policy add-ons. These will generally increase your premium.

8. Are there any cost containment options required?
6 week wait/selected benefit reductions

If you are looking to reduce your premiums significantly, the 6 week wait option may be for you. If eligible treatment is available on the NHS within six weeks from the referral date, you will use the NHS. However if the wait for treatment is more than six weeks then you can go private straight away. The 6 week wait option applies to in-patient or day-patient treatment.

Although we have shown above the comparison details on a private medical insurance policy, we would review cash plans, dental cover and occupational health in the same way, as all of these plans have their own nuances.

With all insurance policies from any market sector, no two providers offer cover that is exactly the same. There are so many variations on benefit level, excess and hospital lists that it becomes a minefield of information for people to wade through. We pride ourselves in knowing the policies we offer our clients inside-out and our ability to help you compare your health insurance on the closest matching cover levels. Comparisons are recommended for individual clients, SME businesses or corporate clients.