Gransnet forums

News & politics

Least bad private Health System ?!?

(59 Posts)
jura2 Sat 01-Jun-19 17:10:28

So hope we will soon have a Government who strongly believes in proper funding for the amazing and wonderful NHS. But would be interested in hearing about different insurance systems from around the world. We all know the USA is a total disaster.

Perhaps the Swiss system is the 'least bad'. Everyone has to have Health and Accident insurance, and there is a whole array of different insurance companies offering different packages. They all have different 'franchises' on offer- that means the minimum sum one has to pay before the insurance kicks in. If you are young and healthy, you can choose a high 'threshhold franchise' and if you have health conditions, a low one. Insurances have to take you on for basic insurance, whatever your health or pre-existing condition. And then they all offer a variety of 'top ups' for extra on top, choice of consultant or Hospital, private room, massage, etc. Problem being that if you want those extras, you have to declare all your medical conditions - and anyone older than 40- and certainly 60- is turned down, especially if they have had illness or accidents, etc, in the past. Our case, for instance.

OH has to have minor op in 2 weeks- 20 minutes, 2 days in hospital - the forecast bill 'CHF8000.-- so about £5000. As he was referred by the local hospital to specialist in different County- it won't be covered. Can you imagine the stress if you haven't got any savings???

kittylester Sat 01-Jun-19 17:19:02

Crikey jura.

I keep saying on here what fantastic NHS treatment DH has had all round lately. And, all for just paying his NI contributions since he started work at 23.

Dinahmo Sat 01-Jun-19 17:20:18

I'm in France where we also pay for top up insurance. A few years ago my husband had sever pains in his chest and we called the emergency services who came very quickly. Although the ecg showed nothing wrong with his heart the doctor on call decided to send him to hospital where after various tests they decided that he had pericarditis.

Sometime afterwards he received a bill which detailed the various cost involved and they amounted to nearly 4000 euros. we're covered by the SI etc so had nothing to pay but it was interesting to see the breakdown.

There are some Brits living here who try to stay out of the system and I heard of one such a few years ago. A man had heart problems and it was decided to airlift him to Bordeaux. He was in intensive care but sadly he died. His widow received a bill for 24,000 euros.

jura2 Sat 01-Jun-19 17:39:33

kitty, as you know, OH has paid into the UK system doubly - he qualified at UCH London in 1969- and worked 140 hrs a week, 145 every 3rd week- as a Junior doctor. At the end of his career, he still worked about 70 hours. He nearly paid with his life twice.

jura2 Sat 01-Jun-19 17:53:03

The French system is very different to the Swiss one- as basic insurance is free, and you can, if you wish, buy top up insurance. What is the procedure for top-ups- will they cover older people and pre-existing conditions?

Urmstongran Sat 01-Jun-19 18:17:05

Crikey jura2 who can shell out that for a minor op? Could your husband not have the procedure done here - you have a house in the U.K. could you come over for a stay and see a GP if it’s not urgent?

Callistemon Sat 01-Jun-19 18:21:39

My reaction is the same as Urmstongran's, jura - is your DH well enough to travel here for his operation? After all, he has paid into the system - and been part of the system - all his working life.

jura2 Sat 01-Jun-19 18:33:02

tempting and we thought about that- and currently it would be legal. But he wants continuity of care and had a big scare last year- so wants it done here.

jura2 Sat 01-Jun-19 18:33:44

btw, and not really relevant- we have a small flat in UK, not a house.

Redtop1 Sat 01-Jun-19 19:01:57

In Australia you have Medicare state system, but it doesn’t cover everything so not 100% for example some doctors (GP’s) bulk bill they accept the government set benefit payment, you have to pay a gap, but if you are unlucky and the doctor doesn’t bulk bill, you can pay up 50 dollars per appointment (approx £25). Consultants obviously charge more and it can run into 100’s dollars.

Private medical Insurance has differ levels of cover say bronze, silver, gold and diamond, the higher level of cover the smaller the gap you pay, so for example on gold insurance would pay 70% and you would be charged for the remaining 30% plus of course your annual insurance fee. So similar to some insurance cover in the UK now.

Different Australian states had different charges, and regulations and also different insurance payments, I found it a minefield. You also had to have ambulance cover, otherwise you were up for a bill of approx 300 dollars.

No free prescriptions, if you had a state pension or similar you paid a set rate per prescription item, something like £4.00 a lot of people couldn’t afford it them and didn’t both, much like the US.

When you reached hospital the first thing they would ask for was your private insurance card so that they could see your level of cover.

Personally I didn’t ever feel comfortable with it, I always felt they wanted to empty the piggy bank! Give me the NHS any day!

kittylester Sat 01-Jun-19 19:09:25

And, as you know, jura, Dh did similarly, working until he was 71 on the NHS.

Urmstongran Sat 01-Jun-19 19:57:42

Well in that case jura2 it is fortunate you can raid the piggy bank for that choice.

GrannyGravy13 Sat 01-Jun-19 20:24:37

When the NHS was formed it was a different “animal”!!!

Now there are cures for most ills and they are expensive.

There is no one way to sort out different health authorities problems. Some pay 50p for an item others pay £1.50 or £2.00.

We are a country of 60+million, with differing needs and different abilities to pay.

We personally have always managed to have private health insurance and as we have aged and claimed it has increased. I feel fortunate to have this, and realise that it also helps the NHS as we are not dependent on it.

If we want to see a continuation of the NHS it has to be radically reformed and those who can pay should pay!!

This would insure that those in need would always be able to access free healthcare at point of need.

Dinahmo Sat 01-Jun-19 21:23:48

Jura2 - I don't recall the insurers here asking for details about our health. The top is voluntary and I did think of not bothering until a friend told me that if you have a life threatening illness the treatment is free but you have to pay for all the tests that you have before arriving at a diagnosis. we moved to France when we were 62 and we have felt like health tourists ever since. My DH, who previously was the healthy one, has had various problems which have been dealt with quickly and efficiently. Our top up costs 170ish euros for the two of us each month. The price depends upon a number of things - whether one has dentistry,opticians, a single room if hospitalized etc etc.

PamelaJ1 Sun 02-Jun-19 05:56:22

When we buy a car we have to insure it, if we go on holiday we have to insure ourselves and we pay extra if we are going to certain countries or are going to take part in risky pursuits.
Can’t we add a little to a lot of things that perhaps may end up with us needing to use the NHS and dedicate that to the service. Perhaps increase the vat on certain products? (I can hear the groans!)
I know we now pay an insurance tax on top of our premiums but does anyone know where that goes?

Callistemon Sun 02-Jun-19 10:41:22

The insurance premium tax probably goes into the general pot, Pamela - like vehicle licensing, very little of which is actually spent on the roads!

GrannyGravy you make some valid points re the NHS - the demands on the service now are so different and enormous compared to those at its inception.

Whitewavemark2 Sun 02-Jun-19 12:04:30

I see the US Ambassador is expecting our NHS to be up for grabs post Brexit

jura2 Sun 02-Jun-19 12:31:15

that was clear from the start, surely. Same with meat and produce imports that would not previously be importable as not safe ...

There are going to be some massive backhanders and lots of different forms ...

jura2 Sun 02-Jun-19 12:34:46

PamelaJl - all well and good if you are young and healthy. Have you looked at premiums for holiday or private (Bupa/Spire, etc) if you are born with a disability or illness, if you acquire one through no fault of your own, if you have an accident that means you will require operations and support for the rest of your life, and if you just happen to be over 70?

Private Health Insurance works as long as you are young and/or healthy. Insurances are businesses- and will only take you on if the odds are vastly in their favour.

paddyann Sun 02-Jun-19 13:31:59

Andrew Marr didn't even challenge him on that WWM2 its to be expected I suppose ,the good old BBC takes the governmnet line ..again and again..

dragonfly46 Sun 02-Jun-19 13:37:19

In the Netherlands healthcare is free to those earning below a certain salary. Above that you have to have medical insurance and your company usually pays half. Everyone gets the same treatment by the same doctors. So in other words you pay what you can afford. Their healthcare is second to none and although I think our NHS is good I have had reason to question it recently. It is stretched to capacity.

kittylester Sun 02-Jun-19 13:43:44

Good post, gg, it's a point I am fed up making to people who bemoan out NHS.

It needs a radical rethink but no politician is brave enough to say so and then follow through despite the derision eg Teresa May's so called 'Dementia Tax'.

jura2 Sun 02-Jun-19 13:56:27

It is not the immigrants causing a shortage of GPs and surgeons, or nurses - au contraire. It is the massive failure of Government to plan for and fund training.

Compared to most EU countries, and even some 3rd world countries, the UK spends a very small % of GDP on health service.

kittylester Sun 02-Jun-19 14:01:26

I might have missed it, jura, but who mentioned immigrants being the cause of anything?

abbey Sun 02-Jun-19 16:17:59

I am glad you are all so positive about the mighty God NHS. My experience has been quite different. It is not fit for purpose.

I wont start with my aunt , when they couldn't even find me and gave my aunts house keys and death certificate to a stranger and despite my name being down as next of kin, no one informed me she was ill or in hospital - and she was there for over a month.

Other than that I have watched them kill my father despite attempts to stop it ( trying to get a transfer to private care even when you have money is difficult it seems unless you are HRH.), it maimed my mother and most recently failed to work for my husband. All have had conditions that were treatable had they NHS been fit for purpose.

I just hope I don't need it any time soon.