Should you get Private Medical Insurance?News
Posted by: The Probe 17th February 2020
Despite working to improve people’s wellbeing, dentists are prone to a number of occupational health hazards. As such, it’s definitely worth considering whether private medical insurance is a sensible option to explore and whether taking out one of these policies will benefit you in the long run.
The stresses and strains of your career
Dentistry is a high-risk profession. Indeed, the very nature of working closely with infectious bodily fluids such as blood and saliva means that dental professionals are constantly courting the risk of contracting infectious diseases on a daily basis. The act of providing dental treatment is likely to result in contact with a mix of blood and saliva, and there are further risks to consider like needlestick injuries. These are particularly worrying as they can result in the direct transfer of dangerous diseases such as HIV and Hepatitis.
It’s not just infections that dentists have to worry about, however, and another highly common health complaint among dentists is musculoskeletal problems caused by a constantly stooped posture and prolonged standing up. Over time, these can develop into serious problems and have a heavy detriment on a professional’s quality of life.[i]
We also can’t forget the mental impact that dentistry can have. Stress affects a huge proportion of dental professionals – in fact, it’s thought that over half of dentists believe that stress is affecting their practice.[ii] Prolonged feelings of stress can be really dangerous to people’s health, and have been linked to all sorts of negative mental and physical health consequences including depression, anxiety, cardiovascular disorders and increased chances of stroke.[iii]
Although arguably less of a concern than the aforementioned threats, there are also health hazards attributed to radiation from x-rays, chemicals used in anaesthetic and mercury vapour, which can be produced from materials such as amalgam. In modern dentistry it is unlikely that any of these reasons are going to cause lasting health concerns, but it is something to consider as they are still risky parts of the profession.[iv]
What is Private Medical Insurance?
With so many potential threats in your line of work, it begs to reason that seeking medical insurance can be a beneficial move. Private Medical Insurance (PMI) gives people the option to seek private medical care in addition to the services offered by the National Health Service (NHS). With PMI you will likely be able to have much shorter waiting times for treatment, have access to a much wider variety of specialist treatments and be able to benefit from increased medical resources.
When you take out a PMI policy, you will have to pay annual or monthly premiums much like any other insurance policy. These are always determined by your personal circumstances, and most will take into account your age, sex and medical history. They will also differ depending on the amount or type of cover you choose. These areas will be reviewed on a yearly basis, meaning that the amount you pay for cover may change.
What does this type of insurance cover?
The first thing to remember about PMI is that it doesn’t cover the same medical situations as NHS care. Medical emergencies are exempt, as are long-term conditions. The aim of this type of insurance is to help with straightforward, treatable conditions.
What health concerns are covered by your PMI insurance is heavily dependent on what type of policy you take out. For example, Standard PMI is the most comprehensive type of policy, and will cover the vast majority of treatable health conditions. Budget PMI is a cheaper alternative, but this does come with certain caveats. Cover can exclude treatment for certain conditions, limit pay-outs to a certain amount even if treatment would cost more and only cover a condition if the NHS cannot treat you within 6 weeks.
If you do have a pre-existing medical condition, this can hugely impact whether you will be accepted for this type of policy or not. Some insurance companies may offer a ‘moratorium’ type policy, which means that if you remain symptom-free of your condition for two years, you will be able to benefit from PMI.
Therefore, when you are choosing your policy, it’s important to bear these in mind and avoid any policies that you think are not suitable for your needs.
As with all insurance policies, it’s vital that you only go ahead with PMI once you are comfortable that you know exactly what you are signing up for and that it is best for your individual circumstances.
Independent Financial Advisers such as the award-winning team at money4dentists will be able to steer you in the right direction and give you the advice you need to find a policy that suits your needs. As the team have years of experience helping dental professionals with this exact sort of enquiry, they can help you find the policy that is best for you.
[i] Ayatollahi, J., Ayatollahi, F., Ardekani, A., Bahrololoomi, R., Ayatollahi, J., Ayatollahi, A., Owlia, M. Occupational Hazards to Dental Staff. Dent Res J (Isfahan). 2012 Jan-Mar; 9(1): 2–7.
[iii] Web MD. Stress Symptoms. Link: https://www.webmd.com/balance/stress-management/stress-symptoms-effects_of-stress-on-the-body#1 [Last accessed November 19].
[iv] Ayatollahi, J., Ayatollahi, F., Ardekani, A., Bahrololoomi, R., Ayatollahi, J., Ayatollahi, A., Owlia, M. Occupational Hazards to Dental Staff. Dent Res J (Isfahan). 2012 Jan-Mar; 9(1): 2–7.
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