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Mental Health Insurance

Health Insurance for Mental Health

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Mental Health Insurance 

Your mind is as critical to your wellbeing as your body, and with around a quarter of people in the UK experiencing a mental health issue each year it’s worth ensuring your private health insurance includes coverage for mental health conditions.  

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Does every private health insurance policy cover mental health conditions? 

Coverage will vary from one insurance provider to the next, but in most cases, a private health insurance policy will offer some type of coverage for mental health conditions.  

But it’s important to bear in mind that if your mental health condition was diagnosed before you took the policy out then that almost certainly won’t be covered, no matter which provider you decide to go with. 

Is mental health insurance worth the cost? 

As with every other type of health insurance coverage you’re going to be hoping you never have to claim on your mental health insurance cover after taking the policy out. 

That doesn’t mean the policy is a waste of money though – it can give you a lot of peace of mind to know that you can access private mental health services, therapists and other treatment if you do ever develop a mental health issue.  

What does this type of policy cover me against? 

The exact coverage you’ll get will depend on which provider you go with, and also on which coverage level you go for – ‘treatment only’, or ‘fully comprehensive’. 

Treatment-only policies will include coverage for things like: 

  • Outpatient care with a doctor, psychiatrist or counsellor after you’ve been diagnosed 
  • Inpatient care in a hospital after you’ve been diagnosed 
  • Further diagnostic testing after a course of treatment or therapy 

Fully comprehensive policies will usually cover private diagnosis and testing, in addition to coverage for treatment. 

If I’m only worried about my mental health can I take out a mental health insurance policy that doesn’t cover any physical ailments, and if so will that policy be cheaper? 

No, every health insurance policy will usually cover you for a range of both physical and mental health conditions, so it’s unlikely you’ll be able to find a cheaper policy by searching for one that excludes coverage for physical ailments. 

I already have private health insurance through my work, can I just add mental health insurance cover to that policy instead of taking out a separate policy? 

You probably won’t even need to do that, because there’s a good chance the private health insurance your workplace provides will already include mental health insurance cover.  

It’s worth double-checking your policy documents to see if you’re already covered for mental health conditions, and if so what level of coverage this offers you. If you don’t have these documents your HR department should be able to give you a copy.  

Which mental health conditions will be covered? 

That will vary from one insurance provider to the next, so it’s vital you double-check the terms or conditions of any policy before signing up, but in many cases, you’ll be covered for treatment for some or all of the following mental health conditions: 

  • Depression 
  • Anxiety 
  • Eating disorders 
  • Addiction 
  • Panic disorders 
  • PTSD 
  • Bipolar disorder 
  • Schizophrenia 

It’s important to stress, though, that if any of these conditions were diagnosed before you signed up for your health insurance policy you likely won’t be covered for any treatment, therapy or additional testing for that specific condition. 

Are there any conditions that won’t be covered by mental health insurance? 

Yes, there are.  

Many insurance providers will specifically exclude from coverage any mental health conditions that are considered chronic, which means ongoing and incurable. In practice, this means that mental health conditions like dementia, autism and ADHD often won’t be covered.  

With some providers secondary mental health issues that result from those chronic conditions (such as anxiety that occurs due to your ADHD) will be covered by the health insurance policy, but they won’t cover treatment for that chronic condition itself. 

How much does mental health insurance cost? 

The premium will vary from one insurance provider to the next, and there are also a wide range of factors in the insurance premium calculation that are unique to you and your medical history, so it’s difficult to predict how much you’ll have to pay. 

For instance, your age, your occupation, your location, your smoking habits, your drinking habits, your health insurance claims history and the coverage level you’d like can all influence the cost of your policy. 

The best plan is to shop around by comparing policies from a wide range of different providers, and then go with the one that offers the best coverage at the most competitive price.  

How can I reduce my premium? 

Besides shopping around to compare a range of different providers, there are a number of lifestyle changes you can make that might reduce your premium. 

For instance, if you’re a smoker then quitting smoking could have a big impact, while reducing the amount of alcohol you drink, improving your diet and getting more exercise could help as well.  

What happens if my lifestyle worsens after I take out this type of insurance? 

If your lifestyle worsens and that change is significant enough to alter your risk profile then you will need to inform your insurer of this. For instance, if you weren’t a smoker when you took the policy out, but you later become a smoker, you’ll need to let the insurance provider know. 

Can I take out mental health insurance after I’ve been diagnosed with depression? 

Yes, you still take this type of policy out after that diagnosis, but the depression (as well as any other physical or mental health conditions that were diagnosed before the policy start date) will be excluded from coverage. 

Does mental health insurance impose an excess? 

Yes, as with most types of insurance, when you claim on your health insurance for a mental health condition you’ll usually have to pay an insurance excess first, which is the portion of the claim you have to cover yourself before the insurer pays out.  

If I’m unable to work due to a mental health condition will this policy cover my lost earnings? 

No, this type of policy is only designed to cover the cost of medical treatment, so it won’t cover any lost earnings while you’re unable to work. 

You would need to take out income protection insurance to cover you for lost earnings, which is specifically designed to protect you in these situations.