The A-Z jargon buster: health insurance for contractors

Health insurance can be a bit of a minefield – choosing the right cover is hard enough without all that jargon. We’re here to make things simpler. Forget complicated industry terms. We’ve put together a list of important words and explained them in everyday language, so you can hit the ground running.

Acute conditions: Temporary diseases, illnesses or injuries that respond quickly to medical care or surgery.

Addendum: A document setting out agreed changes to an insurance contract.

Allowed amount: The highest amount you will be covered (paid) for a service.

Annual renewal: The anniversary of the date in which you took out your health insurance coverage.

Benefit period: The length of time services are covered under your plan. It has a start and end date. It’s usually one calendar year for health insurance plans.

Chronic conditions: These include disease, illnesses or injuries that take hold gradually or lead to permanent disability. There’s no cure for these conditions and they need long term care and supervision.

Claim: An official request sent to your insurance provider for them to pay your medical costs.

Coinsurance: Your plan might cover 80 percent of your medical bill. You need to pay the other 20 percent, that part is the coinsurance.

Congenital conditions: This is present from birth and can be inherited or caused by an environmental factor.

Co-share treatment: When you share the percentage of the treatment costs.

Cooling-off period: If you change your mind, the cooling-off period (usually 14 days from the start of your cover) lets you cancel your plan. This can only be done if you’ve not used any services or made a claim.

Cover note: A document issued to you confirming details of your insurance plan.

Day-patient treatment: This usually means occupying a bed in hospital during the day, but not overnight. This is also known as day-case treatment.

Deductible: The amount of money you’ll pay in an insurance claim before the insurance coverage starts paying you.

Dependants: The people who are closely related or tied to you. They’re normally financially dependent on you and can be legal or civil partners, your natural children, legally adopted children or stepchildren. Bear in mind, all children must be under the age of 25.

Emergency admission: When you go immediately to a hospital for an unplanned admission following an illness or accident.

Excess: The amount you pay towards the cost of your medical care. For example, you might agree to a £250 excess amount and the cost of your treatment totals £5,000. You’ll pay the first £250 only and the insurance company covers the rest.

Hospice care: A hospice is a place that specialises in the care of people who are terminally ill.

Indemnity: The compensation you get from the insurer having paid for your own medical costs.

In-patient treatment: Occupying a bed in hospital during the day, overnight or even longer.

Intensive care treatment: Takes place in an Intensive Care Unit (ICU), Intensive Therapy Unit (ITU), High Dependency Unit (HDU) or Coronary Care Unit (CCU) which gives constant monitoring after an operation or illness.

Latent disease: An illness which stays hidden for some years before manifesting itself.

No claim discounts: If you don’t make a claim you may get a discount. The discount will vary from insurer to insurer.

Out-patient treatment: This is provided at a hospital, consulting room or out-patient clinic and usually means occupying a hospital bed.

Palliative treatment: Offering temporary relief of symptoms rather than to cure the condition.

Policy: The contract set out and agreed between you (the policyholder) and the health insurance provider.

Pre-existing medical conditions: These are diseases, illnesses or injuries that are experienced or treated before you start your cover.

Repatriation: If you’re away from home, this coverage pays for evacuation to a medical facility and medically equipped flights to return home.

Sum insured: The maximum amount that should be paid to you in the event of a claim.

Underwriters: Someone employed by insurance companies to help set the price of health insurance plans. They use data and computer programmes to decide how much coverage clients should get and how much they will pay for it.

Unplanned admission: When you need to go immediately to a hospital for admission following an illness.

What next?

Now that you’ve got to grips with some tricky language, it’s time to think about which health insurance policy is right for you – you’ll need to compare benefits and costs. You might want to chat to an insurance agent, they can help you with everything from finding discounts to securing low rates.

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