What does ‘self-paying’ patient mean? - Private Medical Insurance

Self-paying is a term used to describe someone who choose to pay for their treatment directly rather than using private health insurance.

It is an option if you don’t want to pay a monthly premium, have a chronic or pre-existing condition or fall within an insurer’s list of exclusions. You may prefer to self pay if you are over a certain age as health insurance premiums increase the older you get. Question 10 discusses this in greater detail. Hospitals don’t restrict your ability to self-pay because of your age. Self-paying means that you only pay for the treatment you need.

If you want to self-pay for treatment then, first of all, you need to be referred by your GP. Some private units or hospitals have access to their own GP’s which can speed the process up but your GP will be more familiar with your medical history and is the best person to advise you about this. The next step requires you to shop around hospitals to obtain quotes and agree upon a price for your treatment. If you are having surgery then this is known as ‘fixed price surgery’. This will take the form of a contract which sets out what is included, and what isn’t so you know exactly what you are paying for. This contract includes the following, and will be presented to you at the end of your treatment:

  • Private room
  • Nursing care
  • Theatre time
  • Drugs used
  • Dressings used
  • Costs incurred because of complications

It doesn’t include:

  • Pre-operative tests
  • Consultation fee
  • Anaesthetist fee
  • Costs of post-treatment medication
  • Personal extras such as phone calls, meals for guests etc

Your treatment can be arranged at a private unit within an NHS hospital or at private hospitals or clinics.

You will probably be asked to settle your account before undergoing treatment.

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