By the time you read this, I will be under the knife. Quite literally. Readers of my past blogs may remember a not-so-quiet moan I posted about out-of-hours doctors’ surgeries. Fast-forward a few weeks and it appears that what I thought was cystitis was actually something more serious. No need for all the gory details but suffice to say that a full-on removal of lady bits is on today’s agenda.
Ouchy. Yes indeed. And for that reason I’m so glad I have private medical insurance (from Mr Minted’s work.) I’m forever grateful to the young A&E doctor who first sorted me out – what a difficult job he does, every day. We should all be grateful for the people who devote their lives to looking after the (sometimes ungrateful) sick. But I must confess that leaving the NHS for the private sector was like stepping from economy into business class.
Free coffee and biscuits aside, there’s still heavy lifting to be done. It’s lucky that I’m compos mentis because, if I really was incapacitated, there’s no way I could be chasing ‘authorisation codes’ from the insurer and appointments with the various consultants. Then there’s that girls’ weekend away I’ve had to cancel: another tonne of forms and photocopies and letters to assemble for the travel insurance claim. Just the thought of it is exhausting.
Finally, there’s the expense. My excess on the health policy is £100 per outpatient appointment so I’m already £300 down, even before any surgery. There’s also a £50 excess on my travel claim. In reality, though, these amounts are peanuts compared to the cost of the operation which is a whacking £15,000. More importantly, as a private patient, I’m getting sorted a great deal quicker too.
Medical insurance is expensive, without a doubt. For a single person in their 40s, it’s probably about £1,200 a year and more if you add partners and children. But we’re all getting older and bits are starting to fall off. There’s also a question over the future of the NHS. My recent experiences suggest to me that while emergency services are still good and still underwritten, everything else is being left to wither on the vine. In 20 years’ time, we’ll all have to pay for our own varicose vein treatments or hip operations – there won’t be a free option and we may as well start getting used to it.
All of this is a roundabout way of saying I’ll be taking a break from this blog for a week or so to put my feet up and take it easy - doctor's orders! In the meantime, Charlotte will bring all her skinted skills to keep the plates spinning and I expect you all to have read our SMM guide to medical insurance by the time I get back online …