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Dentists Who Invest

Podcast Episode

Full Transcript

Dr James: 

What is up team? Welcome back to the Dennis Universe podcast. I have sat with me my good friend Tony Hammond, and we’re here today to talk about private medical insurance. How are you, tony?

Tony: 

Hey, fantastic James, thank you very much. Thanks for having me back.

Dr James: 

My absolute pleasure Watch Fresh. Since we last spoke, anything new. You’re off on holiday soon, right?

Tony: 

Yeah, off on holiday soon, as I was saying, sort of wrapping up the trying to get the time sensitive stuff done before that. But you know, I was talking to lots of clients and I don’t think it ever stops. I say, as we were talking before, I don’t go on holiday and then the work stops. I think it’s part of who I am, so I’ll sneak a few hours in every day because I’ll go crazy, otherwise. You think there’s only so much sun that you can have, isn’t there?

Dr James: 

That’s not how it works when you’re self employed Unless you’re self employed dentist actually, because I look back on those days and I think to myself there was actually some aspects that were rather good to that. Having said that, that’s not strictly true because you’re always on call in terms of the practice, ringing you up with phone calls. The lab has said this, this patient here, she wants this, he wants this, blah, blah, blah. But anyway, we digress. Tony, private medical insurance. I’m going to let you take the reins on this one, because I don’t know a great deal about it and you’re the man of the knowledge.

Tony: 

Okay, yeah, well, happy to jump in, but essentially you hear me every time on these is that my sort of strap line is that I provide you financial safety net, and that’s a bit cliche, but health is wealth and part of what I do with the life insurance, income protection that you’ve heard me talk about, all of those sorts of things, critical illness that’s part of the financial safety net, but the private medical, I think, is even more so, being an absolute key cog within that engine. So, especially with what’s going on in the NHS and the crisis that’s going on there at the moment, I think it’s one of the most important insurances that I talk to my clients about now, because if you can’t work most of the time you can’t earn, and it’s with the waiting times and things like that within the NHS now, well, it is a crisis, isn’t it? It’s taking a long time to get seen, anything else like that. But so I find for me, out of all the things I have, the private medical is one of the most important aspects of my financial safety net, because it’s an alternative to NHS and I’ve used it quite a few times, so it’s a quicker route to get that diagnosis and treatment. But for me, one of the key parts of it, it’s providing a peace of mind that I’ve got the cover there if I need it, if my family need it, because you know what it’s like. Well, for me anyway, particularly with children my daughter I can cope with myself being a bit poorly, but when my daughter is, it’s so much more important for me that I get it checked out. And my daughter’s been poorly over the years. I mean she’s fine, don’t get me wrong, but I think a lot of kids have issues, don’t they? And so, for me, getting that peace of mind that I can get her to see a consultant in the area that she needs to and get that she’s either okay or if not. This is what we’re going to do about it. Getting that quickly is absolutely vital for me. I also had some treatment not that long ago, and I was I won’t bore you with the details of it, but I had a. It was very uncomfortable, very, very painful and, again, to cut a long story short went to the GP Once I explained I had private medical. It just seems that you go on off the tangent and you get sort of fast tracked, which is what it’s all about, and I was able to see a consultant within a couple of days With this particular issue. I elected to have surgery. So within a couple of weeks I was having the surgery, close to where I wanted it to be, with the top consultant overseeing the care and doing the operation. And he was saying to me that if I didn’t have the medical insurance, I would be waiting at least 18 months before I got that. And I think, my goodness, I don’t know if I could cope especially blokes with rubbish when it comes to discomfort, aren’t we, and to have that level of discomfort for 18 months plus. So it’s been absolutely vital for me that I have in my family, the people I care about have the insurance in place where they can get, because what’s more important than your health? And if you haven’t got that, then everything else falls down pretty quick. So that’s where the private medical insurance it picks up the bill. For the private medical care, the key to it is that it’s for short-term injuries. This is not for chronic illnesses. So for things like diabetes and arthritis, private medical won’t cover you. It’s for acute rather than for the chronic. But it helps you be prepared. That financial safety that I talked about helps you be prepared for any health-related bumps that you have in the road of life. It gives you the control that you have over treatment, which I think is really important. You can Google which consultant you want and talk to them about it, and the providers out there are very happy to help you recommend which consultant you want to see. So it soothes the worries about the length of weight from that GP consultation to diagnosis and treatment or surgeries. It was in my case, so I think that that’s key to what this is about. So, as far as the medical insurance itself, you got a choice of things. So when you take out private medical cover, it’s really about how you want to deal with pre-existing conditions. So you may have heard of a moratorium underwriting at all. No, not, no, ok. So you have a couple of choices that you can take and I talked to the clients through it what’s right for them. It’s not all the same route for everybody, but you can choose between a moratorium underwriting and full medical underwriting and for business clients, that would be putting through this through the business, and they’ve got a large number of people on there. If you have 15 plus, you can also have any previous medical history disregarded. So it’s important to understand the differences so you make the right choice. So, first of all, you’re looking at the pre-existing conditions, so that what I mean by that is that if you’ve experienced symptoms or you’ve received medication, or you’ve been to the doctor, got some advice or treatment, you’ve had tests for something, then that’s classed as a pre-existing condition. And, bearing in mind that this private medical doesn’t cover the chronic long term that I’ve already mentioned, moratorium underwriting, which is the most popular one the provider, so the market leader in this, is the boopers of this world. That’s really what we’re talking about. It’s sort of the booper type cover of that. So if you go into the moratorium room, they won’t need your medical history up front when you apply for the policy. But, however, each time you then make a claim, then they’re going to ask you questions about your medical history and they will more than likely will go and want to have a report from your GP or access that information. So that’s to understand if your claim relates to a new pre-existing condition or symptom. So this is something that because of that, it can take longer to deal with your claim. But under moratorium underwriting you may be covered for pre-existing conditions. It just depends on how long ago that you had them when you last experienced the symptoms or you’ve been to the doctors about it or had medication or you’ve been on tests and things like that. The key timing to this if it was in the last five years before you joined, then you won’t be covered for it immediately. So if you’ve been free from any medication treatment tests that I talked about for two continuous years, that’s the key timing frame. So if you’ve had pain in your left knee, for example, three years before you joined the policy, treatment for that condition will not be covered when you join. However, you may still experience symptoms, but you’ve got to wait for two continuous years that passed after joining the policy without any treatment or tests on that knee condition. When you’ve done that, you’ll be covered for that condition after that two year period has ended. So you can join. You’ve got five year test. Anything before then you’re absolutely fine. But if it’s something more recent, you need two years to a past before that’s covered. So you don’t need to tell. Just to sort of summarize that so you don’t need to tell it about any pre-consisting conditions up front when you apply If you’ve had any pre-existing condition in the last five years before you take the cover. You’ll only be covered for it once you’ve been free from medication or treatment things like that after your cover started. Each time you make a claim they’ll look at your medical history and ask the GP about that. Because of that it can take slightly longer, whereas the alternative for that, which is the route that I decided to go, is the full medical underwriting. So it’s a much more in-depth application form where I fill out a health questionnaire, explain about any pre-existing conditions that I’ve got when I apply. So for me, for example, I have a recurring ear problem that my ear gets infected. Again, this is not the point. You don’t want to know all of those details, but because of that I’m not covered for it. So I’ve had hospital treatment recently for another issue which I’ve said. I benefited from the private medical care, but I’ve also been hospitalized I think it’s many three times now for my ear infection. But because it was a pre-existing medical problem that I had then, my private medical insurance doesn’t cover me. So I was then on a on a full ward with other people, sort of an ENT ward. So you see, both sides of it and the NHS are fantastic, but, as we know, they’re very much under resourced, so preexisting conditions aren’t usually covered. Once we’ve considered your information, your policy documents will tell you so. For me, on mine, it would say that Othiasis externa, which is the information of the atelier, which is what I have, then I’m not covered for that. Does that make sense?

Dr James: 

It does, yeah, so there’s a bit of a buffer zone, basically.

Tony: 

Yeah, I mean you can choose which way you want to go. And if you haven’t had any problems for the last five years, then you’re all seeing it anyway. But if you have got some issues you won’t be covered for it unless you’ve got either the two years on the moratorium or you’ve disclosed it on the full medical underwriting, and so they know. So fine though my ear is not covered, and because I’ve disclosed everything up front, so anything new I’m automatically covered. It’s actually can cost less sometimes because of that, because there’s less work in it for the provider to check it. But we can sort of choose which type of underwriting the client wants, what’s right for them. When we get to the medical step of the application, I send a medical questionnaire out and depending on what’s on there, it can be quite straightforward. I’m sort of doing the last resort really. So if you do have an existing medical condition, don’t worry. Once you’re clear for two years of any symptoms, then that can also be covered as well. It’s not like a no, not ever. You do have a choice. And then for the companies that have a lot of people on the books with this, as I said, that if there’s 15 or more, then it’s possible also to get your previous medical history disregarded. The only slight caveat to that is if cancer’s been clear for two years. But there’s lots of other things we can do, I think. For me, the private medical insurance isn’t an insurance you just take out in isolation. It works really well with the life insurance and the income protection. It’s all part of that financial safety net. As I say, it’s all part of the mix of what I provide when I’m talking to clients.

Dr James: 

Very cool. Well, I think you’ve touched all the bases there, tony, or is there anything else to chuck on top there?

Tony: 

Well, it really does depend on sort of costs. It’s how much does it cost? Is a bit like how long’s a piece of string. You know depends on your age and the cost of cover increases with age, things like that, if you’ve had it before, if you’ve had any problems before, as I’ve said. But also the great thing with this is that you can do it in your personal name or put it through the business and, as you know, I’ve talked a lot about the other policies where you can actually put it through the business. Unlike the, the life insurance and the income protection, you can’t offset it against tax because with the, with the medical insurance, there’s a benefit in kind that does that. But I’ve got a dentist client that’s doing this, so he wanted cover for himself, his wife and his two children and he can put that all through the business. And then it’s on one policy and the really sexy thing about this is if you’ve got more than one child, you’re only paying for the eldest child and the other ones go free as well. Well, you can put the kids through the business to. Yeah, yeah, yeah. So I think most of the people listening to this will have their own businesses, so they can get the business to actually pay for the premium can’t offset it against tax. As I said, it would be a benefit in kind, so it’s all taxable. But the business can pay for that and include your spouse and your kids so that financial safety net. You know that your kids are covered, your spouse and yourself. But I think it’s from the business’s point of view, I think it’s for me. I would say this wouldn’t I do accept that, but it’s a bit of a No-brainer. We ensure so many things in life, don’t? We know a car, we’ve got to ensure the house if you have a mortgage. This is all about ensuring us. And especially if you think the downtime For people that are off sick you know, I think it’s just over 17 days is the average of people being off sick every year. So if you can get your, your staff, the dental nurses no dentist not being able to work, if you can get them back to work more quickly, one they feel valued that you care and you’re looking after them, but also, from a really sort of cold, from a business point of view, you get people back quicker. This is a really good insurance and I think it sort of pays for itself, especially that peace of mind which I think for the mental health side of things as well, that’s really important, awesome and wait.

Dr James: 

You might have said this. I may not have heard you say it, but just to double-check, the people have you in. Let’s say, you ensure your kids through your business. Yeah, does that mean that they have to be an Employee of the business or no? No, no, not at all, or a shareholder?

Tony: 

No, no, not at all. So the, the example in question and the dentist and his wife I think they’re mid 30s, but they’ve got a couple of a couple of kids. I forget the ages, but it’s like three and six. You know, the kids and the wife don’t have to be employed in the business. That that’s something slightly different. With with a relevant life insurance that we were talking about, there’s that, but for the, for this type of insurance, you can still put it through the business and the spouse and the kids don’t have to have anything to do with the business. The business can still pay for it.

Dr James: 

No way, yeah, and that’s interesting. How does? How is that justified?

Tony: 

Um well, all of the providers do that yeah. Yeah, yeah, you can put it through the. It’s part of their SME package, that small and medium enterprise side of things. So it’s not. It’s nothing dodgy at all, it’s part of the benefits package. So we talked in the past about retaining staff and attracting staff and how difficult that can be in the dental side of things. So if you have a benefits package, not only do you have your death in service which we’ve covered with the life insurance We’ve talked about that, the sick pay for self-employed people, which is the income protection You’ve also got medical cover as well. And if you have that package of benefits package, you’re going to attract the right staff. But you’re certainly then going to retain the right people because they’re being looked after, they’re valued, and so your culture of the business increases and I think that’s you can’t underestimate the benefit of that. You know, if you’ve got a happy culture where staff feel valued and they know they’re looked after. But, as I said, from the cold calculating point of view, you know your, your, your staff are going to be off sick for a smaller period of time, but you’re going to be looking after them. So what’s more important about looking after yourself, your family and your work colleagues? So that’s why I think this is sort of a really important part of the mix not to be done in isolation. Interesting stuff.

Dr James: 

Yeah, yeah, so you know what cool counter-intuitive. But then again, the more I think about it I’m like well, okay, I can see how it would be a benefit in that the company would retain the staff a lot longer. So I see that side of things. There we go, okay, tony. Well, thank you for that comprehensive cover of life cover. Oh, sorry, not life cover, health insurance cover. You’re very welcome to say Is there anything more to add on that? Or would you say that’s pretty?

Tony: 

I can go on and on about how you can up the cover, you can down. It depends on what you want. You know you can add extra, you can reduce. It depend on your budget. But you know I can talk about that with clients individually. I’m obviously very happy to speak individually to clients, but if you want to quote, I think the only other thing to mention, which I haven’t really important point, is that I have a panel of providers. I’ve mentioned Bupa being one. But if you’ve already got cover so for example, for myself, mine was with Bupa I then had some treatment and I said so, my insurance premium went up on renewal I can now look around and I can switch providers if I want to. So even if you’ve got cover, we can look at is it cheaper elsewhere for the same type of cover? But if not, what I would then do for everybody? I’m part of my compliance I’ve got to get three quotes. So I’ll get three quotes for every client and then we work out what’s the best for them in their circumstances and with all of everything I do, none of this is a hard sell. It’s talk to me about it. We’ll talk about what’s important to you. But if you can look after yourself, your family and your work colleagues. There’s so much value in that isn’t there?

Dr James: 

Good to know. Tony, it’s been a pleasure, as ever, to have you on the Dentist Invest podcast. I’m sure you’ll be back very, very, very soon. You’re very welcome. It’s been great to talk to you. Thanks a lot.