Private Medical Insurance is also known as Private Health Insurance, insures you against the cost of private medical treatment, such as surgery, consultants, accommodation and care at a private hospital or sometimes a private ward in an NHS hospital.
You claim on your insurance and receive the treatment for free, but this depends on your level of cover.
The premiums are likely to increase with age as you are more likely to make a claim. The Association of British Insurers states that if you are aged 45 years old you will pay 25% more than if you were 35 and if you are 65 your policy will cost double than if you were aged 45. Figures will vary according to the insurer.
It is difficult to get cover if you are over 65 but some insurance companies stretch to 75 years for new policy-holders.
As most medical insurance is targeted at families, the over 50s may be paying for benefits they are unlikely to need, eg maternity cover. Some insurers offer over 50s plans, which concentrate on relevant benefits such as dental, optical, minor surgery, chiropody, hearing aid, hospital and nursing home stays.