Private medical insurance (PMI) is an insurance policy designed to meet some or all of the costs of private medical treatment. It is also known as private health insurance.
There are two main types of private medical insurance policies, the first are "Indemnity" policies - they meet the costs of having private medical treatment for an acute illness or injury on a short-term basis. This could include a private room in a hospital, surgeons' and other specialists' fees, outpatient treatment like physiotherapy and daycare treatment including surgical and diagnostic procedures.
The second type are "Cash plan" policies, these policies provide a lump-sum benefit payment in certain situations. Generally, the consumer will pay a monthly premium in return for cover, for up to 100% of costs for treatment like an inpatient stay in an NHS hospital, or dental or optical treatment. These may not be included under an "indemnity" policy.
Both "indemnity" and "cash-plan" policies can have additional benefits, such as cover for partners and/or children, one-to-one telephone support for cancer and heart patients, customer health checks and helplines, access to complementary therapies and psychiatric treatment, dental and optical treatment, treatment at home for intravenous therapies like chemotherapy.
Another variation is a "six week plan", which covers the costs of private medical treatment when NHS waiting times for that treatment are likely to be more than six weeks.
It is worth noting most private health insurance policies, don't cover pre-existing conditions.