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Couples Health Insurance Guide 2024 UK

Private health insurance is steadily growing in popularity in the UK, due to healthcare becoming harder to access quickly through the NHS. Couples health insurance policies are a simple way to help fund private care for both you and your partner in one easy to manage plan.

Couples health insurance (or joint health insurance) provides each of you with access to top quality private hospitals and specialists from top providers like Spire Healthcare, Nuffield Health and HCA. Insurance providers will often include additional benefits too, such as gym discounts or even a free coffee for your morning commute to work.

In our latest independent guide to couples health insurance, we’re answering all the top questions that you might have about buying private health insurance for you and your partner.

Private health insurance can be extremely useful but it’s not always easy to understand your best options for cover. This is where it can be most helpful to speak to a health insurance specialist for support and guidance.

A picture of a stopwatch

60-Second Summary – Couples Health Insurance Guide 2024 UK

Our top rated health insurance experts have written this independent guide to explain how couples health insurance works and all the main points to be aware of before you buy or renew a health insurance policy.

  • Some of the top health insurance providers for couples are AXA Health, Aviva, Bupa, Vitality and The Exeter. Each one offers something slightly different, and the best one for you and your partner will be based on your own circumstances.
  • Several insurers provide multi-person discounts for couples or families, which can mean that you save money compared to buying two individual policies.
  • Couples health insurance isn’t exclusively for married couples – as long as you live with your partner, you can buy a joint health insurance policy.
  • Two separate health insurance policies can work better in certain situations (e.g. if one partner is several years older or you need different levels of cover).

Couples health insurance (also known as joint health insurance) is a type of health insurance plan which allows you and your partner to share one policy. This may feel like a simpler option for you than having two separate policies to keep track of.

Private health insurance will help you to cover the cost of private medical treatments or specialist consultations that you may need in the future. Private healthcare can often cost hundreds or even thousands of pounds, so health insurance makes accessing care like this much more affordable.

While you could rely on savings etc. to pay for private healthcare, many people simply won’t have the funds available to cover these costs without an insurance policy in place.

Should we buy couples health insurance?

Choosing to buy a couples health insurance policy is a completely personal decision and one that you should consider carefully.

There are many perks to having private health insurance such as faster access to specialist medical care and more convenience in when and where you receive your treatment. However, you will also need to consider the cost of these policies and if this is something that you can afford to pay for each month (or annually).

Note: If you and your partner want very different things from your health insurance policy or provider, it could be better to buy two separate policies instead.

An individual health insurance policy will help cover the cost of private healthcare for one person and a joint policy will cover this for two people.

Other than that, a joint policy should work in the same way for couples as it would for one individual. You will need to apply for and buy your policy and then continue paying your premiums for your cover to remain in place.

You will both have access to any additional support offered by your insurer such as online GP services or any discounts or rewards that your insurer provides.

Not all health insurance policies are the same, but there are some basic things that most couples health insurance policies will pay out for such as:

  • In patient care: This refers to any medical treatment where you would need to stay in a private hospital or specialist clinic overnight.
  • Day patient treatment: This usually refers to minor surgeries where you may need to stay in hospital for a few hours afterwards but can go home on the same day.
  • Out patient treatment: This is any medical treatment or care where a hospital stay isn’t necessary e.g. follow up appointments. Not all providers will cover this in their core cover, and it may need to be added for an extra cost.

You will usually also be given the option to add on additional benefits like dental cover or optional therapies cover (covers physiotherapy, acupuncture etc). These will normally cost extra though, so you should think about what you need from your policy and what benefits are most important to you.

As policy features with each insurance provider will vary slightly, it’s worth checking policies and prices from a few providers. This way you will be more certain that you are getting the right level of cover and the best price available to you.

How does joint health insurance work?

With joint health insurance, you can apply for a policy that is specifically designed for couples or add your partner onto an individual policy. Health insurance is pretty flexible, and most providers give you the option of adding your partner or children to your cover.

When you have a joint policy, either one of you can claim at any point (following a referral from your GP), if you experience new symptoms or health issues. There may be specific things that you can’t claim for (exclusions) and these will be fully explained in your policy documents.

Another factor to consider would be that you will both need to answer questions about yourselves, your health and lifestyle when you apply. This means that if one of you is older for example the cost of your cover would be higher compared to if you were both the same age.

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Many of our customers ask us whether a joint or single health insurance policy will work out at a lower price for them. This does depend on your own situation and how much cover you need, but there are some definite advantages of buying a joint policy compared to two single policies.

Some of the main benefits of buying a joint policy are:

  • Easy to add children on to convert to a family health insurance policy if needed
  • Less admin with only one application/renewal needed
  • Discounts may be available for applying as a couple or family

It’s always best to have a full understanding of the advantages and disadvantages of any type of insurance policy before you buy it. An experienced health insurance specialist will be able to fully explain everything that you need to know and answer any questions that you may have.

We have outlined more of the main pros and cons of joint health cover in the table below, to give you a quick overview.

Joint health insurance pros and cons

ProCon
Protects you and your partner financially by helping to cover the cost of potentially expensive private medical careNHS care may be enough for some people and you may prefer to use this as it is free to use
Can be easier to manage one policy compared to two single policiesOne particular insurer might work well for you and not your partner (and vice versa)
Health insurance will usually let you add or remove benefits to custom build your coverIn some cases, it will be cheaper to buy two separate policies
You may be able to get a discount for buying a joint policy (usually 5% or 10%)You may need to cancel or change your policy if you and your partner split up
Most policies include additional lifestyle benefits like online GP services and discounts from top UK brandsHealth insurance can be more expensive for some people based on factors like age and where you live (postcode)

There are a range of options to choose from when you’re looking for a new health insurance policy and it’s always best to take your time to think about what you need from your provider.

Most insurance companies will allow you to either buy a specific couples health insurance policy or add your partner to your health insurance plan.

Based on our extensive market research, we have put together a list of the top 5 UK insurance providers for joint health insurance policies. This ranking is based on factors like policy benefits, extra rewards, customer service and value for money.

We regularly review and update our health insurance guides and ratings to ensure you have the most up to date information about each health insurance provider. You should use the below information as a starting point to help you figure out which provider might be a good fit for you and your partner.

There are pros and cons to each of the providers mentioned in this list and certain providers may work better than others for you based on your own situation. You should do some research to see which feels right for you and ask an insurance expert if you need further guidance.

Aviva logo

1) Aviva

Aviva Defaqto rating – 5 Stars for Private Medical Insurance
Aviva Trustpilot score – 4.0 out of 5.0 stars with over 31,000 reviews

Aviva is one of the UK’s best known general insurance providers and is highly trusted by millions of customers across the country. Aviva policies will provide you and your partner with access to private healthcare at more than 200 hospitals across the country and they provide multi-person discounts to couples or families.

Aviva offer competitive pricing for their ‘Healthier Solutions’ policies, as well as a range of extra benefits including digital GP services and full cancer care from diagnosis all the way to recovery. You can also protect your No Claims Discount, so that future claims won’t cause the price of your cover to increase.

Aviva currently offers a ‘My Healthy Discount’* scheme where you could save up to 15% on your first year of premiums if you meet specific health related criteria. This includes having a BMI of less than 30 and being a non-smoker (for at least 12 months).

Aviva My Healthy Discount Terms & Conditions – CLICK HERE

For more about how Aviva policies work, you can read our full independent Aviva Health Insurance Guide.

*This discount offer is available as of January 2024, but may be changed or pulled by Aviva at any time.

Aviva is rated 5 Stars by Defaqto for:

Private Medical Insurance (Individual) – Healthier Solutions

Private Medical Insurance (Group) – Healthier Solutions

Private Medical Insurance (Group) – Corporate Healthcare

Note: Aviva won’t be the right choice for every customer, and there are certain cons that you should be aware of. This includes limited options for adding dental cover and no overseas travel cover available.

Vitality logo

2) Vitality Health

Vitality Health Defaqto score – 5 Stars for Private Medical Insurance
Vitality Trustpilot score – 4.2 out of 5.0 stars with over 35,600 reviews

Vitality is an extremely innovative health insurance provider, with a strong focus on rewarding customers for making healthy lifestyle choices. Vitality customers often save hundreds of pounds per year, purely due to the wide range of free items and discounts that can be claimed.

If you and your partner are particularly active, Vitality could be a good fit for the health insurance that you need. You can earn Vitality rewards in simple ways such as taking more steps per day or having a yearly health check.

You and your partner will benefit from renewal premium discounts if you properly engage with Vitality’s rewards programme. You will also have access to free specialist support for health concerns such as cancer, mental health and menopause.

More information about the benefits and features available for Vitality customers can be found in our full independent Vitality health insurance review.

Vitality Health is rated 5 Stars by Defaqto for:

Private Medical Insurance (Individual) – Personal Healthcare

Private Medical Insurance (Group) – Business Healthcare

Private Medical Insurance (Group) – Corporate Healthcare

Note: Vitality plans can be hard to understand for new customers as their rewards scheme means that they work differently to other providers. If you are unsure if Vitality is right for your lifestyle, you should get some advice from a health insurance expert.

Bupa logo

3) Bupa

Bupa Defaqto score – 5 Stars for Private Medical Insurance
Bupa Trustpilot score – 4.1 out of 5.0 stars with over 22,000 reviews

Bupa is the country’s most well-known health insurance provider with a solid reputation for high quality policies and customer service. Certain attractive benefits that other providers would charge extra for are included as standard with Bupa, including mental health cover (in patient and out patient).

Bupa can be a great option for older couples, as they have no age limits for their applicants. This can be particularly useful, as we’re all more likely to develop medical issues that may need treatment as we get older.

If you were thinking about adding your children to your policy too, Bupa offers a 10% discount for families. You can choose between comprehensive cover or a lower cost treatment and care option. Both of these policies are explained in full detail in our independent Bupa health insurance review.

Bupa is rated 5 Stars by Defaqto for:

Private Medical Insurance (Individual) – Bupa By You – Comprehensive

Private Medical Insurance (Group) – Bupa Select – Complete

Private Medical Insurance (Group) – Bupa Select – Corporate

Note: While Bupa is a popular option, they won’t work well for every customer and certain restrictions and exclusions can apply to your cover.

The Exeter logo

4) The Exeter

The Exeter Defaqto score – 5 Stars for Private Medical Insurance
The Exeter Trustpilot score – 4.3 out of 5.0 stars with over 760 reviews

The Exeter is a specialist health and life insurance provider that is often a popular choice for people with medical conditions. Their policies work well for most types of customers, offering reasonable pricing for younger and older customers, smokers and families.

They also have a more flexible approach to underwriting compared to the other providers mentioned, meaning they may offer cover in situations where others wouldn’t. Customers of The Exeter receive a high level of core benefits plus the option to custom build cover by adding on additional benefits.

The Exeter is another provider which offers discounts to couples and families, so you could save compared to if you bought two single policies. You will have a choice of different levels of cover to suit what you and your partner need, as explained in our independent The Exeter health insurance review.

The Exeter is rated 5 Stars by Defaqto for:

Private Medical Insurance (Individual) – Health+

Note: The Exeter doesn’t give you the option to add on some of the most popular health insurance benefits like dental or travel cover, and other specific exclusions might apply to your policy.

AXA logo

5) AXA Health

AXA Health Defaqto score – 5 Stars for Private Medical Insurance
AXA Health Trustpilot score – 4.3 out of 5.0 stars with over 9,800 reviews

AXA Health is an insurance and pensions provider with millions of customers within the UK.

A significant advantage of AXA is the high level of flexibility it offers to policyholders, allowing them to exclude outpatient cover if desired.

Even AXA’s core cover offers a high level of protection and support, giving you access to private treatment in more than 250 UK private hospitals and clinics. AXA Health doesn’t offer a specific policy for couples, but does give you the option to add your partner to your plan.

There are some attractive perks for couples who choose AXA Health for their policy such as 24/7 online health support, phone appointments with physiotherapists and the option to add on benefits like mental health or dental cover.

AXA provides their customers with access to exclusive discounts, and various policy options to suit each person and a full breakdown can be found in our latest AXA Health insurance review.

Vitality Health is rated 5 Stars by Defaqto for:

Private Medical Insurance (Individual) – AXA Health – Personal Health

Private Medical Insurance (Group) – AXA Health – Business Health

Note: AXA Health policies won’t cover you in every situation and certain policy features like outpatient cover will need to be added on for an extra cost if required.

While it’s easy to assume that couples health insurance is only available for people who are married, this simply isn’t true. The only rule that insurance providers tend to have is that you must be living with (cohabiting) with the person that you’re buying your policy with.

With this in mind, joint policies don’t even have to be taken out with a romantic partner, and could be with another member of your family (e.g. a sibling or parent).

Everyone has different needs for their health insurance policy and so the provider that works for someone else may not be the best choice for you. You can get free advice from a health insurance specialist if you need help to work out the which options are best for you and your partner.

It can definitely be possible to buy health insurance with a pre-existing condition, but you usually won’t be able to claim for treatment or care related to this condition.

When applying for health insurance, you need to choose the type of underwriting you would like for your policy, which can affect the cover you get and the cost. In basic terms, this refers to how your insurer will assess any pre-existing medical conditions that you have.

The two main types of underwriting are:

  • Moratorium underwriting: You won’t need to disclose your full medical history when you apply, though you would be asked about this if you ever need to claim
  • Full medical underwriting or ‘FMU’: Having a policy fully medically underwritten can take slightly longer, but it means your insurer has a proper understanding of your medical history and it can make it simpler to submit claims in the future

Bupa By You Health Insurance | Underwriting Choices

This video from top health insurance provider Bupa explains the how both moratorium and full medical underwriting work and why it is important to understand the difference.

Every couple is different and so the cost of every couples health insurance policy will be different too. This is because there are several factors that will affect the cost of your cover including:

  • Both of your ages
  • Your postcode
  • Your medical history
  • Your partner’s medical history
  • Smoker status of you and your partner

The current average cost of health insurance in the UK is around £60.09 per month for one person, so it would be safe to assume that you could expect to pay roughly double for two people.

However, you may be able to access discounts or rewards which can offset the cost of your cover. If you have had a policy for more than one year, you may also be able to use No Claims Discount (NCD) to help lower the cost.

Note: The average figures stated are intended only as examples and the actual price you pay for your cover may be more or less than this amount.

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Previously, there weren’t obvious financial reasons to opt for joint cover compared to two single policies but now many insurers will offer discounts to appeal to new customers.

This is normally a small percentage of the overall cost of your cover (e.g. 5% or 10%) but even a small discount could make a big difference to the amount you pay each year.

EXAMPLE

John and Jennifer have a joint health insurance policy and based on their circumstances their insurer would normally offer them a monthly premium of £100 per month. As their provider offers a 10% discount for couples, they will pay £90 per month instead.

Over the course of 1 year, they would save £10 each month which adds up to an overall saving of £120 for that year.

While saving money is a key concern for many couples, it’s important to think about the benefits and features of the policy too. Consider if the provider can offer the right level of cover for both you and your partner, as in some situations it can make more sense to each use a different provider.

Many couples choose to each have their own policy and one partner may not want health cover even though the other does which is completely valid.

How can I save money on couples health insurance?

The main way to save money on a joint health insurance policy is by comparing quotes from multiple providers, to see who currently has the best prices. You can do this yourself by requesting quotes from each provider or by using a comparison site such as MoneySupermarket or Compare the Market.

However, if you’re not sure how the policies work or what you need, it can make more sense to ask a health insurance broker for some advice. An experienced broker can look at the level of cover you need and quickly identify which insurers are going to be your best options.

It’s going to be quicker to get an expert to do the research and hard work for you, particularly if your lifestyle means that you don’t have the time to do this yourself.

Can you have two health insurance plans UK?

Households in the UK may have several forms of insurance at one time, including health insurance. It’s entirely possible that you may have individual cover provided by your employer for example and also buy a family plan to protect your partner and children too.


Will we both need medical checks when buying a policy?

You won’t necessarily need a full medical exam to buy health insurance, but you and your partner will both be asked questions about your health, lifestyle and medical history.

This includes things like smoking and drinking habits, any current health issues and any previous conditions. This isn’t something to worry about and the insurer just needs to have a full picture of both of your health, so they provide cover that is suitable and valid.


Can we both get cover if my partner has medical conditions?

It’s definitely possible to buy health insurance if one or both of you have medical conditions. If one of you has a medical condition, it would affect the cost of cover for both of you under a joint plan. Some people choose to buy two separate policies instead for this reason.


Can we buy couples health insurance if my partner is pregnant?

Being pregnant won’t prevent you from buying health insurance and you won’t need to wait until after the baby is born to get your policy. It is important to note though that many insurers won’t cover current or future pregnancy as a reason for health insurance claims.

There can sometimes be specific pregnancy related complications that are covered and if this is the case it will be outlined in your policy documents.


Can we buy separate health insurance policies?

You can absolutely buy two separate health insurance policies rather than one joint health insurance plan. You should think about which option will work best for you and there isn’t one ‘right answer’.


Can divorced couples share health insurance?

In theory, it’s possible for a couple that is divorced to share a health insurance policy (e.g. if they have a family plan that also included their child). However, some insurers will require you to live in the same household if you have a joint plan, so this option won’t always be available.

The easiest way to find the right couples health insurance is to speak to an independent health insurance expert who can search the whole market to find the best policies and pricing.

Reach out to our specialists at 0800 009 6559 or click here to compare the best couples health insurance quotes.

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What is the average cost of health insurance UK?

One of the top questions that people ask about health insurance is, ‘how much does it cost on average per month?’. According to recent research taken in 2023, the average cost of a health insurance is £86 per month for a standard personal protection policy. Health insurance policies can vary dramatically based on your age and the type of cover that you need, as well as which insurance provider you choose.

Most core health insurance policies will provide a similar level of protection and coverage for private medical treatments. You can tailor your health insurance policy to suit your needs and your budget by changing the benefits and levels of cover that you receive.

Is health insurance worth it?

Health insurance is the same as most other personal protection policies that you can buy, it is down to your own personal preference and attitude to risk. The other major issue is whether you can afford to pay for health insurance every month because it can be expensive.

If you ever need to claim on your health insurance policy then the benefits can be life changing and even lifesaving. The medical treatments and care that is provided by the NHS in the UK is among the best in the world, especially for chronic illness. Unfortunately, it is a well-known fact that the NHS is struggling to meet demand and that the levels of private medical treatment are generally far superior to public health treatments.

Example: If you needed knee surgery then you would have to wait for months or even years on the NHS, whereas private health insurance will give you access to better treatment, leading specialists, and within weeks usually. Rehabilitation and therapies cover that are also provided by most health insurance policies can be invaluable, especially if you are self-employed for example.

Is private health insurance better than the NHS?

Currently, the biggest issue with the NHS is the waiting times for any consultations and access to treatments, because of how stretched its resources are. The NHS provides some of the best care in the world for chronic illnesses and diseases, such as diabetes, MS, epilepsy, and asthma.

Health insurance is designed to complement and support the treatment that you can receive on the National Health Service, as well as giving you access to specialists for other medical issues such as musculoskeletal issues and cancer treatment, which are also the top reasons for claims on health insurance cover.

The main issues with NHS treatment currently and reasons for people taking out health insurance:

  • Long waiting lists for consultations, results and treatment
  • Overcrowded hospitals
  • Lack of beds
  • Shortages of NHS nurses and doctors
  • Some treatments not available (especially cancer treatments)
  • Specialists only available on private health insurance
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What is the best health insurance UK?

There are lots of different policy options when considering health insurance as well as your choice of several main insurance providers. The other consideration is whether you don’t take out health insurance and opt for receiving treatment on the NHS or paying for treatment yourself as and when you need it.

We’re constantly reviewing the top health insurance companies in the UK to find out which provide the best service, value, products and treatments. Based on our most recent reviews we suggest the following as the best health insurance UK 2023:

  1. Aviva Healthcare Solutions (Trustpilot score: 4.1 out of 5.0)
  2. BUPA Health Insurance (Trustpilot score: 4.0 out of 5.0)
  3. Vitality Personal Healthcare (Trustpilot score: 3.9 out of 5.0)
  4. Exeter Health+ (Trustpilot score: 4.4 out of 5.0)
  5. AXA PPP (Trustpilot score: 4.1 out of 5.0)
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Best Private Health Insurance 2023 - iam|INSURED

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