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Average cost of private health insurance UK

With the NHS struggling to cope with the demand of millions of patients, many people in the UK are considering buying private health insurance as an alternative. Private health insurance helps to make the cost of private healthcare more affordable for thousands of people across the UK.

We’re always looking for the best prices and providers for our health insurance customers, so you never pay more than you should. Based on our most recent research, the average cost of private health insurance in the UK is £60.09 per month. This doesn’t mean this is the price that everyone will pay though, and your price will be based on your own situation and the level of cover you need.

The average cost of a private health insurance policy is decided by a range of standard factors including your age and where you live. This guide provides all the key information about the potential cost of your health insurance policy, the factors that affect pricing and how you can save money on your cover.

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60-Second Summary – Average cost of private health insurance

Private health insurance is more popular than ever before, and we’ve conducted some research to discover how much (on average) people are paying for their health insurance cover in 2023.

  • Based on our research, the average cost of health insurance in the UK is £60.09 per month (or £721.08 per year) based on the 5 most popular UK insurance providers and postcode areas.
  • You may not end up paying the ‘average’ price for your cover as there are several key factors that will affect how much you pay. Some of the main factors will be your age, where you live, the level of cover you need and which insurance provider you choose.
  • There are some quick and simple ways to lower the cost of your policy like increasing the amount of excess you pay for claims or reducing your level of cover.
  • If you’re struggling to find a fair price for your health insurance policy, you can speak to a health insurance specialist for free and friendly guidance.

There are various online tools and calculators available that can help you to work out how much health insurance might cost for you, your family or your business. It is important to note though that there are a lot of factors that will affect pricing, so the estimations from these tools may not always be 100% accurate.

The simplest and quickest way to find out how much you are likely to pay each month would be to speak to a health insurance specialist. It can be especially helpful to talk to an expert if you have medical conditions or there are other factors which could make your application more complicated.

We consistently assess and compare UK health insurance policies to identify the providers that offer the best coverage with the most affordable premiums. Our recent research focuses on analysing the average cost of private health insurance policies in the UK and examining how these costs vary for policyholders of different ages.

Below are example health insurance premiums based on our recent research, to provide a general idea of how much you could expect to pay for health insurance cover.

Keep in mind that the figures shown on this page are estimates and are based on averages across various postcode areas and age groups.

An image of a health care professional speaking to a patient with the caption 'How much does Private Healthcare Cost 2023? Our health experts look at the current costs of Private Healthcare in the UK'

Most people with health insurance choose to pay monthly for their cover (though there will normally be an annual payment option too).

In 2023, the average cost for private health insurance in the UK, considering data from the top 5 insurers and top 5 postcode areas, is £60.09 per month (£721.08 annually).

Here we have some examples of premiums (monthly costs) based on different ages of policyholders, to give you an idea of how much pricing can vary.

Average cost of health insurance by age

Policyholder’s ageMonthly Premium (£’s)
20 years£33.27
30 years£42.12
40 years£53.74
50 years£69.28
60 years£102.04

Data: iam|INSURED – Private Health Insurance

As you can see, the price can rise dramatically as you get older which happens with other types of insurance policy too (e.g. life insurance). This is why it can often be best to buy cover earlier in life if you can to get the best pricing.

You may then be able to take advantage of offers such as no claims discount to keep the cost of your policy low as you get older.

Note:*Our calculations for average premiums are sourced from the Top 5 health insurance providers within the Top 5 postcode areas. All quoted figures are based on a standard £250 policy excess, with outpatient cover up to £1,500 in the claim year, including therapies cover.

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If you are married or in a committed relationship, you may decide you and your partner would like to buy health insurance together.

When estimating how much you might pay, it can be helpful to think of the typical cost for private health insurance for one person and then double this figure.

If we look at the average cost for one person which is £60.09 per month, it would be fair to say the average cost of joint health insurance is £120.18 per month. Of course, the cost you pay will vary based on where you live and the benefits you decide to include in your policy.

Certain insurers will offer discounts (e.g. 5% or 10%) to people who apply for couples health insurance policies, so it’s definitely worth doing some research and shopping around for the best quotes.

It’s a very common myth that health insurance will cost more if you have a pre-existing medical condition. Believe it or not, the reverse of this is true and you might find yourself paying less if you have a medical condition.

If you choose to have your policy fully medically underwritten, the insurer will take your medical history into account when deciding the price of your policy. If they decide that they won’t pay out for treatment related to your condition, they will normally reduce the cost of your cover.

Even if this doesn’t happen, your policy shouldn’t be more expensive based on your health and any conditions you’ve had in the past. If you’re struggling to find a suitable price for your health cover, it can be helpful to talk to a health insurance expert.

Smokers will generally pay more for health insurance due to the associated risks that smoking and vaping has on your overall health. It’s possible for prices to be anywhere between 30% – 50% higher for smokers, though some insurers will offer better prices than others.

You should always be honest about your smoker status when applying for health insurance, otherwise you risk your policy being invalid. If you claim for a medical issue and your nicotine use shows up in your history, the insurer is unlikely to pay out and could cancel your policy altogether.

If you have stopped smoking for 12 months or longer, you will notice that prices will drop significantly for health insurance. You also cannot be using vapes or other nicotine replacement products to be officially classed as a non-smoker.

There are several key factors that insurance providers will consider when you apply for health insurance which will determine how much your policy costs.

1) Your age

Age is a key factor that insurance companies will consider for most types of insurance policy including health insurance. This is because we all become more likely to develop illnesses or medical issues as we get older.

The insurer will look at your age and assess the level of ‘risk’ there is of you needing to claim on your policy. If they think the risk is high, you may end up paying more because of this. You should check prices across a few providers to make sure you get the best price that is available for someone your age.

Certain providers such as Bupa are known for providing fair pricing to older applicants and can be a good option if other insurers aren’t affordable for you.

2) Postcode

The cost of private medical care will vary depending on where in the country you live (your postcode) and some areas (e.g. London and South England) can be significantly more expensive.

As health insurance is designed to cover these costs, insurers will think about the rough cost of medical treatment in your area when deciding on your monthly (or annual) premiums.

Your postcode is one of the main factors that determines policy pricing, and we will explain this in more detail in the section of this page titled ‘how does your postcode affect the cost of health insurance?’.

3) Smoker status

Smoking or vaping will have an impact on your overall health and can result in medical issues or complications. This means that generally the cost of policies like life or health insurance will be higher for smokers.

It can be useful to quit smoking or cut back before applying for health insurance to save money on your policy. Once you have quit smoking for 12 months or longer, the prices you are quoted should be noticeably lower.

There is more detail about smoking and health insurance in the ‘what is the average cost of health insurance for a smoker?’ section of this guide.

4) Level of cover

It makes sense that the more health insurance cover you need, the higher the price you will have to pay. If you want the highest level of cover that is available, then this is going to be more expensive each month.

There are usually options to choose only core cover (or even reduce the level of cover) which can make your policy more affordable.

You should think carefully about how much cover you need and if this amount is affordable for you for the whole policy term (normally 1 year).

5) Level of excess

Health insurance works similarly to policies like car insurance where you will agree to pay an ‘excess’ if you need to claim. The excess is the amount of money you pay toward the cost of the claim.

EXAMPLE

You are claiming for £500 worth of treatment and your excess amount is £100. You would pay £100 toward the cost of your treatment and the insurer would pay the remaining £400.

If you agree to pay a higher amount of excess, this can lower the cost of your policy. It’s always best to agree to a level of excess that is affordable for you though, even if this means your policy costs slightly more each month.

6) Policy benefit limits (e.g. outpatient limits)

If you choose to have limitations on your policy such as a lower amount of outpatient cover, this can lead to lower pricing for your policy. Alternatively, you may choose to upgrade to unlimited outpatient cover which would make the policy more expensive.

Any limits for your policy will be fully explained in the policy terms and conditions. It’s always best read your policy documents carefully, so you know exactly where you stand and what you are covered for.

7) Type of policy (e.g. individual, couples, family or business health insurance)

The type of health insurance policy you choose will have an impact on how much you pay. Individual cover will normally cost less than cover for couples or families, as you are covering one person rather than multiple people.

Some insurers will be better than others for policies like business health insurance, so it is best to shop around and compare quotes to make sure you get the best price.

There are a wide range of brilliant health insurance providers in the UK, so the key is to work out which offers the best price for the type of policy you need. It can be helpful to speak to a health insurance specialist, if you’re unsure or you’re finding it difficult to get a fair price.

8) Hospital list/access you choose

With health insurance, you will be able to choose a ‘hospital list’ when you buy your policy. This list will specify which specialists and hospitals that you can receive treatment from which will be covered by your insurance.

Most providers will have a few lists available, and you can choose a list with more or less hospitals on it based on your budget.

Even some of the more ‘basic’ hospital lists will often cover treatment at hundreds of UK hospitals, so you will still have a lot of options available if you need to claim.

9) Guided option

Another popular option for customers who want a more cost-effective policy would be a ‘guided’ treatment option. This is where the insurer will provide you with a recommended short list of specialists when you claim rather than a full list of choices.

Some people prefer this option as a way of reducing costs whereas others may want a larger range of specialists available when they need to claim.

Guided cover isn’t always available, and we have more information about how these policies work in the ‘how does choosing guided access affect the price of health insurance?’ section of this guide.

10) Claims history

If you’re renewing your health insurance or switching from another provider, it’s likely that the insurer will be interested in your claim’s history. They’ll look at whether you have claimed in the last year (and how many times) to determine if you are at high risk of claiming again.

If you are staying with your current provider and haven’t claimed recently, you may be able to take advantage of No Claims Discount (NCD) to save some money on your monthly premiums.

11) Medical history

While it’s definitely possible to buy health insurance when you have medical conditions, you might find that this affects the price you pay.

You may be surprised that your price can actually decrease if the insurer decides to exclude claims for your medical condition. This is because insurers will often lower the cost slightly, to keep things fair as you won’t be to claim in certain situations.

You can find out more about this in the ‘what is the average cost of health insurance with a pre-existing medical condition?’ section of this guide.

Bupa | This is Health | What is Health Insurance in 30 Seconds

If you’ve never bought health insurance before you might not be too familiar with what a guided option for cover is. A health insurance guided option refers to when your choice of specialists is more limited when you need to claim (also known as guided consultation).

In this situation your insurance provider gives you a recommended short list of specialists for your particular medical issue, rather than letting you choose from a full list of providers.

Guided treatment options can be useful if you want private medical care but aren’t as bothered about having a wide selection of specialists to choose from. These policies are usually cheaper each month compared to standard cover, with price differences ranging from between £8 lower to around £30 lower for guided consultations.

Not all insurance providers offer guided consultation routes for their customers and currently you only have this option for policies with Aviva, AXA, Bupa or Vitality.

Note: Bear in mind that if you choose the guided option, you do still have the choice of having treatment with other private specialists but you won’t be able to do this through your insurance.

People often don’t realise that the cost of health insurance can vary depending on where in the UK you live. This is because the cost of medical treatment in different areas will be more (or less) expensive and so the insurer will take this into account when deciding on the price of your policy.

There are also a few other things about the area you live in that might affect the cost of your cover:

  • How many of your insurance company’s policyholders live in your area
  • The rate of claims for policyholders in your area (if the amount of claims is high you may end up paying more)

Average cost of health insurance UK by area (region of Mainland UK)

Area of UKAverage Monthly Premium (£’s)
Scotland£54.59
Wales£63.36
North East England£60.52
North West England£75.85
Yorkshire (and The Humber)£66.14
East Midlands£67.82
West Midlands£69.96
East England£64.84
South East England£72.50
South West England£68.65
London£84.35

*These figures are based on online estimated pricing data for UK regions based on quotes from top health insurance providers in the UK. These prices are approximate, and you may find you pay a different price to the price specified for your area.

Insurance companies will all have their own processes for how they calculate policy prices, which is why it’s so important to compare quotes from multiple providers before deciding on a policy.

If you’re worried because you live in a more expensive area such as London, the good news is that there is one UK health insurance provider who does not look at your post code when you apply. You can apply for a policy with Freedom health insurance and the cost won’t go up or down based on where you live.

National Friendly are also a good option for some customers in this position, though their prices are still slightly higher for customers who live in London or Manchester.

There are some easy ways to lower the cost of your private health insurance if you are worried about your budget. You can save money on health insurance by:

  1. Paying annually: Often annual premiums will be cheaper overall, with the added bonus that you don’t need to remember to keep money aside for monthly costs
  2. Reduce the level of cover: Choose a plan with slightly less cover (e.g. limited outpatient cover) to lower the price you will pay
  3. Look at other insurers: As every insurance provider works differently, it’s likely that one or two will offer better prices so it’s always good to compare multiple quotes
  4. Agree to higher excess: If you can afford to pay more excess when you claim, this can keep the monthly cost of your cover down
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How much does private healthcare per month UK?

The cost of private medical treatments can vary depending on how complicated the treatment that you need is. Consultation fees alone for some surgeries can be more than £1,000.

More complex surgeries can cost close to £15,000 or even higher. This is where health insurance can be useful as it can help cover some or all of the cost to make private care more affordable for you.

More information – How much do private medical treatments cost in the UK?

How much is Bupa health insurance UK per month?

Bupa is one of the UK’s main and best-known health insurance providers and many people look online to find out how much their policies might cost per month.

Bupa health insurance can be more expensive compared to other providers with policy premiums being around £18 per month higher on average. However, there are easy ways to lower the cost of your policy such as reducing your level of cover and getting advice from an expert.

Bupa policies contain a range of great customer benefits alongside your health cover which can add towards value for money with your policy. This includes features like mental cover being automatically added and access to breakthrough cancer treatments and care.

More about Bupa – Bupa health insurance

Is it worth paying for private healthcare in the UK?

Private healthcare is becoming an appealing option for UK consumers looking for faster diagnosis and access to top quality specialists.

Private healthcare can be expensive though, which is why many people choose to use health insurance to pay for the medical care that they need.

Common reasons for buying health insurance include:

  • Access to extra perks and discounts on products and services such as gym memberships and cinema tickets
  • Peace of mind you will receive quick treatment and top-quality care
  • Avoiding long NHS waiting lists
  • Options for private hospital rooms
  • Choice of specialists for the treatment you need
  • Ability to add on your partner or child(ren) for a higher level of protection

Can you pay monthly for private healthcare UK?

YES – The easiest way to do this is through private health insurance cover. You pay each month for your policy and then you can claim whenever you need to seek medical treatment.

Most health insurance providers will also include access to online support such as virtual GP services which can be useful if you can’t get an appointment with your own doctor.

How do I go private instead of NHS for my healthcare?

There are several ways to access private healthcare and you don’t have to use health insurance if you don’t want to.

You can use savings to cover the cost of private consultations and procedures if you can afford to. You should think carefully if relying fully on savings though, in case you haven’t got enough saved to cover the full cost of the treatment you need.

Where is the cheapest place to buy health insurance in the UK?

People who live in Scotland tend to pay less for health insurance compared to other countries within the UK according to online figures.

UK residents in Scotland and Northern Ireland can also have the option of reduced hospital lists with some providers, which lowers the cost by removing access to hospitals in England.

Where is the most expensive place to buy health insurance in the UK?

Health insurance will normally cost more for people who live in London as medical treatment generally costs more in London and the South East.

According to research, Manchester is the next highest priced area to live in if you want to buy health insurance.

If you live in either of these areas or are worried about higher costs in your area, some insurers will be able to offer better prices than others. Freedom health insurance doesn’t look at your postcode at all when you apply, and so is often the best option for people who live in more expensive areas.

What’s the best private health insurance in the UK?

There isn’t one ‘best’ health insurance for everyone in the UK, as every person is different and will want different things out of their health insurance cover. The best provider for someone who wants a high level of cover might not be the best provider for someone who wants a budget friendly health insurance plan.

We’ve done our research this year and ranked the top health insurance providers in the country to work out the Best Private Health Insurance 2023.

Are there affordable health insurance options in the UK?

YES – There are affordable options available for health insurance and the key is to do your research and compare available quotes until you find a price you are happy with.

If you don’t want the hassle of doing this yourself, a health insurance expert can do the comparison for you and work out your best options for cover.

Does the average cost of health insurance include dental coverage?

NO – We haven’t included dental cover within this page as most providers don’t include this automatically within health insurance policies.

You may have some limited cover for specified dental treatment but otherwise dental cover will be an optional additional benefit. You could choose to buy specific dental insurance through a provider like Bupa if your main concern is the cost of UK dental care.

There are a wide range of policies and providers available for UK health insurance, so prices can vary significantly depending on the policy you choose.

A quick and simple way to work out how much health insurance might cost for you is to speak to a private health insurance expert. Our specialist advisors have easy access to quotes across the market to find the right price and policy for you.

More useful health insurance guides

If you are worried about the potential cost of your health insurance cover, here are more of our helpful health insurance guides:

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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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