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Private Health Insurance Guide UK 2024

Private health insurance also often includes additional perks such as cheap gym passes from brands like PureGym or Nuffield Health and discounts on food and drink to help you save even more money.

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60-Second Summary – Private Health Insurance Guide UK 2024

Health insurance is a useful type of cover designed to provide quick access to top quality private medical treatment for individuals and their families.

  • Health insurance is very flexible and policies can be customised to fit individual needs and budgets.
  • Basic health insurance policies will cover things like in patient hospital treatments and fees, while more comprehensive policies will include cover for additional things like out patient care, mental health cover and much more.
  • Private health insurance won’t cover you in all situations and you normally will not be able to claim for pre-existing or chronic medical conditions.
  • There are some simple and easy ways to save money on your health insurance such as paying more excess, limiting your choice of hospitals or removing extra benefits that you simply don’t need.

What is a health insurance policy?

Health insurance is a type of insurance that is for you and your family to get the best medical treatment fast. The cost and availability of private medical treatment can vary from minor injuries or pain all the way up to serious conditions like cancer or heart attacks.

We all know that any private medical treatment is often very expensive and unaffordable for the majority of people. However, access to the best care can mean the difference between a fast recovery or long-lasting life-changing problems.

This type of policy is designed to give you and your family the best type of private medical care at an affordable price. Treatments can include:

You could get the right level of care from the country’s leading specialists to keep you fit and healthy.

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Can I buy private health insurance?

If you’re looking to compare the best health insurance deals to see what’s right for you, then our experts can help. Our partners include all of the top health insurance companies as well as some specialist providers.

There are many great health insurance providers in the UK, which means you can choose the one that feels right for you. Each provider will have various pros and cons attached to their policies and service, so it’s important to do some research and think carefully before buying a new policy or renewing a policy.

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What does private health insurance cover?

One of the best things about health insurance is that you can tailor it exactly to what you want and what you need.

You can choose a basic policy:

  • In-patient treatment is covered, mainly things like surgery
  • Hospital stay costs

More comprehensive policies can also include Outpatient care, which can cover the costs of specialist consultations, and diagnostics or follow-up exams.

Some of the other options that might often be available to you will include:

Most of these options can be added or removed to suit your needs and more importantly, your budget.

Other options can include health insurance for multiple individuals, such as:

Health insurance is specifically designed to help you maintain your lifestyle and complement NHS care. Pre-existing medical conditions generally won’t be covered under a new medical insurance policy.

If you have a chronic medical condition then your current treatment that you receive on the NHS will continue. You’ll also still need to use NHS accident and emergency services as you would normally.

There’s an extensive list of conditions and treatments that will be covered by your health policy, as well as some that don’t fall under health insurance such as:

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The term ‘pre-existing medical condition’ can vary from one insurance provider to another, so it’s important to check the policy wording. It often refers to a medical or health condition that you’ve received treatment or had symptoms in the past five years.

A medical condition is where you have had:

  • Symptoms
  • Treatment
  • Medication
  • Consultation

Will my pre-existing medical condition be covered?

Health insurance is to provide cover for medical treatment for conditions that you suffer after you have taken a policy. Your pre-existing medical condition will still be treated through the NHS, and any new condition will be covered.

How can I keep my health insurance premiums down?

It’s understandable to be concerned about how much an insurance policy might cost. There are a number of ways to keep your premiums affordable, which are usually quick and simple.

Some ways you can reduce health insurance costs include:

  1. Excess – Health insurance has an excess which works the same as car insurance so you could select a higher excess. You’ll need to pay your excess when you make a claim but this can work out cheaper over time.
  2. Hospital lists – There are different hospital lists for each insurer and you could select from the options that are available to you. By reducing your list, you might be able to reduce your premium.
  3. Cover options – You’ve got the option of adding and removing various elements of your plan.
  4. Co-pay claims – Another option is for you to select that you will pay for a proportion of any claim, as well as your excess.

There is an option with many insurers to ‘auto-renew’ cover which works in the same as most other insurance policies. If you select an automatic renewal then you will be notified of any changes in premiums prior to renewal.

Is it possible to add people to my health insurance policy?

Most insurance providers will let you make amendments to your policy throughout the year. You’ll be able to add your partner usually and your children can be added.

What are the age limits for health insurance?

To have your own health insurance cover, the minimum age is usually 18 years of age. Children can be added to a parent’s policy and then can have their own policy once over 18 years.

Health insurance jargon buster

We know that insurance can be confusing and some of the terms that are used often don’t make sense. Here’s a list of some of the most common terms used:

  • Certificate of insurance – This is also often referred to as ‘policy documents’. It provides you with evidence of your cover and the terms of the agreement.
  • Day patient – This refers to a treatment or tests which have taken place but not required an overnight stay.
  • Excess – Your policy excess is the figure or sum that you select which will be paid by you at the point of claim. A higher excess will reduce the premiums.
  • Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)The Financial Conduct Authority is the regulator in the UK, which controls and regulates the treatment of customers by financial services firms.
  • Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS)The Financial Ombudsman Service is a voluntary and impartial organisation that mediates between customers and financial services firms to settle disputes.
  • Full Medical Underwriting (FMU) – A policy that is fully underwritten at the point of application to ensure that all medical history has been taken into account.
  • In-patient – This refers to a person who has been admitted to the hospital for at least one night on a ward or in a bed.
  • Insurance Premium Tax (IPT)Insurance premium tax is payable on most general insurance contracts which are relatively small and included in your quote
  • Moratorium underwriting – Most health insurance policies are underwritten this way because it’s far easier than full medical underwriting. This method of underwriting is automated and anything you have suffered symptoms or had treatment for over the past several years will be excluded.
  • No claims discount (NCD) – A no claims discount is usually applied from the outset and will be reduced as any claims occur.
  • Out-patient – Where you visit the hospital for a test, investigation, or consultation.
  • Self-pay – In this situation, you would have chosen to pay for your private medical treatment yourself rather than claim on your insurance.
  • UnderwritingUnderwriting refers to the process where an application is assessed based on an applicant’s health and their medical history

How do I compare health insurance quotes?

The easiest ways to compare the best health insurance quotes in the UK is to speak to a private health insurance specialist. An expert advisor will be able to compare quotes and policy features across the market to work out which policies will work best for you. To get free advice about your health insurance call 0800 009 6559 or click here.

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Best private health insurance 2023

How much is private health insurance UK?

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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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