You could get medical treatment by taking out private health insurance. Compare insurers that could offer in-patient treatment, a health advice helpline and a no claims discount.
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Individual, family, joint & children's policies
Extras: dentistry, eyecare, physiotherapy, mental health care
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Having health insurance means that some – or all – of the cost of private healthcare treatment will be covered if you’re ill or injured. Without medical insurance, the bill for private healthcare can run into the tens of thousands.
Even though the NHS offers free healthcare in the UK, many people still like to have health insurance. That’s because private healthcare comes with added benefits, such as faster treatments for long-term conditions and more flexibility about where you're treated.
There are also services available through health insurance that simply aren't available on the NHS - including access to specialist treatment and private rooms.
You can either get single policy health insurance which is just for you, or you can get a joint or family policy to cover your loved ones too.
Read more about how health insurance works here.
Appointments can sometimes be found more quickly than on the NHS
There can be a selection of hospitals to let you choose you're treated
Private health insurance can offer quicker access to physiotherapy too
Policies can offer private rooms for you rather than open wards
Policies can let you get GP referrals for consultations from specialists
Private cover can include treatment from specialists that aren't on the NHS
Compare our Health insurance deals
Put in your details to compare polices, then choose the deal from our results table that best suits your lifestyle and the needs of you or your family.
Fill in an application form from your chosen provider
Fill out the quote form with your chosen health insurance provider. This will include things like your personal information, any existing health conditions and your medical history.
Adjust for the level of cover you need
Tell your provider how much cover you will need to meet the cost of for your health insurance bills, adding in or removing any optional extras you think are important.
Wait for your results to see if you're accepted
Your health insurance will start after the application is accepted, or select an alternative provider to compare quotes if rejected.
Some medical insurance policies let you pick what to cover. They base the price around your choices.
There are three main types of insurance for private health care:
Basic Health Insurance Cover
Usually pays for inpatient treatments and stays.
Medium Health Insurance Cover
Usually covers outpatient care as well time in the hospital.
Comprehensive Health Insurance
Includes all the above, plus cover for treatments such as physiotherapy.
After you’ve decided what you want, you can compare health insurance policies using our health insurance comparison.
Doing a health insurance comparison makes getting health insurance quotes easy. Check the following features to help you make a decision:
The level of cover
The excess charge
It's also good to know if there's a delay between buying the health insurance policy and making your first claim.
All providers offer hospital stays and a choice of locations - although you can frequently upgrade to get an even wider choice.
But the standard options change depending on who's offering the service. Here we've rounded up the main benefits of the comprehensive policies of the major health insurance providers.
|Provider||Acute conditions||Chronic conditions||Hospital choice||Cancer care||Pregnancy/childbirth||Outpatient||Dental||Mental health|
|Freedom Health Insurance||Yes||No||Yes||Yes||Some||Optional||Yes||Optional|
Private health care costs vary. That’s because the cost of your medical insurance is affected by many factors. These factors include:
Your age – the price might increase with every birthday
Your medical history – your insurer will want to know about pre-existing conditions
Your family medical history – as this may be relevant to your own health
Where you live – London is more expensive than other areas of the UK
Your lifestyle – your insurer will want to know about your habits, such as whether you drink, smoke or exercise
What you want to be covered for – you’ll need to decide how much cover you want
With private healthcare insurance, there are two costs to think about. The first is the cost of your health insurance policy and the second is your excess - how much of the claim you pay yourself.
Of course, you want the best private health insurance so you can access the private medical care you want. But it’s important to find a policy you can afford - especially with the average private health insurance policy coming in at £1,435 a year¹.
UK health insurance providers might also offer private dental insurance as an additional extra. If you are unable to use an NHS dentist, a dental plan can cover the cost of routine consultations and emergency procedures. You will usually have to pay the dentist first, then claim the money back through your dental insurance plan. Some cosmetic procedures, such as teeth whitening, will not be covered by dental insurance. UK dental costs can quickly add up, so a private dental insurance plan could potentially save you money.
It is worth considering that best dental insurance can be more valuable depending on where you live. The costs of dental treatment can vary wildly across the country, so private dental insurance may be the best option for you if your preferred dentist is particularly expensive.
It is also important to remember that unlike standard hospital treatment or medical appointments, NHS dental procedures and consultations still cost money for most people. If you usually pay for dental treatment, whether through the NHS or a private dental insurance plan, it is worth weighing up your existing costs against buying a dental insurance plan.
"Comprehensive health insurance policies may be the most expensive, but they will provide the complete cover. This could be especially important if you're worried about your health or problems developing as you age.
"Don't go just go for the cheapest option – find the best cover for you and your family."
Your private health insurance covers you for private healthcare treatment as an inpatient or outpatient. This means you could be covered for:
staying overnight in a hospital bed, for example for surgery as an outpatient
consultations or diagnosis appointments as a day patient (where you don’t need an overnight stay)
any other regular appointments where you don’t need to stay in a hospital overnight.
Most private health insurance, may not cover you for:
treatment you choose to have but don’t necessarily need, such as cosmetic treatment
There are sometimes ‘extras’ that you can add on to your health insurance policy, which aren’t automatically included. For example:
Yes, some policies could charge you more if you have existing conditions. Others only charge you more if you need to cover treatment for them.
If you need to lower the cost of your healthcare insurance, there are several things that might help. These include:
agreeing to pay a higher excess when you make a claim
proving to your private medical insurer that you live a healthy lifestyle – for example, by exercising regularly and eating a healthy diet
reducing the number of hospitals you have access to
reducing the level of cover you have
co-paying on claims, which is when you split the cost of treatment with your insurer
paying annually rather than monthly.
Most policies allow you to choose between several medical facilities when you are referred for treatment.
Yes. You can choose to get free treatment on the NHS or use your policy to pay for private treatment.
Yes, but some providers do not cover treatment for conditions relating to your disability.
By comparing health insurance, you could save money on the policy. The best value health insurance will offer the cover to you and your family need at an affordable price. Choose a cover plan from the best UK health insurance companies and see the online discounts they offer.
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Last updated: 12 August 2021