You can still get health insurance as you get older, but it can be more expensive and difficult to find. Here is where to find it and how to cut the cost.
Yes, you could take out health insurance at any age because some insurers do not have age limits. Your policy will usually run for as long as you pay the premiums.
Some health insurers have a maximum age you can take out their cover, which is usually between 65 and 80.
But others come with higher age limits or no age limits, and you should still be able to find cover if you are retired. Some companies offer policies designed to cover older customers, and some only offer policies to over 50s.
Health insurance usually costs more when you are over 50. Your age affects how much it costs because older patients claim more frequently for treatment and diagnoses.
This costs the insurance company more, so they charge higher premiums to insure older customers.
This means that if you are in your 70s, you could pay as much as three times more for health insurance than someone in their 30s.
Even if you already have a policy, it usually gets more expensive as you get older because the cost of the premiums is not fixed. Health insurance premiums are usually reviewed annually and can go up every year.
You can get cheaper policies in several ways, including:
Proving you live a healthy lifestyle, e.g. by using the gym regularly
Choosing a policy that only covers conditions and treatments you require
Limiting the number of hospitals and clinics covered by your policy
You pay a monthly premium for a policy that can pay out to cover the cost of private treatment for illnesses and injuries.
Each health insurance policy can cover different conditions and types of treatment. Some insurers do not cover treatment for certain illnesses and conditions, but others can cover them at an extra cost.
For example, older people are more likely to have pre-existing conditions like diabetes or high blood pressure that can affect your health insurance:
They can make your policy premiums more expensive
Some will not pay out to treat conditions you have before you take out the policy
Other policies only offer cover if you have had no symptoms for a set time, e.g. two years
You could use our comparisons to find a health insurance policy that covers everything you need. They show what each insurer's policies include for older age groups.
If you use a health insurance broker, you can get quotes from providers that can accept people your age and give exactly the cover you need. They can then help you decide which policy is most suitable for your circumstances.