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  • Guide to choosing the best health insurance for you
  • Reviews on the leading private healthcare UK providers
  • Easy to use health insurance comparison service and reviews
  • Over 50s health insurance doesn't have to be expensive

Comparing health insurance quotes could save you up to 40%

In this guide: We help you to choose the best health insurance and compare plans.

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How to choose the best health insurance plans

Updated 1st February 2024 - I have reviewed the leading health insurance companies to help you understand more about what they offer and to help you make an informed choice. Here’s what I found:

With so many health insurance UK companies around, it is important to understand how plans work and the different private health cover options available to you.

The information provided in this private health insurance guide will help you understand what to look for and how to make your private health cover more affordable. You can also compare health insurance quotes by requesting a quote by clicking on the request a quote button - it’s quick and easy and could save you up to 40%.

Who are the top ten health insurance providers?compare health insurance

Health insurance reviews are just one way you can be sure of choosing the best health insurance for you. Our independent reviews of these top 10 health insurance providers will help you understand how private healthcare could work for you and then our comparison service will show you the cost.

Related health insurance pages

Which health insurance provider is best?

The best health insurance provider will be the one that meets all of your needs at an affordable price. We recommend shopping around for the best plan and this is why we offer free independent advice comparing the whole market.

You will see from the comparison of costs, from a selection of providers below, that the premiums vary considerably, so it pays to get advice on the actual cover provided by each company.

Health Insurance Comparison

*If you're viewing this page on a mobile phone, scroll right to see the full table.

Company Monthly Premium Excess Outpatient cover Get a quote
WPA £43.33 £250 £500 Compare
Aviva £79.53 £200 £1,000 Compare
General Medical £40.45 £250 £500 Compare
Vitality £52.01 £250 £0 Compare
AXA £103.27 £250 Unlimited Compare
Freedom £43.33 £250 £500 Compare
Bupa £62.78 £250 £500 Compare
National Friendly £53.09 £250 £500 Compare
The Exeter £60.80 £250 £1,000 Compare

Based on male non smoker aged 50 yrs of age - no health questions answered. This is for comparison purposes only & you should obtain a personal health quotation as policies do vary. Correct as at 3rd February 2024.

If you would also like to add your family to the cover, it would be worth taking time to compare family health insurance too as it may work out cheaper than individual healthcare plans.

Why choose Private Medical Insurance?

Private medical insurance is designed to work alongside the services of the NHS, covering the medical diagnosis and treatment of shorter term illnesses or injuries that can be cured.

Instead of the stress of lengthy NHS queues for scans, diagnosis and treatment; private health insurance speeds up the whole process from the initial referral right through to any surgery or procedure required, getting you back on your feet sooner. Some private medical plans even include aftercare therapy such as a course of physiotherapy too.

Your private health plan can be tailored to suit your needs but typically will include:

  • Speedy referral and treatment, avoiding lengthy NHS queues
  • Access to top consultants and leading specialists
  • Your choice of consultant and hospital (depending on the insurer)
  • Appointment times arranged to suit you
  • The use of private hospitals usually with en-suite rooms, phones, TVs and good quality food
  • Unrestricted visiting hours for family and friends
  • Access to new treatments and drugs not available on the NHS

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Types of Private Medical Insurance

When deciding on a Private Medical Care Plan, you can choose between a ‘moratorium’ and a ‘fully underwritten plan’ (apologies for the industry jargon but this is something you need to know).

The difference between the two types of health cover is how pre-existing medical conditions are treated.

Fully Underwritten health care plans - You are required to provide a full medical history when applying for this type of plan. Based on your information, the insurer will decide what will and won’t be covered. Therefore it is highly unlikely any pre-existing medical conditions you have had would be covered - see more on pre-existing condition health insurance.

Moratorium health care plans - These private medical insurance plans are usually cheaper and will not cover you for a set period (usually 2 years) for any medical conditions you may have suffered over the last 5 years. This period is called a moratorium. Once the set period is over, you will be covered for the condition, as long as any examination shows it hasn’t arisen during the moratorium.

When choosing the actual services included in your plan, most UK medical insurance companies offer a range of basic, standard and comprehensive health insurance policies. Most health plans cover the cost of staying in a private hospital but the more comprehensive private healthcare policies also include consultation fees, tests, medical diagnosis and treatment as well as aftercare therapy. The following table explains this in more detail:

  What is it? Is it Covered?
Outpatient Treatment This is where you visit a specialist, hospital or outpatient clinic for consultation, tests or treatment but are not admitted as a day patient or inpatient.

Full outpatient care is usually only covered in more comprehensive plans.

Some standard plans may include an element of outpatient cover but will either restrict the number of treatments allowed or will have a monetary limit

Day Patient Treatment This is where you are admitted to a hospital for the day, usually for a procedure that required a period of recovery under medical supervision. Day patient care (normally surgery) where you are admitted to a hospital is usually included in most plans.
Inpatient Treatment This is where you are admitted to a hospital for one or more nights due to a medical condition. Inpatient care where you are admitted to a hospital is usually included in most plans.

In addition many UK providers also offer cancer insurance cover, pay as you go private health insurance, dental insurance and international health insurance.

Quite simply the more you pay each month, the more medical insurance cover you will get, so it’s important to think about your own specific needs. A cheap private health insurance plan may be appealing but if it doesn’t give you the comprehensive health insurance protection you are looking for, it may not be the best health plan for you. That is why comparing leading private health insurance UK provider’s plans is important, not only in terms of price but also the service provided too.

How to reduce the cost of your health insurance policy

Whether you are looking for cheap medical insurance or a comprehensive health insurance plan, there are a number of ways you can lower the cost and save money.

Of course comparing the market for health insurance quotes is one way you will save money but there are also a number of ways you can tweak your health cover which can in turn reduce the amount you pay each month.

  • Agree to be treated by a selected number of private hospitals. This may mean you travel further for treatment but could reduce the amount you pay overall
  • Agree to pay an excess meaning that you pay part of every claim. The more excess you pay, the lower your premium
  • Agree to be treated by the NHS if the treatment can take place within a specified amount of time (e.g. 6 weeks)
  • Agree to pay a proportion of the full treatment costs, e.g. 25%. The higher the percentage you agree to pay, the lower your premium

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Some health cover providers also reduce payments through your ‘no claims bonus’ whilst others provide additional discounts for people with healthier lifestyles. For more information on how you can cut your healthcare costs with a few lifestyle changes, see our new section coming soon.

Watch our Health Insurance video

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Health Insurance Reviews

Aviva Health Insurance
Bupa Health Insurance
AXA PPP Health Insurance
Saga Health Insurance
The Exeter Health Insurance
Freedom Health Insurance Review
WPA Health Insurance
General & Medical Health Insurance
Vitality Health Insurance

How does Private Health Insurance work?

The level of Private Health insurance you select will dictate what you are covered for; basically the things you can claim for. If you have health issues, an illness or injury that requires investigation or treatment, first see your doctor who will refer you to a specialist. Once you have been referred, call your health insurance provider to check that the condition is covered under the healthcare plan you have chosen. It is important to ensure your condition is covered before you see the specialist.

Here’s how it works:

1. Visit your GP
2. Your GP refers you to a specialist
3. You contact your health care provider to check you are covered
4. Your insurer will provide you with an authorisation code
5. You can then make an appointment or wait to receive confirmation from the specialist

How do I buy health insurance?

When choosing the best health insurance plan for you it’s important to compare the market to see what is on offer. Remember it’s not just about price though; cheap health insurance may be appealing but always check to see what services are included.

Through our partnership with First Choice Health & Protection who are regulated by the Financial Conduct Autority, you can compare health insurance quotes online with the UK’s leading private health care providers such as AXA PPP, Pru Health, Bupa, Simplyhealth and Aviva, all in just a few minutes.

And don't forget if you are leaving your company health insurance scheme we can also help with that too.

Our advice

Our advice is to always compare the market and speak to an adviser who will find the best deal to suit you.

Our service is free to use

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Frequently asked questions

  • How can I reduce my health insurance costs?
    • There are several ways you can reduce your health insurance premiums:

      • pay a higher excess
      • cut down the number of hospitals to choose from ie local vs national 
      • opt for cover after 6 weeks
      • only select the options you think you really need

      This can be a minefield, so why not let one of our advisers help you find the best way that suits you?

      You can call Gareth on 01933 839500 or ask for a quote.

  • Can I get medical insurance for my children?
    • Yes you can get medical insurance for children as part of a family health insurance plan, usually available until their 18th birthday, but this can vary by provider.

  • Can I switch from my existing health insurance provider?
    • Yes, you can switch health insurance provider in order to get a better deal, or perhaps you are leaving your employers private health scheme and need to arrange private health cover for yourself.

      It's worth noting that if you have any medical conditions or have made claims in the past, it could affect your new premiums. Also any pre-existing medical conditions may be excluded from the new plan.

      This is where advice from our team at Hannah could prove invaluable, as they will be able to look at the whole market and find the best health care options for you.

  • I'm changing jobs & will lose my existing health insurance - do I have to start again?
    • You may be able to get your existing medical insurance provider to continue cover, however this could be a good time to take a look at your options and compare health insurance quotes to ensure you have the best plan that suits your needs.

      Remember though, if you have made any claims or have any pre-existing medical conditions, this may be excluded or your premiums increased to take account of this increased risk.

  • Are emergencies covered by my private medical insurance?
    • No, all UK citizens are entitled to free emergency healthcare under the NHS.

      Your private health care plan is designed for treatment following a referral by your GP or other NHS specialist.

  • Will I get a cheaper health insurance plan if I go direct to the provider?
    • We have teamed up with First Choice Health & Protection, a leading UK health insurance broker who has many years experience helping customers find the best health insurance plan to suit their own individual needs. With so many options and healthcare providers on the market, doing this yourself can not only be time consuming but you also may not end up with the best plan in terms of price and cover.

      This service is completely free with no obligation so why not get a quote to see just how knowledgeable our specialists are?

  • What is the ABI Health Insurance Guide?
    • The ABI stands for the Association of British Insurers (ABI), a trade association made up of UK insurance companies. They published their ABI Health Insurance Guide back in 2017 to help explain and better inform customers on their options.

      You will also find a wealth of information private medical insurance right here at Over50choices Ltd such as how health insurance works and importantly how to reduce your costs. Also we do offer advice through First Choice Health & Protection so if you wants to talk through your options, you can get started by simply getting a quote.

      If you would like to take a look at what the ABI say, you can get a copy of the ABI Health Insurance Guide.

  • How much does health insurance cost?
    • Depending on your requirements, Private medical insurance can be expensive - so is it worth it?

      Like all insurance, you are protecting yourself and your family from a risk you hope will never happen but if you are one of the unlucky ones, you could soon find out that what you may have considered to be expensive is actually worth every penny.

      The cost of health insurance really depends on what you are looking for. You can buy low cost health insurance plans that provide a more basic level of health cover right through to more comprehensive levels of protection.

      The first thing to do is look at the different levels of cover to decide on what you want and more importantly compare health insurance quotes to ensure you get the best deal.

      There are also a number of ways you can reduce the cost of your medical insurance – just to a look at our ‘How to reduce the cost of your healthcare plan’ section for more details.

  • Will my private medical insurance plan cover me whilst on holiday?
    • Most plans will not cover you whilst you are on holiday outside of the UK – you would look to your travel insurance for this.

      Holiday health insurance should be built into your travel insurance plan but you should always check the details of what you are covered for in the country you are travelling to.

      Should you be abroad for longer and more frequent periods, you may wish to consider an International Health Insurance Plan. These plans have a far more comprehensive levels of health cover, as in most countries they do not have the equivalent of the UK's NHS.

      International medical plans can be expensive and more specialist, so we would recommend that you seek advice to help you with this.

man talking to doctor

Comprehensive Cover

Comprehensive medical insurance provides a much fuller level of health insurance cover than a standard plan. See how they compare how much they cost.

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Pre-existing conditions

If you have or previously suffered from ill health your pre-existing condition maybe covered with more affordable private health insurance than you think

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If you are self employed and looking for private health insurance we will search the market for you offer you the best self employed quotes.

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Over 65s

If you're over 65 and looking for private health insurance we will search the market for you offer you the best quotes. Start your research here.

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