How to choose the best health insurance plans
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?
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.
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 below that the premiums vary considerably, so it pays to get advice on the actual cover provided by each company.
Health Insurance Comparison
||Get a quote
|Aviva (6 week NHS option)
|Health-on-line (6 week NHS option)
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 25/2/22
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?
||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.
||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
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.
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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