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Compare Private Health Insurance

Private health insurance will allow you to get that extra care that the NHS can’t always provide.

Quotes from top providers
Quotes from top providers
Quick and easy comparison
Quick and easy comparison

How to compare health insurance

Comparing private health insurance policies with usave is easy:

1

Tell us about yourself

First you’ll need to fill in a short form explaining the kind of policy you want, and listing some basic details about yourself, so that we can make sure we show you accurate quotes.

2

Compare quotes

Choose from a list of personalised quotes from top private health insurance providers, picking the one with a price and level of cover that perfectly suits your needs.

3

Complete the application

Complete the application on the provider’s website, or speak to one of our advisers on the phone and they’ll help you complete the process.

Why take out private medical insurance?

There are many reasons why people want a private health insurance policy. Over 1.6 million households in the UK have some form of private health insurance, and the benefits they can receive include:

Shorter waiting times than on the NHS
Shorter waiting times than on the NHS
Access to a wider range of treatments and drugs
Access to a wider range of treatments and drugs
Wider choice of hospitals and consultants
Wider choice of hospitals and consultants
Better facilities including private rooms, en-suite bathrooms and televisions.
Better facilities including private rooms, en-suite bathrooms and televisions
Can receive treatment in both NHS and private hospitals
Can receive treatment in both NHS and private hospitals
Extra perks such as gym memberships or discounts on other types of insurance with the same provider
Extra perks such as gym memberships or discounts on other types of insurance with the same provider

Private health insurance can be particularly useful if you’re self-employed or your job isn’t flexible with timing. You will have more control over when and where you are treated, allowing you to be cared for on your terms with minimal disruption to your daily life.

What affects the cost of private health insurance?

The cost of private health insurance can vary depending on a number of factors, not least the level of cover you decide to go for.

The cost of your private medical insurance policy is split in two parts: the premium – a set monthly fee paid regularly, and the voluntary excess – a fixed amount that you agree to pay as a one-off in the event that you make a claim.

The higher you set your voluntary excess, the cheaper your premiums will be. Adding extra conditions and treatments to be covered by your policy will also raise the cost.

Your age and general health will be taken into consideration when determining the price of your private health insurance. The older you are, the more likely you are to make a claim in the eyes of your insurer, so you will be offered less competitive prices. The price of your premiums can also increase each year as you get older to reflect the greater risk.

If you smoke, or have been a smoker in the past, then you will almost definitely have to pay more for your private health insurance. Having a vaping or e-cigarette habit can also push up your premiums. Other health factors will also result in more expensive private health insurance, such as if you’re overweight, drink alcohol regularly or you have a poor diet. Making healthy lifestyle changes can not only benefit your body and wellbeing but will also save you money when it comes to paying for private health insurance.

Finally, the price of your premiums can also be affected by where you live. Private health insurance often costs more in certain locations, for example in London and the South East of England. Policies in Scotland tend to be cheaper than south of the border.

What types of private health insurance are available?

You’ll benefit from shorter waiting times, quicker access to tests and treatments, higher levels of control over where you are treated, and access to certain drugs that may not otherwise be available on the NHS.

Individual Health Insurance

Individual Health Insurance

Individual health insurance covers you and only you. It’s worth taking out a policy if you want that extra level of care that the NHS can’t provide.

Joint Health Insurance

Joint Health Insurance

Joint health insurance will provide cover for both you and your partner. While these policies are great for convenience, they don’t always work out cheaper, so make sure you compare health insurance policies and their prices thoroughly before deciding which one to go for.

Family Health Insurance

Family Health Insurance

Family health insurance will cover every member of your family should anyone need medical treatment. These policies let you protect your whole family with a single monthly payment.

Child Health Insurance

Child Health Insurance

Child health insurance policies are designed to cover your children for conditions that they are more likely to receive treatment for.

International Health Insurance

International Health Insurance

International health insurance will cover you, your partner and your family for medical costs when living abroad. Medical fees are notoriously high in certain countries around the world, so this type of policy could be vital if you’re planning to emigrate.

What does health insurance cover?

Private medical insurance cover can vary quite widely, from the most basic policies through to the most comprehensive ones. Generally speaking, the more you pay then the higher level of cover you will receive – though predictably things aren’t quite this simple when you dig down.

Private health insurance policies will usually cover you for ‘acute conditions’, which means any medical condition that generally improves quickly after a treatment. Some of the most common acute conditions that are claimed for include back pain and digestive problems. And crucially, you must develop the condition after you take out the policy to be able to claim. Pre-existing medical conditions won’t be covered.

Basic health insurance policies will usually cover you for any treatment and costs related to your stay as an impatient at a hospital. These will include routine check-ups, tests and certain forms of surgery. Some more extensive policies will cover you for outpatient costs too. These include any costs involved with seeing a specialist or consultant or going for follow-up tests.

With some of the more comprehensive policies, you will usually be given a choice of extra treatments and conditions that you can add to your level of cover. These may include:

  • Dental treatment
  • Physiotherapy
  • Eye treatment
  • Homeopathy
  • Pregnancy and maternity care
  • Mental health treatment
  • Cancer treatment
  • Home care and nursing

Common Health Insurance Policy Exclusions

GP appointments
GP appointments
Accident & emergency
Accident & emergency
Drug and alcohol abuse
Drug and alcohol abuse
HIV / AIDS
HIV / AIDS
Infertility
Infertility
Cosmetic surgery
Cosmetic surgery
Sex change
Sex change
Self-harm
Self-harm
Transplants
Transplants
Diabetes
Diabetes
Arthritis
Arthritis
High blood pressure
High blood pressure

As mentioned previously, private health insurance won’t cover you for the treatment of certain chronic and pre-existing medical conditions. Here are some examples of conditions and treatments that are typically not covered by a private health insurance policy

How can I get cheaper health insurance?

Usually, insurers will set the price of your premiums depending on your personal circumstances and your subsequent risk-factor to them. Generally, the older and less healthy you are, the more you will have to pay for your private health insurance. But while certain things such as your age can’t be controlled, there are other ways you to help ensure you keep costs to a minimum. Here are some ways you can get cheap health insurance:

1

Live healthily

If you can prove to your insurer that you’re keeping fit and living a healthy lifestyle, you could be rewarded with cheaper premiums.

2

Quit smoking

Tied in with having a healthy lifestyle, non-smokers will usually get cheaper health insurance than smokers. Even vaping can raise your premiums.

3

Raise your excess

Generally, the higher you set your excess then the lower your premiums will be. But don’t raise it too high – keep it to what you can afford if you had to make a claim.

4

Pay for the whole year

Most insurers will let you pay for your cover for a whole year, which usually works out cheaper than paying in monthly instalments.

5

Exclude unnecessary extras

Many policies will come with a range of conditions and treatments that you can add or remove from your policy as you wish. You can get cheaper health insurance by removing cover for some treatments you think you may not need.

6

Cut down your list of hospitals

Private health insurance gives you a much wider choice of hospitals to be treated at than with the NHS. Your policy will have a list of hospitals which you can choose from, but by cutting down your options you can cut your costs too.

7

Go for a ‘six-week’ option

Some insurers will offer you cheaper premiums if you go for a ‘six-week’ option, which means you won’t be able to claim if you can receive treatment from the NHS within six weeks.

8

Compare health insurance

The best way to make sure you’re not being overcharged for your private health insurance is to compare health insurance policies with usave.

Frequently Asked Questions About Insurance

If you have private health insurance, you can make a claim to your insurance provider if you need medical assistance or treatment for a condition that’s covered under your policy. To start with, you must identify your condition by making an appointment with your local GP, just as you would normally. You must tell your GP that you have private health insurance, and they will then be able to refer you to a specialist at either an NHS or private hospital. You must then inform your insurance provider that you want to make a claim, and they will confirm with you that your treatment is covered or not. If it is, you will visit the specialist and the bill will be paid for by your insurer.

This can depend on the type of private health insurance policy you get and who your insurance provider is. Most insurance providers will offer you a cheaper private health insurance deal if you pay for a whole year upfront, but some providers will give you a discount if you pay monthly. When you compare health insurance policies, make sure you’re aware of which payment method is the cheapest option – your insurer will tell you.

This will also depend on your insurance provider and what certain conditions and treatments were agreed to be covered when you signed your private health insurance policy. Some insurers will include cancer treatment as standard in their comprehensive and sometimes even basic private health insurance policies, while some will require you to pay for the extra cover. Make sure you know what you’ll be covered for when you compare health insurance deals.

Most private health insurance policies won’t cover you for the treatment of chronic medical conditions. These include arthritis, diabetes, epilepsy and asthma among others. As always, make sure you’re fully aware of what’s covered before taking out a private health insurance policy. A chronic condition is defined as something that requires ongoing or long-term treatment, will continue to affect you indefinitely, is likely to recur and has no official cure.

The length of your private health insurance policy can vary depending on your preferences and who your provider is but will usually last a year. As you get older and your health naturally deteriorates, your premiums could rise each year to reflect the increase in risk. However, it can also get cheaper if you take advantage of any no-claims bonuses attached to your policy.

Some insurance providers will automatically renew your private health insurance policy when it comes to an end, but they could raise your premiums by doing so. When your policy is coming to an end, you should compare health insurance deals that are available to you, to make sure you’re getting the most for your money.

If you don’t have private health insurance, you will have to rely on NHS services just like everybody else. And while the NHS does offer some of the best medical treatment around, private health insurance will provide you with that extra level of support, with reduced waiting times, a wider choice of hospitals and consultants and an extra level of comfort. If you’re not insured but you still want access to private healthcare, you will have to pay for this yourself.

Alternatively, you could add critical illness cover to your life insurance policy, which will cover the cost of any lost income if you were to develop a serious illness or injury and couldn’t work. You could also financially protect yourself in the event of being unable to work by getting income protection insurance.

Last reviewed: 19 November 2020

Next review: 19 December 2020