An Ultimate Guide to Private Health Insurance UK

Being covered by a health insurance policy can be a cost-saving option if you decide on getting private treatment for an injury or illness.

But choosing health insurance can be a complex process. Health insurance in the UK can pay out for private care for injuries and medical conditions that you would normally have to cover the cost of yourself if you want to access the treatment straight away without being put on an NHS waiting list, you want the additional comforts of a private hospital, or your treatment is not available on the NHS.

private healthcare

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

Is Private Health Insurance Worth It?

Private health insurance might not be worth it if you are happy with the treatment that you are entitled to through the NHS. However, if you would prefer to access private healthcare, health insurance could be the most convenient method of ensuring that you are able to cover the cost of it if you need it.

Charges are set individually by private health consultants and hospitals. While you are able to pay upfront for treatment with cash, the costs could be thousands of pounds.

Health insurance covers these costs and will pay out if you get treatment, as long as you are paying the monthly premiums. This is often easier to manage financially compared to paying out of pocket.


How Health Insurance Works

Private medical insurance will pay out for private medical treatment, surgery and tests if you are injured or develop a health condition during the term of the policy. Typically, it is designed to cover acute, curable, and short-term conditions.

You will usually pay a monthly premium for your health insurance. It is designed to offer a way to pay for treatment that is offered alongside the service that is provided for free by the NHS.

For example, you will still have an NHS GP. Private health insurance allows you to enjoy a range of benefits when getting treatment, including avoiding NHS waiting lists, access to a wider range of treatment types, and a choice of where you will get the treatment.


What Does Private Health Insurance Cover?

Health insurance can include cover for a range of treatment types. This includes treatment as an inpatient, outpatient, or day patient. Comprehensive health insurance will usually cost more but tends to cover more treatment types.

Some health insurance companies allow you to pick a range of add-on options including treatment for specific diseases, psychiatric treatment, dental cover, optical cover, home nursing treatments, and physiotherapy. Another benefit of Private Health Insurance UK.


Types of Health Insurance Policy

Getting health insurance is worth the cost if you find a policy that covers all your needs and requirements. The types of health insurance policy that you can get are:

  • Individual: These policies will cover one person and will only pay out for healthcare treatments for that one individual.
  • Joint: One policy can be used to cover two individuals, for example, yourself and your spouse or partner. In some cases, this could cost less compared to getting separate health insurance policies for each of you, but this is not always the case, so be sure to get some health insurance quotes first. You can use Switch Health to find the best private health insurance for you whether you want an individual or joint policy. Their site allows you to easily search for the best health insurance from a range of trusted providers.
  • Family: Family policies are designed to cover the entire family on one policy. This can be easier to manage since they allow you to get health insurance for the whole family for one monthly payment rather than paying separately.
  • Children’s: You can usually either add cover for your children to your own health insurance policy, or take out a standalone policy for your child.
emergency healthcare

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Full vs. Moratorium

A policy that is fully underwritten will usually pay out for a wider range of circumstances.

However, the application process will generally be lengthier as you will need to give the provider your full medical history, and they can be more expensive.

On the other hand, a moratorium health policy will typically be cheaper, have a shorter application process, and are usually more successful for those with pre-existing health conditions. But there are fewer situations that they pay out for.

It’s essential to provide your full medical history when applying for a fully underwritten health insurance policy.

A declaration of health is usually included as part of the application so that you can do this. You’ll usually need to get a report or letter from your doctor to confirm your medical history and information. If you decide to go for a moratorium policy instead, you will not be required to provide medical history information.

However, bear in mind that while you may be more likely to be accepted with pre-existing medical conditions, this type of policy will not usually cover the cost of treatment for any conditions that you have had in the previous five years.


Getting Health Insurance

Comprehensive health insurance policies can be ideal for covering a broader range of conditions and treatments; however, this option isn’t always the best value for your money. The best way to save money is to choose a policy that is the most affordable for you and covers everything that you need.

Today you can find ‘pick and mix’ policies that make it easy for you to choose what you need, tailor your cover to your personal circumstances and decide on a price based on your chosen options. This can be the best way to get value for money on a policy that will cover everything that you need.

To choose the right policy for you, consider:

  • The injuries and illnesses that you require cover for
  • The types of treatment that you want to cover
  • Whether the policy offers all the different types of cover required
  • How much the policy will cost you monthly or annually
  • The excess that you will need to pay if you submit a claim
  • If there are limits that restrict how often or how much you can claim for
  • How long you will need to wait before you can make a claim if the policy has a qualifying period


Alternatives to Private Health Insurance UK

While health insurance can be an ideal way to make sure that you are in a position to get private healthcare and treatments if you require or prefer it, there are some alternatives to consider before deciding if it is the right option for you. Instead of health insurance, consider:

  • Getting free NHS treatment. This covers the majority of illnesses and injuries. You can rest assured that the quality of healthcare offered by the NHS is the same standard as that offered by private healthcare providers in the UK.
  • Healthcare cash plans. These are paid into monthly, and you will then be able to claim back your expenses for some private treatments once you have paid the bill.
  • Critical illness cover. While it is not a product that will pay directly for the cost of your treatment, crucial illness cover is an insurance type that will pay out if you are diagnosed with a serious illness or injury that is covered by the policy, which may help you pay for private medical care.


While the NHS does offer treatment for most injuries or illnesses that you might suffer from, you may consider getting private health care to get faster treatment and a greater range of choices when it comes to when, where, and how you are treated.


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