Health insurance is an insurance policy designed to cover the cost of private medical treatment. It will generally cover you for ‘acute conditions’, such as a hip replacement or having a hernia removed. You can buy different types of policies that offer various levels of cover, at varying costs. This could include fast-track diagnostics for cancer or access to different cancer treatments not currently available on the NHS.
Over 1.6 million households in the UK have some kind of private medical insurance. So what’s on offer, and is it right for you?
Policies range from basic through to comprehensive.
Basic policies typically cover:
More extensive policies might also include out-patient treatment, which covers the expense of seeing specialists and consultants, as well as the cost of undergoing diagnostic or follow-up tests.
In some cases, you’ll also be given the option of tailoring the policy so that it suits the care you might need, as well as your budget. You could include add-ons such as:
If you want health insurance that covers someone other than yourself, you might want to find out about child health insurance, family health insurance or joint health insurance.
Private medical insurance is largely designed to complement NHS care and won’t usually cover you for pre-existing conditions, or chronic conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and arthritis. If these affect you, then you should always make sure you know what your policy covers and that you’re happy with any exclusions.
You’ll still need to use the NHS for accident and emergency.
Private medical insurance generally gives you:
Because you can often choose when and where you’re treated, access to private healthcare can be invaluable if you’re self-employed or have a job where timing is an important factor.
When you compare health insurance quotes at Compare the Market, we’ll initially ask you questions about yourself, such as what your job is, your age, where you live and whether you smoke. We’ll then show you a list of quotes to choose from.
Once you’ve made an application, insurance providers may ask you for more details, including whether you have any pre-existing conditions. They might also ask general health and wellbeing questions in order to build up a picture of how healthy your lifestyle is and what the likelihood is of you making a claim.
Here are some of the important things to keep in mind when you compare health insurance quotes:
You can reduce your health insurance premiums by:
You might also find that you’re offered a no claims discount – so you’ll be rewarded with a lower premium for every year you don’t make a claim. Some insurance providers will also discount your premium, or offer you cashback if you can show that you’re generally fit and healthy.