Tips to Getting the Health Insurance that you want in the UK

In the UK, citizens of the nations have access to the National Health Service, which is built on the principles that the health service is comprehensive, universal, and free, with few exceptions such as dental care, optical care, and some prescription charges in England. Due to the NHS, many people don’t feel the need to take up private health insurance, but doing so comes with some perks that people who can afford the monthly charges desire.

As the NHS is a public service, some people who want to be treated quicker will find the process of getting appointments and undergoing tests a lengthier process than they would like, so they turn to private health insurers to get, among other things, faster treatment. Paying private health insurance means that your insurer pays for your private medical treatment which falls under the policies of your agreement when you fall ill.

Unlike the NHS for the public, there isn’t one sole provider when it comes to private health insurance. So, there are many different variables to consider, such as the cost per month and what’s covered by the policy.

If you’re set on getting yourself some private health insurance, here are some top tips to help you get started and find what you need.

1. Do you need to go private?

The citizens of the UK live in one of the few countries which offer free medical advice and treatment at the point of need. But that doesn’t mean that the service is a perfect fit for all.

It was found by Which? that close to 5 million people in the UK have private health insurance, giving them access to private facilities and care. For many, the NHS is sufficient, but if you want to be seen quicker, need non-critical care, and want appointments to be more to your convenience, a private policy can deliver on all of these needs.

2. How much does private health insurance cost?

This is the point which, for many, ultimately decides the necessity of private health insurance over the free NHS. Private plans can vary depending on the provider, your age, how much you smoke, how much you drink, your profession, and the state of your health at the time of your application for health insurance.

Healthy, non-smoking 35-year-olds can find health insurance from close to £850 per year depending on the provider, per Money Saving Expert, but it should be noted that as you age, the cost per year increases. The increase, without excess or outpatient cover, can increase from close to £1000 per year as a 55-year-old to £2000 per year as a 74-year-old.

Claims made previously, pre-existing conditions, and more coverage on the policy will result in prices being higher, so it’s a good idea to check out insurance comparison websites or speak to a broker to get help finding the cheapest but most comprehensive policy for your needs.

3. How can I save money on private health insurance?

There are many ways that you can cut the costs of your private health insurance, from doing in-depth research to keeping yourself healthy:

  • Find a pick ‘n’ mix policy: If you wish to cover certain medical procedures or certain ailments, find a provider – of which there are many – that offers a basic plan that you can add extras onto so that you can build the exact plan that you need and not pay for anything that you don’t think you’ll need or are willing to go through the NHS to get.
  • Use comparison websites and expert advice: The modern way to do almost anything these days is to use a comparison website. But don’t simply go for the lowest price immediately; use the information to establish an average price of the policy that you need and then contact a broker to see if they can personally help you to get a better deal.
  • Remember the power of switching: As the price per year of private health insurance rises each year, be sure to look around to see if you can not only find a cheaper rate elsewhere but also get additional perks from switching provider. First, of course, you can try haggling with your provider and let them know that you’re looking to switch – it’ll sometimes land you a better rate on renewal.
  • Prove that you’re healthy: Being a non-smoker and regularly proving that you lead a healthy lifestyle and, in turn, are in good health can lead to reduced charges. Some providers offer a good chunk in reduced annual fees if you remain in shape or cashback for proving that you lead a healthy life.

4. Are there any other options?

Self-insuring is a very real option for many people, and it can end up being cheaper overall. For serious conditions such as cancer, fees can run into the £100,000 if you go private, but for other conditions, going private on the odd occasion can be more cost-effective than paying close to £1000 per year. The problem is that you most likely don’t know what illness or injuries you may suffer over the next year, so while it can be cheaper to go private out of your own wallet, a coverall rate from insurers can be the better option if you seek private healthcare.

Taking up private health insurance can bring you many benefits such as quicker treatment in private facilities as well as act as a safety net just in case anything happens and you’d like private treatment should anything serious befall your health.

© - 2019