Health Insurance

Although British residents are generally covered by their National Health Insurance, there are instances where having private health insurance can be a distinct advantage. It is not compulsory in the UK to have private health insurance policies to cover such exceptions, but for dental problems for example, having private health insurance can be a life-line.

Do you need health insurance other than NHS cover?

It will depend on your family's medical treatment requirements as much as on your personal state of health. You may end up in an NHS ward for some types of treatment anyway and won't necessarily be seen any faster for some types of critical conditions.

Factors to take into account:

The policy should cover just you or your entire family.

You have any prior health issues to declare, which may influence which type of underwriting you will need, i.e. moratorium underwriting or full medical underwriting.

The policy should also cover dental treatment, which may increase its premium, but gives you a comprehensive cover for all types of medical issues.

Does your employer already provide health insurance as part of your remuneration package and if so, how comprehensive is that policy? For example, does it cover only you or your whole family?

Are you and your family covered when going abroad for a period of time, for work for example rather than for leisure?

What is Moratorium Underwriting?

A moratorium underwriting policy does not require the applicant to provide any kind of health information. By signing the policy, however, the applicant confirms they understand any medical conditions for which they have sought medical advice for in the last five years prior to applying will be excluded from the policy.

This type of insurance tends to be only available to people younger than 55. It does have the advantage that medical conditions experienced further back than 5 years should still be covered by the policy.

What is Full Medical Underwriting?

This type of policy does not cover any medical conditions whatsoever that an applicant had prior to signing the policy. Any medical matters arising later that were not declared earlier can become a costly issue, for insurers may well refuse to pay out.

Who are the main providers of private health insurance?

Aviva, Bupa, Freedom and WPA are some of the biggest names in the UK insurance industry. They all offer a good selection of health insurance, but there are some differences in how much they cover, for example whole families, businesses in general or only corporations etc.

Aviva offers individual and whole family health insurance, including international health insurance for individuals and their families. In addition, Aviva offers healthcare for businesses and their employees and companies with more than 250 employees. Aviva's Health Cash Plan option allows policy holders to pay for essential and everyday healthcare issues and is tailor-made for individuals, their families, businesses and corporate policies.

Bupa offers comprehensive health insurance where benefits are paid in full for eligible treatment on policy holder's core health. Corporate and Business Health Insurance are also offered.

Freedom Health Insurance offers private medical insurance for individuals, their families and businesses in the UK and internationally.

WPA offers health and dental insurance to individuals and companies, as well as corporate policies and multi-family healthcare plans which cover extended families across generations.

Comparison Chart

The price of health insurance depends on a number of factors, including: your age, current and previous health, the type of the cover that you are looking for. Below is a comparison chart that aims to give you a rough idea of the sorts of costs involved in taking out health insurance.

Provider Age Limit Excess Hospital Options
Aviva 99 None/ co-pay Limited, standard and London upgrade
Axa None None/ co-pay One list
Bupa 100 Yes Yes
Wpa 65 None or 25% co-pay on elite and premier insurance Standard and London upgrade
CS Health Care 74 None/ co-pay Standard and London upgrade