Health Insurance | Compare Best Private Medical Cover 2023 | money.co.uk (2023)

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You could get medical treatment by taking out private health insurance. Compare insurers that could offer in-patient treatment, a health advice helpline and a no claims discount.

  • Get a free quote in minutes

  • Compare multiple providers to find the best deal for you

  • Individual, family, joint & children's policies

  • Extras: dentistry, eyecare, physiotherapy, mental health care

Health insurance

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Compare health insurance from leading UK companies

You'll only find results from genuine companies. Our data experts check each company before we add them to our comparisons.

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What is health insurance?

Having health insurance means that some – or all – of the cost of private healthcare treatment will be covered if you’re ill or injured. Without medical insurance, the bill for private healthcare can run into the tens of thousands.

Even though the NHS offers free healthcare in the UK, many people still like to have health insurance. That’s because private healthcare comes with added benefits, such as faster treatments for long-term conditions and more flexibility about where you're treated.

There are also services available through health insurance that simply aren't available on the NHS - including access to specialist treatment and private rooms.

You can either get single policy health insurance which is just for you, or you can get a joint or family policy to cover your loved ones too.

Read more abouthow health insurance works here.

Benefits available with private health insurance

Shorter waiting time

Appointments can sometimes be found more quickly than on the NHS

Choice of hospitals

There can be a selection of hospitals to let you choose where you would like to be treated

Physiotherapy

Private health insurance can offer quicker access to physiotherapy

Private rooms

Policies can offer private rooms rather than open wards

Specialist referrals

Policies can let you get GP referrals for consultations from specialists

Specialist treatments

Private cover can include treatment from specialists that aren't on the NHS

How to get a health insurance quote

1

Compare our health insurance deals

Enter your details to compare polices, then choose the deal from our results table that best suits your lifestyle and the needs of you or your family.

2

Fill in an application form from your chosen provider

Fill out the quote form with your chosen health insurance provider. This will include things like your personal information, any existing health conditions and your medical history.

3

Adjust for the level of cover you need

Tell your provider how much cover you will need to meet the cost of for your health insurance bills, adding in or removing any optional extras you think are important.

4

Wait for your results to see if you're accepted

Your health insurance will start after the application is accepted, or select an alternative provider to compare quotes if rejected.

Types of health insurance

Some medical insurance policies let you pick what to cover. They base the price around your choices.

There are three main types of insurance for private health care:

Basic Health Insurance Cover

Usually pays for inpatient treatments and stays.

Medium Health Insurance Cover

Usually covers outpatient care as well time in the hospital.

Comprehensive Health Insurance

Includes all the above, plus cover for treatments such as physiotherapy.

After you’ve decided what you want, you can compare health insurance policies using our health insurance comparison.

Doing a health insurance comparison makes getting health insurance quotes easy. Check the following features to help you make a decision:

  • The level of cover

  • The cost

  • The excess charge

  • Claim limits

It's also good to know if there's a delay between buying the health insurance policy and making your first claim.

What comes as standard? Health insurance providers compared

All providers offer hospital stays and a choice of locations - although you can frequently upgrade to get an even wider choice.

But the standard options change depending on who's offering the service. Here we've rounded up the main benefits of the comprehensive policies of the major health insurance providers.

Health insurance options by provider

Updated 24 January 2023

ProviderAcute conditionsChronic conditionsHospital choiceCancer carePregnancy/childbirthOutpatientDentalMental health
AvivaYesNoYesYesNoYesOptionalOptional
AXA PPPYesNoYesYesNoOptionalOptionalOptional
BupaYesNoYesYesNoYesOptionalYes
Freedom Health InsuranceYesNoYesYesSomeOptionalYesYes
General MedicalYesNoOptionalYesSomeYesOptionalOptional
Health-on-lineYesNoYesYesNoYesOptionalOptional
PHCYesNoYesYesNoYesNoOptional
SagaYesNoYesYesN/AYesOptionalOptional
The ExeterYesNoYesYesNoYesNoYes
VitalityYesNoYesYesNoYesOptionalOptional

How much does private health care insurance cost?

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Private health care costs vary. That’s because the cost of your medical insurance is affected by many factors. These factors include:

  • Your age– the price might increase with every birthday

  • Your medical history– your insurer will want to know about pre-existing conditions

  • Your family medical history– as this may be relevant to your own health

  • Where you live– London is more expensive than other areas of the UK

  • Your lifestyle– your insurer will want to know about your habits, such as whether you drink, smoke or exercise

  • What you want to be covered for– you’ll need to decide how much cover you want

With private healthcare insurance, there are two costs to think about. The first is the cost of your health insurance policy and the second is your excess - how much of the claim you pay yourself.

Of course, you want the best private health insurance so you can access the private medical care you want. But it’s important to find a policy you can afford - especially with the average private health insurance policy coming in at £1,435 a year¹.

Typical costs of certain treatments

Elective C-section - from £7,950

Knee replacement - from £14,670

Breast reduction - from £3,815

Hip replacement - From £12,363

Gastroscopy - From £1,640

Lumbar decompression - From £6,590

Private dental cover explained

UK health insurance providers might also offer private dental insurance as an additional extra. If you are unable to use an NHS dentist, a dental plan can cover the cost of routine consultations and emergency procedures. You will usually have to pay the dentist first, then claim the money back through your dental insurance plan. Some cosmetic procedures, such as teeth whitening, will not be covered by dental insurance. UK dental costs can quickly add up, so a private dental insurance plan could potentially save you money.

It is worth considering that best dental insurance can be more valuable depending on where you live. The costs of dental treatment can vary wildly across the country, so private dental insurance may be the best option for you if your preferred dentist is particularly expensive.

It is also important to remember that unlike standard hospital treatment or medical appointments, NHS dental procedures and consultations still cost money for most people. If you usually pay for dental treatment, whether through the NHS or a private dental insurance plan, it is worth weighing up your existing costs against buying a dental insurance plan.

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Health Insurance | Compare Best Private Medical Cover 2023 | money.co.uk (9)Health Insurance | Compare Best Private Medical Cover 2023 | money.co.uk (10)

Comprehensive health insurance policies may be the most expensive, but they will provide the complete cover. This could be especially important if you're worried about your health or problems developing as you age.”
James Andrews, Senior Editor, Personal Finance

Health insurance FAQs

A private health insurance policy covers you for private healthcare treatment as an inpatient or outpatient. This means you could be covered for:

  • Staying overnight in a hospital bed, for example for surgery as an outpatient

  • Consultations or diagnosis appointments as a day patient (where you don’t need an overnight stay)

  • Any other regular appointments where you don’t need to stay in a hospital overnight.

Private health care insurance may not cover you for:

  • Long-term conditions

  • Emergencies

  • Treatment you choose to have but don’t necessarily need, such as cosmetic treatment

  • Organ transplants

  • Drug abuse

  • Alcohol abuse

  • Treatment abroad

There are sometimes ‘extras’ that you can add on to your health insurance policy, which aren’t automatically included. For example:

  • dentistry

  • Eye care

  • Physiotherapy

  • Mental health

In terms of health insurance covering existing conditions, it depends. Some policies include cover for declared conditions, but many exclude them. Here’show cover for pre-existing conditions works.

You might need a medical check before you get health insurance. Some policies make you fill out a declaration about your health and some may require medical tests. Others, known asmoratorium policies,don’t.

Yes, your health will affect the cost of your insurance as some policies could charge you more if you have existing conditions. Others only charge you more if you need to cover treatment for them. Smokers invariably pay more for private health insurance.

If you need to reduce the cost of your private healthcare insurance, there are several things that might help. These include:

  • Agreeing to pay a higher excess when you make a claim

  • Proving to your private medical insurer that you live a healthy lifestyle – for example, by exercising regularly and eating a healthy diet

  • Reducing the number of hospitals you have access to

  • Reducing the level of cover you have

  • Co-paying on claims, which is when you split the cost of treatment with your insurer

  • Paying annually rather than monthly

In terms of which hospitals or doctors you can use, most policies allow you to choose between several medical facilities when you are referred for treatment.

Yes, you can still use the NHS if you get health insurance. You can choose to get free treatment on the NHS or use your policy to pay for private treatment.

Health insurance does not cover you when you are abroad. Most policies only cover treatment in the UK, but you can getmedical cover from your travel insuranceif you go abroad.

Yes, you can get health insurance for your family as you could get separate policies for everyone or a singlefamily healthcare policy.

Yes, you can get health insurance if you are disabled, but some providers might not cover treatment for conditions relating to a specific disability.

Why compare health insurance with money.co.uk?

By comparing health insurance, you could save money on the policy. The best value health insurance will offer the cover to you and your family need at an affordable price. Choose a cover plan from the best UK health insurance companies and see the online discounts they offer.

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Explore Health insurance guides

See more guides

How to choose health insurance

The right health insurance policy can give you fast access to private treatment if you are unwell or suffer an injury. Here is how to find health insurance that covers everything you need.

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How does private health insurance work?

Private health insurance can pay out for a range of treatments for illnesses and injuries. Here is how it works and what types you can get.

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How to claim on your health insurance

Your health insurance could pay out if you need private medical treatment or an appointment. Here is how to claim and how much it costs.

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Do you need another sort of health insurance?

What type are you looking for?

Health insurance for over 65s

¹The average premium for UK private health insurance is£1,435 a yearbased on close to 8,000 health insurance sales through theActiveQuotewebsite in the second half of 2017 and the months to May 2018
²Example prices fromHCA Healthcare UKtaken on 10 August 2021

Last updated: March 1, 2023

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