If you’re in the market to compare health insurance options for private coverage of medical treatment within the UK, then you’ve landed at the appropriate destination. Finding the optimal health insurance plan can appear daunting, given the multitude of choices available. Contrary to other insurance products, evaluating and comparing policies in the realm of private healthcare can be more intricate. Fortunately, we possess in-depth knowledge of each health insurer’s policies and have curated informative guides to assist you in assessing their respective offerings. We undertake a thorough comparison of the leading private healthcare providers in the UK and extend complimentary guidance to ensure a comprehensive understanding of your policy prior to making a purchase.
The UK`s best health insurers
Choosing the most suitable private health insurance can pose a challenge. To simplify the process, we have meticulously reviewed and compared several top-notch health insurers in the UK, presenting you with the most comprehensive and exceptional private health insurance coverage options.
Drawing upon our extensive expertise and familiarity with each of the UK’s premier private health insurance providers, we have created detailed review guides for each one. Discover comprehensive information about the coverage they offer, as well as any limitations. Each review encompasses essential “Key Points” and provides insightful “Things to consider.” Take a look below, listed in no particular order
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AXA Health is a renowned private health insurance provider in the UK market. Until 2020, it was commonly known as AXA PPP. However, a slight name change occurred when they merged this brand with Health-on-Line and Health Services/ICAS UK.
It’s important to note that AXA Health’s core private health insurance policies do not include outpatient cover as standard. However, it can be added as an optional benefit, with two levels to choose from: Standard or Full. Even without additional outpatient cover, AXA Health covers MRI, CT, and PET scans as part of the core policy, along with outpatient surgery.
The standard option with AXA offers significant cost savings without restricting scans and tests, unlike some other UK health insurers.
Other notable points to consider include:
- The Personal Health policy provides an extensive network of hospitals, including top London hospitals.
- AXA Health offers child-only cover, which sets them apart from some other insurers.
- They provide coverage for dependents beyond the typical age limit.
- Utilising the therapies benefit does not count as a claim on your health insurance policy and does not affect your No Claims Discount (NCD).
Points to Consider:
- If you are seeking family cover and one or more members have received cancer treatment or follow-ups within the five years before joining, AXA Health will downgrade all members on the policy to NHS Cancer support. In such a situation, one solution is to split the policy.
- If you have made more than three claims in the last five years, switching to AXA Health is not possible.
- Premium loading applies to individuals who have used nicotine products within the last two years.
- AXA Health will increase the premium for members who, upon joining, have had any of the following conditions within the last five years: heart conditions or problems, strokes, cancers, diabetes, and mental health conditions.
Bupa is a well-established health insurance provider in the UK, committed to not only offering excellent health insurance coverage but also promoting longer, healthier, and happier lives for individuals.
Bupa provides two different policies tailored to meet diverse customer needs:
- Bupa By You: This policy offers comprehensive cover.
- Bupa Treatment and Care: Designed for in or day patient treatment only.
Some notable points about Bupa include:
- No age restrictions for new customers over 65 or 70, unlike some other leading health insurers.
- Bupa offers six different hospital lists for customers to choose from.
When considering Bupa as an option, it’s important to keep the following points in mind:
- Opting for limited outpatient cover on a Bupa By You product also restricts access to outpatient diagnostic scans and tests, excluding MRI, CT, or PET scans.
- Currently, there is no option to add face-to-face private GP cover to personal plans. However, private GP services are included as a standard online service through Babylon Health.
Please note that this information is subject to change, and it is recommended to contact Bupa or a healthcare advisor for the most up-to-date details.
Aviva is a prominent player in the insurance market, having established its name for the past 20 years. It has grown into a multinational insurance company, operating in 16 countries.
Aviva’s Healthier Solutions policy offers comprehensive coverage with the added flexibility to include optional extras. If you are conscious of your budget, exploring Aviva as an insurer is worthwhile.
Other notable points to consider include:
- Aviva provides customers with ‘No Claims Discount’ protection.
- New customers are offered a price guarantee, ensuring that their premium will not increase at the first renewal as long as no claims have been made.
- Aviva offers a choice of four hospital lists, catering to individual budgets and needs.
- They are particularly competitive in certain regions of the UK, such as Scotland and Northern Ireland, offering a specialized hospital list for these areas.
- With an Aviva private health insurance policy, you gain access to a private GP through a digital app for expert advice and video consultations.
Points to Consider:
- If you have made a claim within the past 24 months and are considering switching your health insurance policy to Aviva, it is likely that you may encounter less competitive prices in this scenario.
- For those residing in or near London, pricing for Top London hospitals can often be higher compared to other providers.
- Limiting outpatient cover also restricts access to outpatient diagnostic tests and scans that are not MRI, CT, or PET scans, such as blood tests or x-rays, for example.
The Exeter Overview
The Exeter is a mutual society, meaning they don’t have any shareholders to pay, which enables them to reinvest the profits back into the business for the benefit of their members.
If you are new to health insurance it’s quite possible that you may have never heard of The Exeter, however their customer service and comprehensive policy offering is not something to be overlooked.
One thing that differentiates them from other health insurers is that they offer a choice between ‘no claims discount’ or ‘community rated’ policy. The latter is a structure where future premiums reflect the claims made by a wider pool of customers, not individual claims.
Other noteworthy points are:
- They try to offer competitive prices for families or those adding a partner to their policy.
- Their HealthWise App offers quick and convenient medical advice and medical treatment services.
Things to consider:
- Limiting your outpatient cover with The Exeter to reduce the premium will also limit some outpatient scans and tests. In contrast, other providers like AXA Health and Vitality will fully cover these with a limited outpatient option.
Vitality Health Insurance Overview:
Formerly known as PruHealth, Vitality underwent a rebranding in 2014 and has since become more prominent in the market. Encouraging members to lead healthier lives is a central focus for Vitality, achieved through discounts and rewards.
Members can enjoy discounts and rewards through various partners, and by staying active and healthy, they can also receive a discount on their renewal premium. Vitality takes into account activity data recorded on fitness devices like Apple Watch or Garmin when calculating renewal premiums.
Vitality’s main medical insurance policy is the Personal Healthcare policy, which provides comprehensive coverage for inpatient treatment and includes standard benefits such as comprehensive cancer cover. The policy’s additional options make it highly versatile, allowing members to tailor coverage to their specific needs and budget. Moreover, Vitality’s partner benefits and rewards enable clients to enjoy rewards even without making a claim.
Points to Consider:
- Vitality offers different outpatient options to choose from, allowing customization of coverage for consultations and diagnostic tests.
- In-network physiotherapy is covered in full when any outpatient cover is selected.
- The rewards and partners program offered by Vitality is highly attractive, providing premium discounts on gym memberships, hotel stays, and fitness devices from brands like Apple.
- Vitality offers three hospital lists to accommodate varying needs and budgets.
- When switching policies, Vitality guarantees to beat the cost of any other recognized health insurance provider’s policy by up to 10% and match or upgrade the level of cover.
- Instead of a traditional no claims discount, Vitality utilizes an ABC pricing system based on age, base rate, claims, and engagement. Active participation in the Vitality program can help minimize the impact of claims on insurance.
- Coverage for pre-existing mental health conditions is limited.
General & Medical is a well-established provider of medical and specialist insurance services for professionals, businesses, and families in the UK and internationally. While medical insurance remains a core focus, they have also developed a range of other services and insurance products.
General & Medical offers four distinct policies:
One notable aspect that sets General & Medical apart from many other providers is that they do not use postcode ratings. This means that the cost of health insurance premiums is not influenced by the geographical area in which you live. This can be advantageous for individuals residing in areas considered more expensive to insure.
Other noteworthy points include:
- Their policies offer additional benefits not commonly provided by other insurers, such as private maternity coverage, cash benefits for boarding pets, and coverage for parking charges, among others.
- General & Medical does not operate a No Claims Discount system; instead, their policies are community-rated.
- With 30 years of experience, General & Medical has a longstanding presence in the UK private medical insurance market.
- They are the preferred provider for the Association of Surgeons of Great Britain and Ireland (ASGBI).
Points to Consider:
- Some General & Medical plans have a cap on cancer treatment coverage.
- Choosing an Everyday or Essentials plan with limited outpatient cover from General & Medical may result in restrictions that could be exceeded at the time of making a claim. In contrast, providers like AXA Health and Vitality offer full coverage for outpatient services with a limited outpatient option.
- When considering General & Medical, it is important to consult with your advisor to ensure that the hospital list provided meets your specific needs, as there are three different lists available, each with considerable differences.
National Friendly Overview:
While National Friendly may not be as widely recognized as some other insurers in this review, it is important not to overlook them. In fact, they offer some impressive features and benefits.
National Friendly prioritizes providing a fair and friendly service. One notable way they achieve this is by not penalizing you for making claims. Your renewal premium will not be affected by any claims you make during the first five years.
Their Optimum policy offers a comprehensive hospital list and includes options for both inpatient and outpatient cover, which can also be purchased separately.
Additional noteworthy points include:
- Unlike their competitors, National Friendly offers a claims history disregard for clients, meaning that they do not consider the client’s claims history until the 5-year period has expired.
- This plan is available for individuals aged 18 to 75 years, but it is primarily aimed at the over 50s market, where National Friendly believes they are most competitive.
- They do not impose loading for CPME (switch) business.
- Choosing a zero excess option results in minimal premium increase.
- Discounted pricing is available for combining inpatient and outpatient cover.
Points to Consider:
- National Friendly does not offer an option for full outpatient care, unlike providers such as AXA Health and Vitality, who provide comprehensive outpatient coverage with a limited outpatient option.
- Outpatient scans, including MRI, CT, and PET scans, are counted towards your outpatient limit.
- Cancer cover does not include coverage for stem cell therapy and bone marrow transplants.
- There is no specific option for mental health treatment.
- Access to a virtual GP is available 24/7.