What are the best health insurance options for seniors who are looking for affordable coverage?


As the ageing population grows and the National Health Service (NHS) continues to face increasing pressures, private health insurance emerges as a viable and, in some cases, a necessary alternative for those over 50 in the UK. As anyone who lives in the UK likely already knows, NHS waiting time targets continued to be missed, as the impact of underfunding and the COVID-19 pandemic strain the much-cherished institution. 

Despite the benefits it offers, private health insurance can be a financial challenge, especially for those on a tight budget. Here at Usay Compare however, we believe there is a policy to suit every budget. In the following blog post, we’re going to take a look into private health insurance options for seniors in the UK, and give you some guidance on how to find an affordable policy that works for you. Let’s take a look!

What is private health insurance?

Private health insurance, also commonly referred to as private medical insurance (PMI), offers coverage for the cost of private medical treatment for acute, short-term illnesses or injuries. It's important to note that emergency care is typically not covered by private health insurance and still remains under the purview of the NHS.

In most cases, private health insurance serves to fill certain gaps that the NHS might not be able to cover: for instance, it often offers quicker access to medical care, thereby reducing the potentially lengthy waiting times associated with routine operations. It also offers the comfort of a private hospital room and allows for a choice of consultant-led healthcare, along with the flexibility of arranging appointments at times and places that best suit the policy holder.

Can I get affordable health insurance on a budget?

Private health insurance policies are typically paid for through a monthly or annual premium. The cost of these premiums can vary widely, influenced by factors such as your postcode, age, and the level of cover you opt for. As we age, these premiums tend to increase due to the higher risk associated with older age groups, and health insurance for those over 50 will almost always be more expensive than a policy for younger groups.

However, affordable healthcare on a budget is not a myth. It may seem like a challenge - especially if you’ve never taken out an insurance policy before - but it's entirely possible with the right approach. One effective way to find an affordable policy is through the use of an insurance broker: insurance brokers - like us at Usay Compare - can provide personalised guidance based on your health needs and financial circumstances. Our comprehensive knowledge of the market allows us to compare different insurers effectively and provide you with options that work for you, saving you both time and money while also securing the best policy for your needs. 

Moreover, brokers often have access to special deals and discounts that aren't publicly available, meaning that for those seeking a budget-friendly policy, the use of an insurance broker can be a strategic and beneficial choice - especially for older groups whose premiums tend to be higher.

Benefits of private health insurance for seniors

Cancer cover

As we age, our risk of developing cancer unfortunately increases. Most private health insurance policies in the UK include extensive cancer cover, ensuring that you have rapid access to diagnosis and eligible treatments, some of which may not be readily available on the NHS. This comprehensive cover may also include experimental treatments, providing a wider range of options in the event of a cancer diagnosis.

Digital GP access

For those over 50 who have limited mobility or simply prefer the comfort of their home, many insurers offer digital GP services. This innovative feature allows you to consult with a GP over the phone or through a video call, making access to high-quality healthcare more inclusive for the elderly population, or those with disabilities. A number of insurers go a step further by providing prescription delivery services, ensuring that you receive necessary medications without the need to physically visit a pharmacy - this service is offered by Bupa (for a small delivery fee.

Specialist treatment and high quality care

One of the most significant advantages of private health insurance is the access it provides to specialist treatment and some of the best medical professionals and facilities in the UK. This can prove invaluable, especially for those over 50 who might require specialised care, whether it be for acute conditions or serious long-term conditions such as cancer. 

Shorter waiting times, more personalised care, and the ability to choose from a wider pool of hospitals and medical professionals can significantly enhance the quality of care you receive. The ability to choose the location of your hospital is another benefit: with private health insurance, you're not restricted to local facilities, but can instead opt for hospitals that are renowned for their specialist departments, even if they're further afield. This flexibility can be particularly advantageous for those needing specific care, for instance, in orthopaedics or cardiology. However, do note that your choice of hospital will depend on which hospital list you choose - and opting for certain hospital lists will mean a higher premium. 

Quick screenings

When you develop worrying symptoms, quick screenings can help detect potential health issues before they become serious problems. However, many screenings usually available on the NHS - such as bowel screenings - have been backlogged due to COVID-19’s impact on the national health service. This means that if you develop troubling symptoms, you could end up waiting weeks or even months for a lifesaving screening. With health insurance, you can opt for these screenings in private facilities (although do note that health insurance doesn’t cover routine screenings).

This approach can be particularly beneficial for those over 50, as the risk for cancer - especially bowel cancer and colorectal cancer - increase substantially: in fact, more than 9 out of 10 new cases of bowel cancer (94%) are diagnosed in people over the age of 50.

The bottom line

While securing affordable private health insurance as a senior in the UK might seem like a daunting task, it's certainly achievable with the right resources and guidance. An insurance broker can be a valuable ally in this process, helping you navigate the landscape and find a policy that meets your needs without breaking your budget. With the right coverage, seniors can have peace of mind knowing that they have access to timely, high-quality healthcare when they need it most.


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