Health Insurance doesn’t have to be expensive. It’s a common misconception for many people that a health insurance policy is out of reach for them financially. Here at Usay Compare, we believe there is a policy to suit everyone’s budget, you just need to find the perfect one to suit you. Our expert advisers are on the end of the phone to offer free advice and do all the hard work for you. To speak to one of them, just hit the button below and fill in the short form.
First and foremost, it is important to understand what health insurance is and how it works. Also known as Private Health Insurance, Private Medical Insurance or PMI, Health Insurance is an insurance policy, which covers the cost of private healthcare.
It does not compete with the NHS; it complements it to achieve reduced waiting times and access to additional treatments and medications. It makes the whole process more comfortable with choice over hospitals and consultants and access to private en-suite rooms instead of wards.
As with any insurance, different policies are available. Benefits such as outpatient care and physiotherapy can be included or not, depending on the cover you require and the budget available.
Different insurers and policies will be able to provide more cost-effective policies for some than others.
All Health Insurance policies are intended to cover acute conditions. These are things that are treatable and can be recovered from, such as cancer or a joint replacement. A low cost policy would typically include the 'core cover' without the optional extras which cost more. Usually most policies include the following within their core cover:
Opting for just the basic core cover will usually be the cheapest option, but most companies offer optional extras individually, so you can add on only what is important to you. Optional extras usually include the following:
Health Insurance is not intended for covering emergencies or chronic conditions. Chronic conditions are long term illnesses which you won’t recover from, such as asthma or arthritis. Typical things which are not regularly covered by a health insurance policy are:
Some policies and insurers will suit your individual requirements and circumstances better than others. We often find we can improve upon a customer’s existing policy price, whilst maintaining the same level of cover, just by finding a policy that suits them better. The options with health insurance are extensive. This is great for ensuring you have a bespoke policy to suit your exact requirements, but it can make all the options a little confusing. The best place to start is always with some expert advice.
There are two key things which affect policy price:
Your circumstances are things you are unlikely to be able to change, such as your address, your age and any previous or existing conditions.
Older people are more likely to require healthcare treatments and claim on a policy, therefore they are seen as more of a risk to an insurer. Policies tend to be more expensive the older you are because of this. They will increase fairly significantly for the over 50s.
Where you live can have a big impact on price. Sometimes this can be attributed to the insurers seeing higher than average claims in your area historically. Alternatively it could relate to the hospitals you have access to in your area. Different insurers will place a different emphasis on location than others when calculating premiums - it is always worth discussing with one of our advisers. London hospitals are notorious for being more expensive. But if you aren’t living in London, you can reduce the cost of premiums by choosing a hospital list which doesn’t include London hospitals.
Current Health Status
Your BMI, whether you smoke, pre-existing conditions and previous treatments can all be considered when calculating your premiums. You can use this to your advantage with some companies though; by tracking your healthy habits to earn rewards and reduce your premiums. Smokers will pay considerably more for a policy than a non-smoker. Pre-existing conditions can be handled differently depending on the underwriting you choose – more about this below.
Your chosen level of cover is the main factor for finding low cost private Health Insurance. There are a number of changes you can make to a policy to reduce the cost.
The most significant is to opt for a ‘basic’ Health Insurance policy in the first place. Insurance companies sometimes offer different policy products, often including a basic package. For example Bupa offer their ‘Bupa by you’ health insurance and they also offer their more basic ‘Bupa fundamentals’ package. Other companies just offer one product, but make it very customizable
Basic policies will usually include cover for inpatient treatment (everything which requires a hospital bed), but less or no outpatient treatment (treatment and diagnosis that doesn’t require a hospital bed).
Increased Voluntary Excess
A policy excess is the pre-determined initial amount you agree to pay towards a claim. So, for example if you had treatment worth £3000 and you had a £200 excess on the policy, you would pay £200 towards the treatment and your insurer would pay the £2800.
In some cases, you’re not required to have an excess, so you wouldn’t have anything to pay when you claim. Sometimes insurers can insist upon a ‘compulsory excess’ - the minimum amount they require. There is also what is known as ‘voluntary excess’. This is an additional amount which you agree you are comfortable to cover in the instance you need to make a claim on the policy. The more you can increase the excess the more you will be able to reduce your premiums. Obviously in the event you were to make a claim, you would pay more at that point with a higher excess. But if you would prefer to lower monthly premiums, but still the reassurance that big, expensive treatments would be covered; this can be a great option. Different insurers offer different excess options, for example:
Bupa – £0, £100, £150, £200, £250, £500
Aviva - £100, £200, £500, £1,000, £3,000, £5,000
AXA - £100, £250, £500, £1000, £2500, £5,000
Six Week Option
Another option for those whose primary concern is avoiding long waiting lists is to opt for what’s known as a ‘six-week option’. This means that any condition you have which the NHS will treat within six weeks, you can go ahead and receive treatment on the NHS. If they are unable to offer treatment within this time-frame, you can rely on your Health Insurance policy to step up and cover treatment privately, so you don’t have to wait. Waiting times for non-emergency treatments on the NHS aims to be less than 18 weeks, but plenty wait much longer.
Reduced Hospital List
Every Health Insurance policy includes a hospital list, which outlines all the hospitals you can access treatment in with your plan. The treatments themselves can be priced very differently depending on which hospital and where in the country. London hospitals can be particularly expensive and policies with hospital lists including London hospitals will therefore be more expensive. If you don’t live in London, you are unlikely to want to use their facilities, so could be paying for them unnecessarily. Some insurers subsequently offer the option of a reduced hospital list which can reduce your premium.
The most important thing when purchasing Health Insurance is to understand that you have the best value product for you. Our advisers are always on the end of the phone to help you decipher the best policy for your requirements and find it at the best price.
Here at Usay Compare, we can help you to compare prices and cover from the market leading UK Health and Life Insurance companies such as Aviva, AXA and Bupa. Our service is completely free of charge and we are totally independent and impartial.
Our unparalleled team of friendly, expert advisers are on the end of the phone, ready to guide you easily through the whole process. They will get to know your unique individual requirements, do all the hard work comparing prices and policies for you; then advise on the best and most cost-effective quote.
Below are our in-depth guides to help you decipher the various Health Insurances available and learn more about how they work. Don't forget our advisers are always at the end of the phone to offer free, expert advice should you prefer to speak to someone in person.
For expert reviews of the top UK Health Insurance companies, click below.
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