Best health cash plans in the UK

A health cash plan lets you manage routine healthcare costs and claim cashback for unexpected medical care. Our private healthcare experts regularly review the best health cash plans on the market. Here are our views on the best cash plans in the UK.

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1-minute read about health cash plans in the UK

What is a health cash plan?

A health cash plan is a type of insurance that can help you cover healthcare costs by paying cashback for things like dentist visits, opticians or physiotherapists. Cash plans typically cover you for routine, predictable healthcare expenses, although some do cover unforeseen costs, too. You pay a monthly premium, which is usually quite affordable and in return, get cashback towards some or all of the costs of specific healthcare services.

How is a cash plan different to private health insurance?

Private health insurance is primarily designed to cover you for unexpected and sometimes serious illnesses and injuries that may require hospital treatment or surgery. A cash plan, on the other hand, is a way to manage more predictable healthcare costs, like dentist appointments or eye examinations. Many private health insurers allow you to take out a cash plan alongside their core policies as cover for routine healthcare costs typically isn't included in their base products.

Benefits of a cash plan

The cost of routine healthcare, like dental check-ups, buying prescription medicines or having appointments with a physio, can add up. A cash plan is designed to help you meet these costs, so you don't have to worry about finding the money for the treatment when health issues or appointments arise.

Top 6 health cash plans in the UK

Here is a summary of the top six health cash plans you can currently buy in the UK (in alphabetical order). Please click to navigate to our detailed reviews.

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Expert reviews of the best cash plans you can buy in 2024

Our reviews give you a summary of what each health cash plan offers and the pros and cons.

When choosing health cash plans or a health insurance policy, it's wise to get advice from a broker to ensure you select the right plan for your circumstances.

BHSF

BHSF

BHSF are a not-for-profit organisation providing health cash plans to individuals and businesses. They're also the insurers behind Saga's over-50s health cash plan.

Their Healthy Choices health cash plan policy provides four levels of coverage: Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum and pays cashback for 100% of your dental and optical costs, prescription charges, flu vaccinations and various therapies. There are also fixed payments when you have a baby or spend a night in the hospital. A personal health cash plan can cover you and any children under 18, while their family health cash plan covers you, your partner and children as long as you all live at the same address. Individual annual cover limits are divided between your children, meaning the more children you have, the less you can claim per head.

Dental coverage includes all your check-ups, treatments and dentures, while optical cover includes check-ups, glasses, contact lenses, laser eye surgery and prescription sports goggles. There's also cover for dental and optical emergencies abroad, including buying new glasses. Therapies covered include physiotherapy, osteopathy, acupuncture, homoeopathy, reflexology and chiropractic treatment. If getting an appointment with your NHS GP has become a challenge, BHSF offers an online or telephone GP and prescription service.

There's a standard 13-week qualifying period from the policy's start date, plus a two-year exclusion period for hospital stays relating to pre-existing conditions. The person who treats you must be a qualified practitioner who meets the standards set out in the terms and conditions.

What we like:

  • Four levels of coverage with generous limits.
  • Anyone aged 16 and over can apply.
  • Individual plans include children as standard.
  • Good range of treatments.
  • Access to private online and telephone GP appointments and a private prescription service.
  • International coverage for emergency dental and optical care.

What we don't like:

  • Individual coverage limits are divided between all the children the policy covers.
  • Two-year exclusion for hospital stays for pre-existing medical conditions.

Trustpilot Reviews

BHSF has an outstanding 4.9* rating from 5,043 Trustpilot reviews. A wealth of positive reviews describe friendly customer service and quick claims processing.

Negative reviews primarily concern rejected claims, often due to misunderstandings of policy terms. It's difficult to assess whether unhappy customers lacked sufficient information or failed to read the fine print. BHSF is highly responsive to reviews, which is always a good sign.

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Hive logo

Hive

Hive's Bronze health cash plan was recommended by Money Saving Expert as a low-cost health cash plan. They offer four levels of coverage so you can tailor your cash plan to your needs and budget.

Dental cover includes dental check-ups and routine and emergency dental treatment. Optical cover includes eye tests, glasses and contact lenses. You can also claim cash back for physiotherapy, osteopathy, acupuncture and homoeopathy. If your GP refers you to a consultant or you're admitted to the hospital, you can also claim for your consultation, tests and each night of your hospital stay.

Hive's cash plan excludes pre-existing conditions and treatment for alcohol abuse and chronic illnesses.

You can claim as soon as you take out your cash plan. The only exception is the inpatient maternity or paternity payment, where you must have had a cash plan for at least ten months. We'll let you do the maths on that.

What we like:

  • Four cover levels.
  • Cover for seven different treatment categories.
  • Immediate cover for everything except the baby bonus.
  • You can add your children to your plan free of charge.
  • What we don't like:
  • Some cover is only available following a GP referral.

Reviews

Hive's third-party reviews give them a 4.3* rating from 240 reviews. Though they have yet to collect as many reviews as other providers we've reviewed, that's still a healthy score.

Their positive reviews mention friendly customer service and an efficient claims process. Negative reviews mention slow service, rejected claims, and sharp increases in the monthly premium.

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Simply Health Logo

Simply Health

Simply Health is an award-winning health benefits provider whose focus on social responsibility and environmental sustainability has earned it B-Corp status. The company doesn't have shareholders, meaning it reinvests profits in healthcare, customer service, and charitable work. Customers can make claims and access support via the SimplyPlan app.

Their 1-2-3 health cash plan provides three levels of policy coverage with transparent pricing. The plans pay cashback on dental check-ups and treatment, plus dentures, braces and gum shields. Optical cover includes eye tests, glasses, contacts and prescription sunglasses. Unusually, it'll also cover repairs. Some treatments, such as podiatry and reflexology, need a GP referral, presumably because the benefit includes consultations with a podiatric surgeon. However, you can claim for physiotherapy, acupuncture, osteopathy and chiropractic treatment without a referral.

The plan includes payments for hospital admissions, day-patient treatment and cashback on private or NHS prescription costs, including prepayment certificates.

You can access various support services, including 24/7 GP appointments and counselling. Their services also include physiotherapy assessment by video call. These aren't available 24/7 but offer extended hours and Saturday morning appointments so you can fit them around your other commitments. You need to see one of Simply Health's GPs for a referral, which suggests they don't accept referrals from NHS GPs.

Some cash plans now offer discounts and rewards in the same way as private health insurance providers. Simply Health provides cash plan customers with over 100 partner discounts on gym memberships, spa breaks, protein bars and outdoor clothing.

What we like:

  • Three cover levels with transparent pricing.
  • Profits reinvested in healthcare and customer service.
  • Good range of treatments.
  • Claims via the SimplyPlan app.
  • Option to add up to four children to your plan.
  • Cashback on prescription charges includes prepayment certificates.
  • Support services include online and telephone GP appointments, counselling and physiotherapy assessments.
  • Over 100 member benefits and discounts.

What we don't like:

  • No provision for NHS GP referrals.
  • No option to pay annually instead of monthly.

Trustpilot Reviews

Simply Health's 2,768 Trustpilot reviews give them an excellent 4.3* rating.

Their positive reviews mention the easy-to-use app, quick payments and friendly customer service.

Negative reviews discuss difficulties in cancelling, frustration with claim limits, and the need to claim online only. However, Simply Health is very responsive to reviews and provides customer support over the telephone where necessary.

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Sovereign Health Care Logo

Sovereign Healthcare

Sovereign Healthcare has just celebrated its 150th anniversary and prides itself on being friendly and honest in its approach to healthcare. They specialise in cash plans and offer five levels of coverage for an impressive range of treatments.

Sovereign's cash plan includes:

  • Dental check-ups, including x-rays, dental treatment and dentures.
  • Eye tests, glasses and contact lenses.
  • Prescription charges and vaccinations.
  • Hospital admissions, consultant appointments and diagnostic tests.
  • Physical therapy treatments include physiotherapy, osteopathy and sports massage.
  • Chiropody and podiatry
  • Alternative therapies include acupuncture, reflexology and homoeopathy.
  • Health screening.
  • A baby or adoption bonus.

That's an extensive list compared to other providers we've reviewed. For example, it covers sports massage, which many health cash plans don't. If you're a keen amateur athlete, it could help you save money on your regular expenses. Money Saving Expert recommends Sovereign for individuals and families likely to make many claims as they offer higher cover limits than other health cash plan providers.

They provide immediate coverage on some treatments with qualifying periods on others. There's a 6-month qualifying period for physical therapies, hospital admissions, and consultant appointments for anyone with a pre-existing condition. If you've had eye surgery, there's a 12-month qualifying period for optical cover. However, on the plus side, you can claim when you give birth or adopt a child when you've had the policy for six months, meaning you could be covered even if you're already pregnant when you take out your cash plan.

Your dependent children (up to 18) can also be covered for free, although they can't claim the baby bonus. Sovereign also offer a telephone helpline providing access to medical, legal, financial and consumer information, counselling and online support.

What we like:

  • Five levels of cover with high cover limits.
  • Coverage for an extensive range of treatments and therapies.
  • Free cover for children up to 18.
  • Baby bonus paid after six months.
  • Access to a telephone helpline and online support for various issues.

What we don't like:

  • Lengthy qualifying periods for pre-existing conditions.

Trustpilot Reviews

Sovereign has only collected ten reviews on Trustpilot, giving them a distinctly average score of 3.2*.

Positive reviews describe quick payment and prompt customer service. Negative reviews refer to a slow, confusing claims process and rejected claims because of missing documentation. However, customers also appear to misunderstand cover limits, and there's one potentially bogus review. With so few customer reviews, it isn't easy to get a clear picture.

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UK Healthcare

UK Healthcare specialises in health cash plans for individuals and businesses.

Their Every Day Cash Plan provides four levels of cover for everyday healthcare, including dental check-ups and treatments, eye care and tests, laser eye surgery, physiotherapy, complementary therapies, health screening and specialist consultations and tests. There's a fixed cash benefit for inpatient and day-patient care or for a parent to stay in the hospital with a child the policy covers. You can also claim money back for individual prescriptions, although not annual ones. As with other providers, there's a cash bonus when you give birth or adopt, but there's a 12-month qualifying period before you can claim. They promise to pay 100% of your costs, though they'll only pay 50% on treatment for children in some categories, including optical and dental care. The optical allowances cover two years, which you must remember when choosing your coverage level.

We were impressed by the additional cover and services UK Healthcare's cash plan provides. The plan covers accidental death and offers 28 days of international coverage when you travel. It also offers discounted gym memberships with partners including Nuffield Health, David Lloyd clubs and Puregym, so you'll likely find a gym in your area. Finally, there's a 24-hour helpline offering counselling and advice on health, legal issues and identity theft.

What we like:

  • Four coverage levels
  • Good range of treatments
  • Discounted gym memberships
  • Accidental death cover
  • 28 days international cover
  • 24-hour support helpline

What we don't like:

  • 12 month qualifying period for maternity benefit
  • No free coverage for children

Reviews

UK Healthcare has 1,701 customer reviews with an impressive 4.7* overall rating. Reviews mention quick and straightforward claims and speedy resolutions for disputed claims.

The negative reviews mainly focus on the dental plan and difficulties in claiming due to confusing terms and conditions. Several people mention issues due to receipts without a name, even when accompanied by a supporting invoice.

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Westfield Health

Westfield Health

Westfield Health's Good4you cash plan provides five levels of cover for everyday healthcare expenses, including routine dental, optical, physical therapy, prescription and chiropody costs. You can also claim for acupuncture, homoeopathy, and health screening.

You're free to use any practitioner that meets Westfield's qualification requirements. They promise to process online claims within 48 hours and accept an impressive 95% of correctly presented claims.

You can add your dependent children to the policy at no extra cost, although it's unclear what treatment's covered. The plan also pays a maternity or paternity bonus when you give birth or adopt. The plan includes cover for accidental injury or death. This may not provide the same level of coverage as life or income protection insurance, but it could help support you and your family in a crisis.

Policyholders can access video and telephone GP appointments 24 hours a day from anywhere worldwide. That's a real benefit if you need medical advice while on holiday or travelling for work. Call their 24-hour advice line to speak to a counsellor or get medical, legal or debt advice.

Westfield rewards and discounts include discounted gym memberships and offers and discounts with over 1,000 retailers, restaurants and destinations, which is outstanding and could help you reduce your day-to-day spending.

We're impressed by the Eldercare service, which provides support for policyholders caring for a relative aged 65 or over and is unique among health cash plans as far as we can tell. The telephone advice service offers emotional and practical support to carers, including help finding care providers and guidance on funding. They'll also provide up to 18 hours of care per year to support your partner or parent after they're discharged from the hospital.

What we like:

  • Five levels of cover.
  • Good range of treatments.
  • Free cover for dependent children.
  • No qualifying period.
  • Quick payments and high acceptance rate.
  • Online and telephone GP appointments and telephone helplines.
  • Eldercare service with support for carers.
  • Member discounts and offers.

What we don't like:

  • Limited information on coverage for children.

Trustpilot Reviews

Westfield Health has 839 third-party reviews on Trustpilot, giving them a 4.6* rating. Although they don't have as many reviews as some providers we've examined, their customers are undoubtedly impressed. They describe the service as 'faultless' and the claims process as quick and easy.

Negative reviews typically come from customers frustrated by coverage limits or who experienced difficulties submitting claims.

Get in touch

MyTribe's expert guides provide guidance on health insurance and health cash plans but aren't a substitute for specialist advice. Contact us for a comparison quote, and we'll connect you with a regulated broker for tailored advice.

Disclaimer: This information is general and what is best for you will depend on your personal circumstances. Please speak with a financial adviser or do your own research before making a decision.

Chris Steele
Cert CII (F1, IF7 & I10)
Founder and Editor

Chris is our resident private health insurance and healthcare expert and has over a decade's experience writing for and about private medical insurance and private treatment. He's a Cert CII qualified member of The Chartered Insurance Institute and his research and work are often cited in the press. Chris is also contributing writer to numerous other financial services publications.

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