We've looked at the latest independent awards and customer reviews to create a list of the UK's best health insurance policies and providers in 2020.
Included in the list of the best health insurers:
You can compare quotes and prices from all of these providers with myTribe - Health insurance comparison made simple.
What is the best health insurance?
Broadly speaking, we would define the best health insurance as a comprehensive policy from a leading provider that covers both in and outpatient treatments, diagnostics and testing, with award-winning customer service and excellent customer reviews. While the price is, of course, an essential factor, this article will focus on policy features and service levels.
The best health insurance policy for you may well be different from those covered in this article, and you should always compare health insurance policies and speak to a qualified expert before making a decision.
How to choose the best health insurance
Health insurance is often one of the most critical insurance purchases an individual, couple or family can make - providing security that should someone become seriously unwell private healthcare in on hand.
There are a variety of reasons that people choose to buy health insurance. With the private medical insurance market growth in the UK, new products and health insurance companies are emerging, adding to the vast array of policies and associated options.
You can easily compare prices using a comparison site, such as our own. Still, it does pay research the companies behind the quotes, to best understand the value each represents.
All of the health insurance companies included in our reviews, scored well, however, to find the best policy for you, you should think about what you want from it, before comparing prices.
Some of the top-rated insurers may not have medical facilities or hospitals near to you, or their policies could be out of your price range. Fortunately, health insurance policies are incredibly flexible, so configuring something which fits your needs and budget is relatively straightforward.
Considerations when looking for health insurance:
- Do you require access to quicker diagnosis (outpatient)?
- Are there individual hospitals you'd like to be able to use?
- Are there any specific illnesses or drugs you would like cover for?
- What your budget is, bearing in mind the price will probably rise each year.
You can read our guide "how much does health insurance cost?" to find out more about policy pricing in general, or request a personalised comparison quote for accurate pricing.
Top 5 Health Insurance Companies in the UK (by market share)
Four health insurance companies dominate the UK market, with 90% share between them. The remaining 10% is split between several smaller or niche health insurance companies. This section of our article provides a brief overview of those four companies, along with a fifth who is experiencing growing demand.
Axa began as a company in 1940 and has for nearly 80 years been providing health insurance to their UK customers. Multi-award-winning, with a reputation for innovation, they are rightly one of the biggest insurers in the UK.
Founded in 1696, Aviva is the UK's biggest insurance company with over 15 million customers. They provide insurance for a variety of purposes, including health. As you might expect, they have won plenty of awards and recognition of excellence.
Bupa, a household name in the UK, was founded in 1947 and now has over 2.7 million health insurance customers. A provider of both insurance and private healthcare services, with a reputation for quality and customer care.
Vitality, formerly Pre-health, is an insurance and investment provider based in Bournemouth. They are shaking up the market by taking a fresh approach to health insurance, incentivising healthy living and rewarding those who keep active.
WPA isn't technically one of the biggest providers in the UK, but they are growing fast and starting to have a real foothold in the market. They provide health insurance to everyone from individuals and families, through to small and large businesses.
Best health insurance providers of 2020
In this section, we've looked at the 7 of the leading UK's health insurers and reviewing them on:
- Policy quality and comprehensiveness
- Customer reviews*
- Recent awards
All of the providers covered in this article have a 5* defaqto 2019 rating, this scoring is updated each year on the 2nd of February, so we'll revisit each provider's score in February 2020.
*There are multiple review platforms currently available, and we have sought out the ones who have the most reviews for the insurer in question.
You can compare prices from all of the UK's leading providers with myTribe and get free independent advice before you choose a policy too.
Axa PPP was founded in 1940 by a group of hospitals and doctors to help middle-income earners access expert medical care. With over 33,500 consultants and practitioners and 250 hospitals in their directory, they are the second largest provider of private medical insurance in the UK.
Axa PPP Personal Health
Axa offers a variety of policy options, from their core cover which is inpatient only, through to standard and full outpatient cover, all under their heading of "Personal Health". As with the other insurers on our list, their private medical insurance has 5* Defaqto rating as of February 2019, we'll check back in February 2020 to see if this has been updated.
In terms of health insurance policy options and comprehensiveness, Axa is right up there as one of the best. Their Core cover provides an excellent level of baseline protection. For those wishing to have speedier diagnosis and treatment, you can upgrade to their standard or full outpatient cover.
Axa collects reviews from its customers via Feefo and in 2019 won their "Trusted Service Award". Based on 375 reviews in the past year, 313 have been 5 stars, 45 have been 4-star and only 11 have been 2 or 1 star. Looking at these numbers, it is easy to see why Axa PPP has won Feefo's Trusted Service Award.
Other recent awards:
Yourmoney.com - Best Direct Healthcare Provider 2019
Axa PPP Policy highlights:
- Speedy access to diagnosis and treatment
- Access to more than 250 hospitals and over 34,000 specialists
- Extensive heart and cancer cover and care
- Telephone support from a team of dedicated heard and cancer nurses
- No yearly limit on outpatient surgery
- Consult with a GP through your smartphone or laptop with Doctor@Hand
- Speak to a Working Body physio over the phone without a GP referral
- Use Fast Track Appointments to see a consultant quickly
- Get a second opinion if there's something you're not sure about
- Free cover on your plan for new-borns until your renewal date
Information relating to Axa PPP taken from the AXA PPP website and correct as of January 2020.
Get a quote for an Axa PPP Policy
Axa PPP is one of the many providers myTribe goes out to for each client and to get your free quote, please visit our health insurance comparison page.
BUPA is perhaps the best-known provider of health insurance in the UK, becoming synonymous with the service they provide. Their health insurance offering in the UK is called Bupa By You, which is a flexible product that can be configured to your requirements.
Similarly to the other insurers in this list, BUPA has a 5-star 2019 Defaqto rating for their health insurance, and we'll report back in February as to whether this gets updated for 2020.
Concerning policy comprehensiveness and quality, BUPA leads with their comprehensive health insurance, which covers both in and outpatient treatment and diagnosis. Yes, you can get coverage where you are diagnosed on the NHS and treated privately via BUPA. Still, their suggestion is that you'd be better off having the full cover. While this may seem somewhat presumptuous, we think it shows that BUPA understands what its clients want and encourages people to go entirely private to avoid delays on the NHS.
BUPA collects reviews using Trustpilot and currently has a 4.5 out of 5-star rating and are classified as "Excellent". Bearing in mind the size of BUPAs customer based we think this is incredibly impressive and a testament to the levels of cover and service they provide.
Bupa Policy highlights:
- Faster diagnosis and treatment of major illnesses
- Receive access to breakthrough cancer drugs and therapies
- See a GP usually within two hours in the comfort of your own home with Digital GP
- 24/7 Healthline available for you to speak to a qualified nurse or doctor if you have any health concerns
- A cancer promise, where BUPA will pay for any eligible cancer costs in full, subject to T&Cs.
- Mental health support and the ability to speak to a trained advisor and in some cases, a councillor.
- A choice of three hospital lists to give you greater flexibility over where you are treated.
- Get discounts to popular restaurants and shops with 2-for-1 tickets to major UK attractions.
Information relating to BUPA has been taken from the BUPA website and correct as of January 2020.
Get a quote for a BUPA Policy
We include BUPA in every quote we process at myTribe as they are one of the UK's leading providers. To compare health insurance, please click the link to visit our dedicated page.
Aviva's health insurance product is called Healthier Solutions which offers prompt private medical treatment through a nationwide network of hundreds of hospitals. Like the other providers in this list, Aviva's Healthier Solutions has a 5-star defaqto rating for 2019, demonstrating the excellent level of cover they provide.
Aviva Healthier Solutions
In terms of how comprehensive their health insurance policies are, Aviva provides full outpatient cover as well as the standard inpatient protection. You can adjust your cover in many ways, such as adding routine dental and optical treatments or by changing your hospital list to reduce the cost. We would describe Aviva's offering as a flexible healthcare solution which can be tailored to almost anyone's requirements.
The only reviews we can find for Aviva are on Trustpilot, where it scores a miserly 1.5 out of 5 stars. It should be noted though, that this is for the company as a whole and isn't specifically for its health insurance offering.
In stark contrast to the negative reviews, Aviva won multiple awards at the Health Insurance Awards 2018, for "Company of the Year", "Best Individual PMI Service Provider" and "Best Customer Service Provider."
Aviva Policy Highlights:
- Access to hundreds of nationwide private hospitals
- Outpatient consultations and treatment included as standard
- 24-hour stress counselling helpline
- 25% gym membership discount
- Couples pay less
- Younger children can be added for free
- Flexible policies which can be tailored to your budget and requirements
Information regarding Aviva taken from the Aviva website and correct as of January 2020.
Get a quote for an Aviva Policy
If you would like a quote for an Aviva policy or any of the providers listed in this article, please click this link to compare health insurance.
Vitality (formerly Pre-Health)
Vitality provides both life and health insurance, this part of our article focuses purely on their health insurance product called Personal Healthcare. Once again, Vitalities health insurance offering scores an impressive 5-star defaqto rating for 2019. We will update this article once 2020 ratings become available in February.
Vitality - Personal Healthcare
Vitality is often described as an innovative provider of private health insurance as they have brought new ideas to the market, such as rewarding those who keep active. Their Core cover includes both in and day-patient cover, plus out-patient surgical procedures.
Vitality enjoy a 4.5 out of 5 star score on Trustpilot and are rated as excellent. As five times winners of Moneyfacts “Best Private Medical Insurance Provider” award, you can be sure that Vitality are committed to delivering the highest levels of customer service.
Vitality Policy Highlights:
- High levels of customer satisfaction from an innovative provider
- Excellent cancer cover included as standard
- 24/7 private GP helpline
- Talking therapies included
- Receive discounts on a large number of healthy lifestyle activities
Information regarding Vitality taken from the Vitality website and correct as of January 2020.
Get a quote for a Vitality Policy
If you would like a quote for a Vitality policy or any of the providers listed in this article, please click this link to compare health insurance.
Health-On-Line is a relatively new health insurance company which started in 2000 to provide a new approach to the market. Since then it has grown significantly, resulting in it being acquired by AXA, albeit still trading under its brand name.
Health-on-line’s health insurance service aims to give you more control over your policy and your health. You get a dedicated account manager, 24/7 nurses helpline, and you can manage your account, as you would hope, online.
Health-on-line Personal Health and inSpire
With access to over 200 quality assessed hospitals via the Axa PPP network, Health-on-line can provide excellent nationwide coverage. As with other providers, you can build a plan around your specific circumstances, including a bespoke hospital list.
Health-on-line policy highlights:
- Comprehensive medical cover with over 250 UK hospitals
- Access more than 24,000 specialists nationwide
- 24/7 nurse hotline
- Cancer cover included in both Personal Health and inSpire plans
- Up to three specialist consultations per year
Information relating to Health-on-line taken from their website and correct as of January 2020.
Get a quote for a Health-on-line Insurance policy
If you would like a quote for a Health-on-line policy or any of the providers listed in this article, please click this link to compare health insurance.
Freedom Health Insurance
Freedom Health Insurance was established in 2003 and is a specialist provider of Private Medical Insurance. Being that they only offer health insurance, they are dedicated to the provision of first-class private medical protection.
Freedom's best level of protection is their Freedom Elite product, which gives you comprehensive in and outpatient cover. Medical costs are settled directly with the hospital, and the whole plan can be tailored to your requirements.
Freedom Elite is by its nature a comprehensive, high-quality policy, with cover even for alternative therapies such as homoeopathy and podiatry as an optional extra. It includes full cancer cover, with oncology tests, surgery and treatment as standard. Psychiatric cover is an additional extra as is access to a private GP, Dentist and Optician.
Freedom health insurance is another provider that collects reviews on Feefo, but at present only has 13, with an average score of 4.2 out of 5. Hopefully, in time more reviews will be added, and we will check back when we next update this article.
Freedom health insurance policy highlights:
- Medical treatment costs settled directly with the hospital
- Full inpatient annual benefit
- Health insurance tailored to your requirements
- No increase in renewal premium for making claims
- Cancer cover as standard
- Optional psychiatric and alternative therapies cover
- Optional virtual GP and routine dental and optical cover
Information relating to Freedom Health Insurance taken from their website and correct as of January 2020.
Get a quote for a Freedom Health Insurance policy
If you would like a quote for a Freedom Health Insurance policy or any of the providers listed in this article, please click this link to compare health insurance.
WPA are a smaller but growing health insurance company that provides individual and family health insurance policies. Innovatively, WPA have introduced the multi-family policy, which allows you to create a plan which covers both your immediate and extended family.
WPA Flexible Health and Multi-Family Healthcare
WPA’s Flexible Health product gives you the ability to choose from three levels of cover, Essentials, Premier and Elite. Seeing as we are interested in the best health insurance, we’re going to focus on their Elite offering which includes full in and outpatient cover.
There aren’t a huge number of reviews available for WPA at present and those that there are aren’t hugely positive. On Trustpilot WPA is currently rated at 3.2 and “Average”. Such a small number of reviews isn’t often an accurate representation of a company and we would urge people to judge for themselves.
WPA health insurance policy highlights:
- Extensive cover with a significant hospital list
- Full outpatient cover on their Elite plan
- Unlimited annual benefit limit on their Elite plan
Information relating to WPA taken from their website and correct as of January 2020.
Get a quote for a WPA Health Insurance policy
If you would like a quote for a WPA policy or any of the providers listed in this article, please click this link to compare health insurance.