Best Private Health Insurance UK - 2020 Reviews of the top insurers
Finding the best private health insurance in the UK is no mean feat, so 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.
In this article, we've reviewed the following companies and their leading polcies:
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 (best private health insurance uk) will focus on policy features and service levels.
The best private health insurance policy for you may well be different from those covered in this article, and you should always compare health insurance and speak to an independent broker before making a decision.
Choosing the best health insurance
Private 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 growing 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 and speaking to an insurance broker.
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.
Health insurance, which is often called private medical insurance is cover for a variety of health conditions and their treatment, both in hospital and as an outpatient.
The amount of cover you have will differ based on the insurer and policy you choose, alongside your budget of course. With the ever-increasing cost of private healthcare, comprehensive policies can be expensive, someone can 40s pay upwards of £50 per month. As you age, the cost of your policy will usually increase too, so getting a good deal to start with is vital.
Policies are customisable products
Health insurance is an extremely customisable product and you'll have lots of options and choice come the time you configure your policy. The downside of this is that the process of comparing policies can be complicated, which is why it is usually best to speak to an independent health insurance adviser.
Cancer cover tends to be central to most policies, but not everyone can afford it. Recognising this, insurers have created cancer cash plans, which pay out a lump sum rather for the total treatment of cancer. While this won't fit many people, it works for others and helps to keep the cost of policies down. The advantage of these types of policies is the cost, with a 35-year-old non-smoker expecting to pay as little as £15 per month for the maximum £60,000 cover.
Cash plans are another type of cover you can choose independently from your main policy or as well as. Cash plans typically cover the cost of minor and more regular treatments. These include paying for opticians, chiropodists and physios.
Many cash plans work as a percentage cashback policy, meaning they only pay between 50%-75% of the costs incurred. There's also often a limit to the amount you can claim each year for various treatments, so as always, check the terms and conditions before your sign up.
Cash plans are significantly cheaper than main policies, with MoneySavingExpert.com quoting cover of £26 per month in January 2020. It's important to weigh up the reduced cost versus the reduction in cover though, and it is important to remember that major hospital treatments won't be covered at all.
(We donate £1 to Cancer Research UK with every valid quote)
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 best private health insurance uk 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.
In this section of our best private health insurance uk article, we've looked at the 7 of the leading UK's health insurers and reviewing them on:
Policy quality and comprehensiveness
All of the providers covered in this article have at least one policy which has a 4 or 5* defaqto 2020 rating, this scoring is updated each year on the 2nd of February, so we'll revisit each provider's score in February 2021.
*There are multiple review platforms currently available, and we have sought out the ones who have the most reviews for the insurer in question.
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".
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.
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.
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.
Introduction to private health insurance from BUPA
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 Pru-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
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.
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.
Saga's health insurance is for the over 50's market and they have a range of policies. Their "Super" product range offers their best policies, covering both in and out-patient treatments as well as diagnostic procedures. Saga's HealthPlan Super, Super 4 and Super 6 all scored a defaqto score of 5 in February 2020.
Saga HealthPlan Super
With Saga you have access to a nationwide network of over 500 private hospitals and you have access to special services which are not available on the NHS such as speaking to a GP at any time, day or night. They offer policy options such as a 4-week wait, where you can reduce the cost of your premium by agreeing to be treated by the NHS if the waiting time is less than 4 weeks.
Saga has an enviable level of reviews on Trustpilot, scoring a 4.5 out of 5 with over 10,000 reviews.
Saga Policy Highlights:
Access to over 500 private hospitals nationwide
Outpatient consultations and treatment included as standard
Up to £2,500 of mental health treatment per annum
£2000 allowance per year for homoeopaths and acupuncturists
Second opinion service
Information regarding Saga taken from the Saga website and correct as of April 2020.
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