Best private healthcare insurance companies:
In this guide, we've reviewed the following companies and their leading policies:
- Axa PPP - Personal Health
- Bupa - Comprehensive
- Aviva - Healthier Solutions
- Freedom Health Insurance - Elite (Individual and family cover)
- WPA - Flexible Health - Premier and Elite or Multi-Family Healthcare
- Vitality - Personal Healthcare
- Saga - Health Plan Super and Health Plan Super 4
What is the best private health insurance?
Broadly speaking, we would define the best private 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 is on hand.
There are a variety of reasons that people choose to buy private 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 insurers behind the quotes, to best understand the value each represents.
All of the private 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, private health insurance policies are incredibly flexible, so configuring something which fits your needs and budget is relatively straightforward.
Considerations when looking for private 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.
Types of private health insurance in the UK
Private 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 private 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.