Couple's Health Insurance - Joint Medical Protection (2024 Guide)

Kirsty France
Personal Finance and Healthcare Expert
Kirsty is a personal finance and healthcare expert who enjoys demystifying legal and insurance topics for a wider audience. She’s a former solicitor with a personal injury and insurance background.
Kirsty France
Reviewed by
Chris Steele
Founder and Editor
Cert CII (F1, IF7 & I10)
Chris is our resident private health insurance and healthcare expert. He has over a decade of experience writing about private medical insurance and treatment. He's Chartered Insurance Institute qualified and is regularly quoted by the national press.
Chris Steele
Reviewed by
Updated on
May 8, 2024

Private health insurance for couples, often called joint private medical insurance gives you and your partner access to the UK’s private healthcare providers in the event either of you should need it. While in the past there was no financial incentive for taking out a joint policy, in recent years some providers have started to offer discounts for couples.

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What is couple’s health insurance?

Couple’s health insurance is a type of private medical insurance that allows two individuals who live together to take out a combined policy. Much the same as an individual policy, couples health insurance will give you access to private health care services in the UK, with the level of access determined by the level of cover you opt for. 

Is it cheaper to get a joint private medical insurance policy?

A question we’re often asked is whether it is cheaper to get a joint health insurance policy versus two individual policies. While in the past there was no financial incentive for couples to take out a joint private medical insurance policy, in recent years providers have started to offer small discounts when you apply with your partner. 

In addition to the financial benefits of having a joint policy, by applying together you’ll reduce your own admin and paperwork, especially around renewal time each year. Finally, another significant benefit of a couple’s health insurance policy is that it will be easier to convert to a family policy, should you wish to add children to it in the future.

Joint policies can sometimes cost more

In certain circumstances, you may find that a joint policy ends up costing more than two individual ones. That’s because if you and the other person on the policy are quite different in terms of medical history, and age, it may be cheaper to have you with different insurers, rather than the same one. 

Benefits of joint private medical insurance

The benefits of joint private medical insurance are pretty much identical to two individual health insurance policies, with the added advantage of reduced admin and discounts from certain providers.

  • Both you and your partner can avoid potential delays on NHS waiting lists
  • You’ll both have access to the latest drugs and treatments, some of which aren’t available on the NHS
  • You can choose where you and your partner are treated and when
  • You’ll receive more choice over the consultant that treats you
  • You could save money by taking out a policy together
  • You’ll have less admin and be able too easily switch to a family policy

Who can get joint private medical insurance?

In the UK, as long as you are cohabiting with another person then you can get Joint Private Medical Insurance, rather than two separate private health insurance policies. So you don’t need to be married, just officially living together. If you and your partner don’t live with each other but would like to take out a policy together, then you should look at taking out a family health insurance policy.

What does couples health insurance cover?

Couple’s health insurance will cover at a minimum the cost of inpatient treatment where an overnight stay in hospital is required to treat acute conditions. Chronic conditions, i.e. those which can’t be cured, such as diabetes and asthma won’t be covered on your policy. If you are suffering from a chronic condition, it won’t necessarily mean you can’t get a policy, it’ll just mean that the condition will be excluded. 

Inpatient treatment

All joint health insurance policies will cover the cost of treatment in a private hospital where an overnight stay is required (inpatient). This could be to recover from a major operation or a treatment which is provided over the course of several days.

Day patient treatment

Most, but not all, joint health insurance policies will cover the costs of you occupying a hospital bed for just a day, with no overnight stay required. It could be that you’ve undergone minor surgery for instance and need a bed just for a few hours of observations.

Outpatient treatment

Outpatient treatment is any test, procedures or consultations which don’t require a hospital bed. When configuring your policy you can opt to have no outpatient treatment, cover up to a certain annual cash value or full outpatient insurance.

Diagnosis and treatment routes

Depending on the amount of cover you have and how comprehensive your policy is, yours and your partner’s route to treatment will be slightly different. To illustrate this, we’ve outlined the two most common routes to treatment.

Inpatient only treatment route

If you only have cover for inpatient treatment, you will need to be diagnosed through the NHS first. That could mean your treatment is delayed if you find yourself on a waiting list for a certain test or consultation.

It’s important to point out that if you do find things are going too slowly on the NHS (and you have some savings), you could choose to pay yourself for the private tests and consultations.  

Route to treatment for basic health insurance policies:

  1. See your NHS GP
  2. Be referred to an NHS specialist
  3. Get tested on the NHS
  4. Receive a diagnosis by the NHS
  5. Referral to private healthcare for treatment

Full outpatient cover treatment route

If you have full outpatient cover it will mean that everything aside from the initial GP visit will be done privately.

Route to treatment for comprehensive insurance policies:

  1. See your NHS GP
  2. Be referred to a private specialist
  3. Get tested privately
  4. Receive a diagnosis privately
  5. Receive treatment privately

How much does joint health insurance cost?

Joint health insurance policies will typically cost around the same per person as if you had set up two individual health insurance policies, less a discount of approx. 5% depending on your provider. Although it may seem counterintuitive, it can actually be cheaper and more beneficial to set up two separate policies with different providers, rather than starting a joint policy. During your call with one of our advisers, we’ll look at yours and your partner’s circumstances and medical history and advise on which route will be best for you both.

Which insurers offer discounts for couple’s health insurance?

Currently the only provider that offers a discount for joint health insurance policies is Bupa, with a 5% discount for the first year of the policy. That doesn’t mean that Bupa will be the cheapest for you and your partner however, and you should still compare policies before you buy to make sure you’re getting the best deal.

Can unmarried couples be on the same health insurance?

Yes, as long as you’re living with your partner you’ll be able to get a couple's health insurance. In fact, even if you aren’t living together you may be able to get a family policy together. To see which is the best fit for you and your partner, please request a quote in the first instant. 

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.

This article was written by:
Kirsty France
Personal Finance and Healthcare Expert

Kirsty is a personal finance and healthcare expert who enjoys demystifying legal and insurance topics for a wider audience. She’s a former solicitor with a personal injury and insurance background.

Article reviewed by
Chris Steele
08 May 2024

Frequently Asked Questions

How much is health insurance for a couple?

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The cost of health insurance for a couple will largely be the same as it would be if those two people took out single health insurance policies from the same insurer. That said, certain providers such as Bupa are now beginning to offer a discount to couples.

What are the benefits of joint health insurance?

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The primary benefit of taking out a joint policy is that you reduce the amount of paperwork you need to keep track of. It’ll also reduce the complexity of reviewing the policy each year. As we’ve mentioned in this article, insurers are also starting to offer discounts for couples, so you could also save some money by taking out a policy together.

What conditions will a joint health insurance policy cover?

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A joint health insurance policy won’t cover you and your partner for every medical procedure and condition. You should check your policy terms and conditions for specific exclusions. For example, some policies may not cover:

  • Pre-existing conditions
  • Chronic conditions
  • Outpatient treatment
  • Diagnostic tests

If you do have a pre-existing condition, it’s worth remembering that some policies will insure you as long as you’ve had no symptoms for five years.

To find the best policy and cover for your circumstances it always pays to speak to a professional health insurance broker.

Will we both need medical checks?

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You and your partner won’t necessarily have to have a medical exam to take out a joint health insurance policy, however you will be asked questions about:

  • Your lifestyle and habits
  • Whether you are a smoker / drinker
  • Have any pre-existing medical conditions
  • Your current health and medical history

Your health insurance broker will be able to walk you through all of this and more before you apply for a policy to ensure you get the right level of cover.

My partner has a pre-existing medical condition, will this affect my cover?

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The cost of the policy will likely be affected if one of you has a pre-existing medical condition, but your own level of cover shouldn’t be affected. In this instance, we’d strongly recommend speaking to an independent broker as it may be more prudent to take out separate policies.

Can we start a policy while my partner is pregnant?

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Yes, you can start a joint health insurance policy while your partner is pregnant, but please be aware, routine pregnancy won’t be covered by your policy. There are some pregnancy related complications which will be covered by some policies, but you should refer to your policy information to see if they are included in yours.

How do we choose which policy is right for us?

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Choosing the right policy is simple, request a quote and our FCA approved advisers will scour the market for you and report back with the best deals and importantly, the right policy for your needs.

Can you get health insurance with a pre-existing condition?

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Yes, you can get health insurance with a pre-existing condition, although it is likely that condition will be excluded from the policy. If you don’t experience any symptoms from that condition for a two year period, most insurers will allow it to be covered in the future.

Can my wife/husband and I have separate health insurance policies?

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Yes, you can. In certain circumstances, it is actually cheaper to have separate policies, with you both being with different insurers to get the best prices for you individually.

Is health insurance cheaper if you’re married?

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No. Whether you are married or cohabiting with your partner makes no difference to the cost of health insurance.

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