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7 Minutes
Last updated
December 8, 2020

What is family health insurance?

Family health insurance, often referred to as private medical insurance (PMI), provides you and those closest to you with access to the UK’s private healthcare services.

  • Benefits of family health insurance
  • You and your loved will be treated at a time that suits you
  • Avoid potentially long delays on NHS waiting lists
  • Access to the latest treatments and drugs, even those not currently available on the NHS
  • Overnight accommodation for parents whose children (that are covered by the policy) are admitted for inpatient treatment.

What does family private health insurance cover?

Family private health insurance will only cover the cost of acute conditions, meaning those which are short term and curable, and not long term, incurable chronic conditions. As each provider, their policies and cover are different, it’s always best to speak to one of our specialists and get free advice on which provider will be best for you before making a decision.

Inpatient cover

All family health insurance policies will cover the cost of treatment where a hospital bed is needed. Basic health insurance policies will often only offer inpatient cover, while more comprehensive policies will cover outpatient services too.

Outpatient cover

Outpatient cover pays for some or all of the costs relating to acute conditions that don’t require a hospital bed. The most comprehensive policies will typically cover you for all of your outpatient diagnosis, consultations and treatments.

What is not covered by family private health insurance?

What isn’t included under your family's health insurance will vary from between each provider and their policies, but consistently you’ll find that the following aren’t included in your cover

  • Pre-existing conditions
  • Chronic conditions
  • GP services
  • Emergency services
  • Normal pregnancy


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How much does UK family health insurance cost?

There are many factors that will affect the cost of your family's health insurance, from your age and medical history through to your chosen level of cover and hospital list. Broadly speaking, a family of four, with two adults and two children under ten can expect to pay anywhere from £800 - £2,000 per year. As you get older your premiums will increase, but it is always worth checking with us at medical insurance renewal time to see if another provider might be able to offer you a better deal.

Choosing the right family healthcare policy

When choosing the best private healthcare policy for your family there are several key considerations that you should bear in mind:

Do you require access to quicker diagnosis?

Outpatient diagnostics and consultations aren’t usually included on basic policies, so if you’re keen to avoid potential delays of being assessed through the NHS, you’d be best to consider a more comprehensive policy.

Better or more convenient hospitals and treatments

Every provider and policy will have a different list of hospitals and treatments that are available, so it’s important to consider those when choosing your policy. For instance, you’ll probably want to make sure that private hospitals that are local to you are included.

Cover for specific illnesses or drugs

Are there certain illnesses which your family are more predisposed to? If so you’ll want to make sure they are covered in your policy. Equally, if you want access to the latest drugs, you’ll need to make sure they’re included? Don't fret, our friendly support staff have you covered.

Affordability today and tomorrow

It’s always important to make sure that your health insurance is affordable, not just today, but in the future too. With premiums typically rising each year as you and your family age, the last thing you want is for your health insurance to become unaffordable.

Best family health insurance companies

Here we are showcasing the best five family health insurance companies in the UK. All of these are household names that allow for policies to be tailored to families’ needs.

Bupa Family Health Insurance

Bupa is a household name having been established for over 60 years. They provide two primary types of plans for families, Comprehensive (full in and outpatient care) and Treatment & Care (inpatient only). Regardless of which plan you choose, mental health cover is included as standard.

Aviva Family Health Insurance

Aviva provides health insurance through their Healthier Solutions product which can be tailored to your budget and requirements. Aviva’s family cover allows you to pay for the eldest child under 20 years of age and then all other children under 20 will be covered for free.

Vitality Family Health Insurance

Vitality has created an innovative approach to health insurance with their Vitality plan, which rewards you will points and reduced premiums for healthy living. This approach places emphasis on healthy living and illness prevention rather than just focusing on cure.

Axa PPP Family Health Insurance

Axa PPP’s enhanced family care provides a range of benefits and can be customised to suit your families’ requirements.

The Exeter Family Health Insurance

The Exeter Family Friendly is a mutual society with over 60,000 members. Their health insurance policy is known as The Exeter Health+, which like Bupa includes mental health cover as standard.

Freedom Health Insurance

Freedom Health Insurance is a smaller provider based in Bournemouth, providing a much more personal approach to health insurance.

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Frequently asked questions about family health insurance

Why should I get family health insurance?

Family health insurance provides a number of benefits which broadly are:

  • Avoid potential delays on NHS waiting lists, for both diagnosis and treatment.
  • Choose your specialist, hospital and when you are treated
  • Access new drugs and treatments, some of which won’t yet be available on the NHS
  • Receive faster access to mental health and physiotherapy services

Depending on the insurer you may have other benefits too, such as discounted gym membership, free cinema tickets, amongst others.

Do I need family health insurance?

Unfortunately, as we all know, the NHS is under a huge amount of strain and targets for routine operations and even more, serious conditions are being missed. As such, family health insurance is becoming less of a luxury and more mainstream among UK families.

‍We go out to all of the leading health insurance providers on your behalf and will come back to you with recommendations based on your family’s specific requirements. We don’t charge for our service and the price you’ll get is the same as you’d get as going direct.

How much is family health insurance?

There are many factors which will affect the cost of your family’s health insurance premium, these include things such as your age, medical history, through to the number of people on the policy and your level of cover. As a broad estimate, a family four, with two adults and two children who are both under 10, can expect to pay anywhere from £800 to £2000 per year. This is just an example though and we would suggest that you contact us to get a free quotation based on your specific requirements.

Which is the best private health insurance for families in the UK?

All of the leading providers have their own benefits and which is best for you will depend on your family's circumstances and requirements.

What’s not included in family health insurance?

Different providers of family medical insurance will cover different things, but broadly speaking you can expect the following to be excluded from most policies:

  • Pre-existing conditions
  • Chronic conditions (i.e. not curable)
  • Normal pregnancy
  • Emergency service
  • GP Services (although some insurers are now providing virtual GP services)

Where can I compare family health insurance?

While there are a number of online comparison websites you can use, you will likely find the information they provide is fairly difficult to digest. That’s why we always recommend speaking to a health insurance specialist such as ourselves. You’ll still get the same price as you would by going direct, but with the added benefit of having free advice on choosing the right policy for your family.

How can I reduce the cost of family health insurance?

There are a number of ways you could reduce the cost of family health insurance, but we would always recommend speaking to make sure you aren’t sacrificing cover that you may well need. Some of the ways you could reduce the cost are:

  • Switching to full medical underwriting
  • Switching to a new insurer
  • Changing the level of cover on the policy
  • Increasing the excess
  • Reducing the number of people on the policy

These are just examples of course and when you speak to us we will be able to review your individual requirements to find the best solution.

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