We all want to use our wealth to improve our quality of life. For high-net-worth individuals, investing in health insurance provides quick access to high-quality private healthcare when you need it most. Here's our guide to health insurance for high-net-worth individuals.
It's common for high-net-worth individuals to have an existing health insurance policy, so you might feel you have all the coverage you need. However, perhaps your circumstances have changed, or you're wondering whether you could get a better deal on your health plan elsewhere.
There are several reasons you might decide to review your health insurance; here are a few points you may need to consider.
If you've earned your wealth by climbing to the top of your profession, likely, you'll also have experienced the benefits of a company health insurance policy.
However, if you're an employee leaving your current role or retiring, you'll also lose the benefits of that insurance. Group health insurance products are only available to businesses and come with benefits such as medical history regarded underwriting, which is one of the most expensive underwriting options.
It's unlikely that you'll be able to retain your existing insurance. If you can, the premiums will likely be prohibitive, even for a high-net-worth individual.
If you already have an individual health insurance policy, you may be happy with the service you've received from your insurance company. However, your premiums will rise as you age, and even high-net-worth individuals can start to feel the pinch.
You may also want to discover whether you can find insurance with the same benefits and services at a lower cost. Reviewing your health insurance lets you consider your options and find coverage that suits your needs.
If you don't currently have health insurance, this may be because you've always been satisfied with the care you've received from the NHS.
However, if you're concerned about increasing NHS waiting lists, you may feel that it's time to use your wealth to provide you and your family with access to private healthcare.
Speaking to a health insurance broker will allow you to consider your options and find the right coverage for your circumstances.
If you've never taken out an individual health insurance policy before, you may wonder what factors will affect the cost of your premiums. Each insurance company has their own approach; however, here are some factors they'll consider.
Your circumstances can affect the likelihood that you'll make a claim. The risk that you'll experience ill health increases as you age, so the cost of your premiums will rise as well.
Where you live may also influence the cost, although some insurers' quotes aren't postcode dependent.
If you already have health insurance, insurers will examine your claims history. If you haven't, they may look at your medical history, depending on your chosen underwriting.
Different health insurance policies include various benefits and services along with coverage that can be tailored to suit your specific needs. Your coverage choices will influence the cost of your insurance.
You can choose to pay your premiums monthly, quarterly or annually. Insurers typically offer a discount to customers who pay yearly.
Adding your family to your policy allows them to access the benefits of private healthcare. Some insurers offer discounts to couples or families, while others will include your children free of charge.
Health insurance offers significant benefits regardless of wealth. However, high net worth individuals typically have a bigger budget which can provide the benefits of more comprehensive coverage and a wider range of services.
Here are some ways you can use your wealth to improve your insurance cover.
One of the main benefits of health insurance is that it allows you to choose your consultant and see them more quickly. However, having unrestricted access to any private medical practitioners in the UK isn't a given, and you'll often need to ask for it explicitly.
In recent years, several leading providers, Aviva, Axa, Bupa, The Exeter and Vitality, have brought something collectively known as "guided consultants" to market.
While they all have different names, guided consultants work much the same. In essence, you agree to only have access to a smaller pre-approved pool of medical practitioners, in return for a reduction in premiums, typically around 20%
Guided consultants is a good option for those on a tight budget, or perhaps in later life where premiums are particularly high, but it undermines one of health insurance's core benefits - choice.
If you have the budget, we recommend opting for unrestricted consultant access. It means you have confidence that you can go to any specialist in the UK and that you will be seen as quickly as possible, which isn't always the case with guided consultants.
Every insurer has a standard hospital list which lets you choose where you want to be treated. Some providers, particularly WPA and The Exeter, have an extensive hospital network. Others only offer treatment in their private hospitals and clinics.
If you live in a major city like London or Manchester, you may find that your local hospitals are part of your insurer's premium list. These lists primarily include HCA hospitals whose city centre locations bring higher costs. If your local hospital is on a premium list we'd recommend paying more to access them.
Health insurance policies include some benefits and services as standard and offer a range of optional extras. Outpatient coverage is only provided as an optional extra but gives you access to some of the most important benefits of health insurance.
It allows you to access initial specialist consultations, diagnostic tests and rehabilitation services, including outpatient physiotherapy. One of the main benefits is access to private healthcare for non-urgent health conditions where you might experience a long wait for NHS treatment.
Most policies have coverage limits but we'd recommend using your wealth to access unlimited coverage to get the most from your insurance.
A community-rated scheme doesn't look at individual claims to calculate premiums, which means you can claim without worrying about additional costs.
Group insurance schemes offer significant benefits and access to services that aren't typically available to individuals. Schemes of this type provide clients with access to benefits such as discounted gym membership, financial advice to help you manage your assets and mental health support.
You'll likely lose these benefits when you leave the scheme; however, you may be able to access some of the same benefits and services with an individual policy.
It's a good idea to review your options at an early stage so you can access the insurance that meets your needs.
When you leave a group scheme, you won't be able to access the same underwriting options on an individual policy. Group policies are typically underwritten on a medical history disregarded basis, which isn't usually available to individuals.
Personal medical insurance only covers conditions which arise after you took out the policy and excludes pre-existing conditions. As the name suggests, this doesn't apply with medical history disregarded underwriting.
When you take out an individual policy, you'll need to choose between moratorium and full medical history underwriting.
Moratorium underwriting excludes any illness you sought treatment or advice for five years before you took out the policy. There's a two-year moratorium, so if you don't claim for the same condition in the first two years, it can be added to your policy.
Your insurer won't take details of your medical history at the start of the policy but will investigate when you make a claim, so the decision-making process often takes longer.
Full medical history underwriting has the same two-year moratorium on pre-existing conditions, but your insurers take details of your medical history when you take out the policy.
This gives you more certainty about the types of care you'll be able to access from the outset and generally means you'll get a quick decision on claims. However, it is the more expensive option.
These are the best health insurance providers in the UK in 2022:
WPA has superb customer service ratings. Their flagship policy offers excellent coverage as standard with "Premier" and "Elite" options. Their policies include comprehensive cancer cover and free access to therapies and dental care when you upgrade your outpatient cover. They also operate a community-rated scheme so claims won't affect your premium. Their hospital list is one of the best on the market, with access to most private hospitals in the UK, apart from a select few in central London that you'll need to pay extra to access.
If you're leaving a workplace scheme to become self-employed you'll be able to access a 20% discount on your premiums. However, they don't offer cover to the over 65s so if you're retiring they're unlikely to be the insurer for you.
The Exeter offers excellent health plans with lots of flexibility so you can tailor your coverage to access the treatments and services that matter to you. They're the only health insurer that lets you choose between a traditional no-claims discount and a community-rated system where individual claims don't affect your premium. They are also the only insurers that offer a community-rated policy and the option for guided consultants.
They offer various benefits and discounts to their clients. You'll also be able to access discounts on premiums if you want to add your partner and children to your policy.
Axa's core policy gives you access to over 250 hospitals and treatment centres across the UK, along with a range of additional benefits. You can choose to add outpatient cover to give you access to fast-track diagnostic appointments, up to three specialist consultations and unlimited diagnostic tests per year. They also don't limit your access to therapies, so you can have as many physiotherapy or chiropractic sessions as you need.
They offer comprehensive cancer and heart cover and 24/7 access to their health support service and dedicated nurse helpline.
Vitality has set itself apart from other health insurers with its commitment to promoting a healthy lifestyle amongst its clients. If you lead an active life and can prove it, you'll benefit from discounts on your premiums. Vitality also offers discounts and benefits to take care of your health.
If you become ill and are admitted to the hospital, they promise to cover all your hospital and consultant fees in full. You'll also be able to access doctor's appointments online and 24/7 advice with their medical helpline.
One of the benefits of wealth is that it allows you to invest in more comprehensive health cover, and Bupa's flagship policy covers everything you could wish for. Their Direct Access service will enable you to access cancer treatment without seeing your GP first and provides extensive cancer care benefits and superb outpatient cover. They also include mental health care as standard, which is rare.
If you're about to retire, Bupa's offering is worth investigating as they don't have an upper age limit so that you can access insurance into your 70s and 80s. You'll also be able to choose from three different hospital lists, including their extended and Central London list, although you'll only be able to access Bupa-recognised consultants and hospitals.
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.
It's worth reviewing your insurance if you're about to retire, leave your job, or have been with the same insurer for years. If you're leaving a company scheme, you won't be able to access the same benefits under an individual policy.
Reviewing your insurance on renewal may get you the same benefits at a lower cost.
No. Most employers have group policies which offer terms and conditions that aren't available on individual policies and are typically limited to employees. Even if you could take your health cover with you, the cost of the insurance premiums is likely to be prohibitively expensive.
A bigger budget will allow you to access optional extras that give you all the benefits of health cover. We recommend adding unlimited outpatient coverage and unrestricted consultant access. Depending on your location, adding an extended hospital list might also allow you to access private health care in a convenient location.
There is a range of services offered by different providers to complement the main benefits of health cover. Your insurance might include access to a 24/7 medical helpline or online GP appointments. Some policies may include discounts in high street shops or health club memberships. You may also have the option to add travel or life insurance to your policy at a discounted rate.
When obtaining quotes from providers, it's a good idea to look at the other benefits your insurance includes and which will suit your needs.
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*Based on 461 quotes between 01/22-01/23