What is Over 50s Health Insurance?

Over 50s health insurance is no different from an individual or joint policy for those under 50, aside from tending to cost more. As we age, the number of medical conditions we suffer from invariably increases and so insurers charge accordingly.

While there’s no practical difference between over and under 50 policies, the increased cost often means more needs to be done to tailor a policy to minimise price, without sacrificing too much cover.

Can retirees get health insurance?

Yes, retirees can get private health insurance, but people often resist even looking at policies because they believe it will be too expensive.

While it’s true that policies for retirees will inevitably cost more, there are a number of ways your cover can be adjusted to make it more affordable.

To find the most affordable retiree cover we recommend speaking to an experienced health insurance adviser, who has the in-depth knowledge to help choose the right options for you.

What does over 50s private medical insurance cover?

Health insurance covers the treatment of acute conditions which can be reversed, not chronic conditions that may require management, but cannot be cured.

Examples of acute medical conditions:

  • Pneumonia
  • Hip replacement surgery
  • Cancer

Examples of chronic medical conditions:

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Levels of cover available

What you are covered for will be a significant deciding factor in the cost of your policy. Simply put, the more treatments that are included, the higher the price will be. Typically, treatments can be broken down into three categories:

Inpatient Treatment

Inpatient treatment is included in all over 50 plans, even the most basic. It covers the cost of treatments where a hospital bed is needed overnight, assuming it’s for an acute condition.

Day-patient Treatment

Day-patient treatment covers both overnight and non-overnight hospital visits where a bed is required. An example would be minor surgery where you need to be monitored for several hours post-op.

Outpatient Treatment

Outpatient treatment covers all of the above, plus the costs relating to treatments where a hospital bed isn’t required, for instance, a visit to the hospital for a certain type of test.

Tailoring your over 50s policy

There are a number of things which can be done to tailor your policy to fit your needs and budget. In this section we’ve broadly outlined some of the options, and while this isn’t an exhaustive list, it’ll hopefully show you the types of things that are possible.

Choosing the level of inpatient, day patient and outpatient cover

The goal is to give you maximum cover within your budget. For example, it could be that we look to include outpatient treatments up to a cash value of, say, £1,000 per annum. This would give you access to those treatments without you having to pay for unlimited cover.

Adding a 6-week NHS wait (deferment)

Adding this option means that if the waiting list for treatment is less than six weeks, your treatment will take place through the NHS - anything more than that and your treatment would be private. This is a useful option but can negate some of the core benefits of private medical insurance.

Choosing a local hospital list

Assuming you live outside of London, you can choose to only include hospitals which are local to you on the policy. This usually reduces the cost as the standard hospital lists do tend to include several in more expensive regions.

Adding a reasonable excess

The size of the excess on the policy will have a significant effect on your premiums. If you’re keen to minimise the monthly costs and are happy with a larger excess it can be a useful way to keep prices down.

These are just a few of the options available to you, but we would always suggest speaking to an expert about your specific circumstances.
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Private healthcare options after retirement

There are a few options available to you when it comes to accessing private healthcare after retirement, you could; self-fund; continue a company provided policy or take out your own personal policy.

Self-fund your Private Healthcare

Self-funding is simply paying for treatments as and when they are required. This can either be in a single payment or by spreading the cost with medical finance. As you might expect, the cost of private healthcare does tend to increase each year for a number of reasons.

If self-funding is an avenue you’re actively considering then please read our article “UK Private Medical Treatment Costs” which looks at the factors affecting prices, alongside some research into common treatment costs in 2020.

Continue a Company Provided Policy

If you benefitted from Company Health Insurance from your last employer, prior to your retirement, you may be able to continue that policy as a personal one. There are both benefits and disadvantages of this route which will need to be considered.

While some people can continue business health insurance policies for largely the same price that their employer was paying, others find that the insurer hikes the price, making it no longer competitive to taking out a new policy.

Start a Personal Policy

We’re assuming that you’re on this page because you’re actually looking to start a private health insurance policy, rather than the other two options. As we’ve explained, there are some hurdles to overcome, but with some careful planning we can get you a policy which is both affordable and sufficient for your needs.

If you have become accustomed to private healthcare, a personal policy is often the best way to continue your access.

How to take our health insurance in retirement

  • Do some research and decide what you want from your policy and how much you’re happy to spend, bearing in mind that the price will probably increase year on year.
  • Speak to a private medical insurance expert and get some free advice on levels of cover and ballpark costs you can expect to pay. Look for a company that is impartial and isn’t tied to a single insurer.
  • Compare health insurance quotes and with the help of your independent advisor, decide which policy fits both your needs and budget best. Don’t feel like the first round of quotes are the only options - if things don’t quite work, ask your advisor to make some changes and get new prices.
  • Choose your policy and apply, providing all the necessary documentation and information. Once you receive your policy documents, take time to read them through to make sure you’re happy.
  • Review your policy each year at point of health insurance renewal - the cost of your policy will increase and by doing a review exercise you can limit those increases.

How much does over 50s health insurance cost?

The price of your policy will depend on a variety of factors, many of which we’ve already mentioned in this guide. Broadly speaking you can expect the following to play a role in the price you receive:

  • Your age
  • Your location
  • Level of outpatient cover
  • Smoker status
  • Medical history
  • Current state of health
  • Optional add ons
  • Your chosen hospital list

Some of the above will be outside of your control whereas others can be “tweaked” to help make a policy fit your budget.

To provide some ballpark figures for over 50s policies we’ve made some assumptions. The person that the following quotes are for is in good health, isn’t a smoker, is looking for comprehensive cover which includes outpatient treatments, willing to pay a £200 excess, will be underwritten on a moratorium basis, doesn't want any additional extras and lives in the same postcode as our Bournemouth Office.

All of the prices below are monthly based on a 12 month contract.

  • 50 years old - £105.16
  • 55 years old - £132.82
  • 60 years old - £165.01
  • 65 years old - £201.52

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FAQs about over 50s health insurance

Can you get joint over 50s health insurance?

Yes you can, and we often see couples taking out joint policies to reduce the administration involved in having two.

Is there an upper age limit on health insurance?

Some providers may have an upper age limit for policies, typically around 75 years. If you already have a policy though, providers will on occasion allow you to continue past your 75th birthday.

How can I reduce the cost of my over 50s health insurance?

There are a number of ways the cost of health insurance can be reduced. The simplest is speaking to an expert in private medical insurance who can help you bring the price down, without sacrificing too much in the way of cover.

Is Health Insurance worth it for over 50s?

Private healthcare does provide a level of service which cannot be surpassed by the NHS and if you have become accustomed to it, then we’d suggest you would think health insurance is very much worth it.

Can I get health insurance if I’m over 65?

Yes you can, some providers will have an upper age limit of 75 years, but you will be able to find a policy at or around 65 years of age. Bear in mind the price will probably be quite high, so it is well worth speaking to an independent advisor to get free advice and try to find the best policy for you.