What is individual health insurance?
Individual health insurance, sometimes known as private medical insurance (PMI), lets you claim for the cost of private medical care to treat acute health conditions. It can be useful to have this cover if you want to avoid some of the drawbacks of the NHS.
Do I need individual health insurance?
Individual health insurance can be useful for a number of reasons:
- You can bypass NHS waiting times
- You might have access to a greater range of treatments
- You may be able to choose which location you’re treated at
- You can request your own private room
However if you don’t think you’ll need these benefits you may be better off skipping the extra cost and sticking with the NHS.
Can I still use the NHS with health insurance?
Your individual health insurance policy can work alongside the NHS, so you’ll still be entitled to free treatment at point-of-delivery for GPs and A&E.
Is health insurance the same as critical illness life insurance cover?
While health insurance and critical illness cover both relate to your health and medical treatment, they are in fact quite different.
- Health insurance covers the cost of medical treatment you need to bring you back to full health
- Critical illness life insurance covers you for a lump tax-free sum pay-out if your illness results in a loss of income
What does individual health insurance cover?
What your individual health insurance policy covers will depend on the level of insurance you take out:
- Basic: A basic individual health insurance policy will cover you for the price of treatment as well as any associated costs involved when you’re admitted to hospital. There is generally also an element of cover for cancer treatment
- Medium: A medium individual health insurance policy includes everything the basic insurance covers, as well as some outpatient support for blood tests, scans, and specialist consultations
- Comprehensive: A comprehensive individual health insurance policy includes all of the above, while also covering you for physiotherapy and mental health treatment.
What extra policies can I get with individual health insurance?
Depending on the type of policy you take out, you might be able to add any of the following:
- Dental care
- Eye care
- Maternity and pregnancy care
- Mental health support
What’s excluded from individual health insurance?
While a health insurance policy can cover you for a range of illnesses, it’s likely the cover won’t apply for certain conditions or costs. For example:
- Diabetes, high blood pressure, arthritis and other chronic illnesses
- Cosmetic treatment
- Mobility aids
- Organ transplants
Are there any other limitations to health insurance?
Aside from certain conditions, you might find health insurance can have further limitations:
- You may not be guaranteed a place in a private hospital or a private room in an NHS hospital
- Your waiting times might not be significantly less than they would be at an NHS hospital for serious illnesses
How much does individual health insurance cost?
The cost of individual health insurance premiums can depend on the following factors:
- Your age: The older you are, the higher your premiums are likely to be
- Your location: Some postcodes, such as those in Central London, can be seen as higher health risks, which can therefore mean you’ll need to pay more for cover
- Your health: Certain aspects of your lifestyle, such as smoking or vaping habits, are also likely to raise your premium costs
- Your level of cover: The higher your level of cover, the more you’ll need to pay for the policy
Compare individual health insurance quotes
If you’re looking for a health insurance policy, comparing your options with MoneySuperMarket and our preferred partner ActiveQuote is the best way to find a cheaper deal. All you need to do is tell us a little about yourself, your health, and your lifestyle, and we’ll show you an indicative price for basic, medium, and comprehensive health insurance cover.
When you’ve chosen which one you want, just click through to confirm your details and an ActiveQuote cover expert will call you to discuss your personal cover requirements.
Keep in mind when choosing a deal that the cheapest quote isn’t always the best. It’s best to aim for a balance between a reasonable price and the right amount of cover depending on your specific needs – this way you can avoid ending up over- or under-insured.