Health insurance guide
Health insurance provides medical care quickly and saves you facing NHS queues or bureaucracy.
Health insurance helps you pay for private medical treatment, which means you can bypass lengthy NHS waiting times. Here’s why it can benefit you
The waiting times you’ll experience for medical treatment under the NHS will vary depending on factors such as the hospital you visit and the treatment you require. There may also be slight differences depending on whether you’re in England, Scotland, or Wales.
When you’re referred for a physical or mental condition, you’re legally entitled to non-urgent, consultation-led treatment within the ‘maximum’ waiting times. However this only applies to NHS treatment and services in England – it also won’t cover:
Your ‘waiting time’ for treatment under the NHS starts from either:
During the waiting time period you can:
The waiting time ends if it’s decided that treatment isn’t necessary anymore, if you don’t want the offered treatment, or when the treatment actually starts – for example:
If you’re receiving non-urgent consultant-led treatment your maximum waiting time is 18 weeks. However this won’t apply if:
If your practitioner suspects you may have cancer, your maximum waiting time for a referral is two weeks. If you believe you may have to wait longer than this you’re legally entitled to ask for a different treatment provider.
When this is the case your hospital or clinical commissioning group will investigate and offer suitable alternatives – if you still aren’t happy, you can use the NHS complaints procedure.
NHS Scotland have set their standards for waiting times as follows:
NHS Wales have drawn up their key objectives for hospital waiting times:
The hospital you choose to be treated at is likely to affect how long you wait for treatment. You can compare waiting times of different hospitals using the NHS ‘Services near you’ option – however these are likely to be estimates. Your actual waiting time will also depend on your own personal requirements.
Taking out a private health insurance policy can help you pay for private healthcare – which means you’ll be able to dodge the lengthy waiting times common with NHS treatments. Comparing health insurance quotes 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 and your lifestyle, and we’ll give you an estimate for the cost of basic, medium, and comprehensive cover. Then one of our insurance experts will call you to discuss your options, so you’ll be able to find the right policy for your needs.