What is individual health insurance?
Individual health insurance can cover medical expenses for illness, injuries and some medical conditions. Unlike purchasing through your employer, it is purchased on your own and can give you fast access to medical care.
Frequently asked questions
What are individual health insurance plans?
With health insurance, you pay a monthly premium to your insurance provider – then if you fall ill and need a treatment that’s covered by your policy, your insurance provider will pay out. The payment should cover the cost of the treatment needed. Just remember you’ll usually have to pay an agreed excess.
Say you have an increasingly painful knee and it’s affecting daily life. You go to your GP and they make a referral to an NHS hospital, but it’s weeks before a consultant can see you – and you know it will be even longer to get an operation.
If you have individual health insurance coverage you could contact your insurance provider and potentially access an appointment sooner in the private system. You might be able to see a specialist more quickly and have the procedure you need in a shorter timeframe, getting you back to normal life faster. You could also have access to specialists and medications that aren’t available on the NHS.
What’s the difference between individual health insurance and joint health insurance?
It’s just as you’d expect. Joint health insurance covers you and your partner on a single policy, while individual health insurance is just for you.
If you’re buying health insurance for yourself and your partner, you might find a cheaper deal with less administration if you go for a joint policy. However, going for two individual health insurance policies might let each of you tailor the policy to your own needs – a good idea if you feel you want different things from your health insurance policy.
You can also opt for family health insurance or child health insurance if you want your children to be covered.
What type of individual health insurance would suit you best?
As with most types of insurance, you have a range of options – from basic coverage, which is cheaper but may not cover you for as many treatments or tests, all the way through to the most comprehensive types of cover.
Some plans will only cover treatment within a hospital, for example, while others will offer you treatment as an outpatient.
A great way to see your options is to compare health insurance quotes. You’ll see what’s included in different options, and begin to get an idea of the costs involved at each level. Then you can see which policies are affordable and offer cover that suits your needs.
How can I lower the cost of my premium?
There are options to make your health insurance more affordable – but always balance them against the value and peace of mind you might get from a more comprehensive policy.
- A higher excess means cheaper premiums – as with home and car insurance, if you choose a higher voluntary excess you’ll pay lower monthly payments. Just make sure you can afford the excess should you need to make a claim.
- Insurance providers can offer discounts for healthy lifestyles – if you go to the gym and eat your five a day, the good news is that you might be able to get a cheaper policy.
- Health cash plans are often a cheaper option – a health cash plan gives you some money towards your routine healthcare costs. The plans pay you a cash sum when you visit a medical professional, like your optician or dentist. Just check the T&Cs to confirm when you will receive the payment.
What else do I need to know before I buy individual health insurance?
- You can’t go private for everything - even the best individual health insurance has limitations. Accident and emergency treatments aren’t covered, for example
- You can only use certain hospitals - when you buy a policy, you will typically choose a list of hospitals and treatment centres where you’ll be eligible for treatment. The broader the selection, the higher your premium will be
- Insurance providers set maximum amounts for certain procedures - if you choose a specialist whose charges are higher than that limit, you’ll need to cover the difference in cost
- You won't always get treatment in a private hospital - you could be put in a private patient unit within an NHS hospital, or end up on an NHS ward rather than in a private room
Compare individual health insurance quotes
We can help you find a range of affordable health insurance policies that suit your needs. When you compare health insurance with us, we just ask you a few questions and show you a list of policies with important features highlighted. It makes it easy to choose a policy that’s right for you.