The idea of you or a loved one becoming ill with a health condition is something many of us would prefer not to think about. But buying private health insurance could one day mean that you have fast access to the best medical care when you really need it, giving you that peace of mind.
What are individual health insurance plans?
So here’s how health insurance works. You choose a provider, pay a monthly premium and the policy pays out if you fall ill and need to make a claim (just check whether there are any exclusions in the T&Cs to make sure you’re covered). 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 the consultant can even see you and you’ve heard that waiting lists for knee operations are very long.
If you have individual health insurance coverage you have the option to contact your insurer and potentially go private. It might mean you’re able to see a specialist sooner and have the required procedure much more quickly, getting you back to normal life faster. You may have access to specialists and certain medications.
How do I find the best individual health insurance plans?
A great place to start is by doing a comparison by clicking the button above. That way you can view individual health insurance quotes that are tailored to you.
Why not get started now. Fill in a few details and you’ll get a page full of quotes, and you can see what’s included in different policies, from basic health insurance to mid-range and comprehensive health insurance.
Some plans will only cover treatment within a hospital, for example, while others will offer you treatment as an outpatient.
Finding affordable individual health insurance
If you’re finding that even the cheapest individual health insurance quote is too much, you could reduce the cost of your cover by choosing a higher excess. Like with home and car insurance, if you choose a higher voluntary excess, the lower your monthly payments might be. Just make sure you can afford the excess should you need to make a claim.
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. Some providers offer discounts if you can show that you take steps to be healthy.
There’s also another option. A cheaper type of medical insurance is the health cash plan, which 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.
Bear in mind, though, that cheap individual health insurance might not give you the features you need. None of us can see into the future, so it might be worth paying a little more to have the best possible care should you need it.
Things to consider
Even the best individual health insurance doesn’t mean you can go private for everything. Accident and emergency treatments aren’t covered, for example.*
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.
Bear in mind too that insurers set maximum amounts they will pay for certain procedures. So if you’ve chosen a specialist whose charges are higher than that limit, you’ll need to cover the difference in cost.
And 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.
Now you’re clearer about the different types of health insurance and the things to consider, why not click the button above to start comparing policies.