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Private Health Insurance

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Private Health Insurance Explained

Private Medical Insurance provides access to private healthcare facilities so you can receive fast treatment of the highest standard when you need it most.

  • Receive treatment at a time convenient to you avoiding potentially lengthy NHS waiting list.
  • You’ll get more choice over your treatment, such as where it takes place and the specialist who treats you.
  • Access the latest drugs and treatments, even those not yet routinely available on the NHS.

What Does Private Health Insurance Cover?

Firstly Private Medical Insurance will only cover the cost of treatment for acute conditions, it is not designed to treat chronic conditions.

  • Acute Condition
    A short term condition which is curable with treatment.
  • Chronic Condition
    Is a long term condition which is persistent and cannot be cured.

Cover is defined by the use of a hospital bed. The most basic health insurance will only cover inpatient treatment while more comprehensive policies cover outpatient treatment in full or up to a monetary limit often set at £500, £1,000 or £1,500.

  • Inpatient Cover
    Covers the cost of any treatment where a hospital bed is needed, this can either be over night or as a day-patient.
  • Outpatient Cover
    Covers the cost of diagnostics, consultations and treatment of conditions where a hospital bed is not required.

All policies cover the full cost of treating curable (acute) medical conditions that require an overnight stay in hospital (inpatient treatment) or require a period of time in a hospital bed (day-patient treatment).

Suppose an individual needed a joint replacement. The basic inpatient and day-patient cover would pay for consultations leading up to the operation and the operation itself.

Prior to needing a joint replacement the individual suffered a bout of joint pain. Should this individual have outpatient cover it would have paid for all tests, scans and consultations that diagnosed that the joint needed replacing.

The level of cover and type of treatment required will determine the exact process and interaction between the NHS and your Medical Insurance but the main variation depends on whether the policy includes outpatient cover.

No Outpatient Cover

Private Health Insurance No Outpatient Process

With Outpatient Cover

Private Medical Insurance Outpatient Process

Without any outpatient cover you run the risk of having to go through the NHS outpatient waiting list for diagnostic testing and initial consultations, potentially delaying your care.

Extensive Cancer Cover

Taking out Health Insurance provides you with access to cutting-edge cancer treatment, including drugs and procedures that don’t tend to be available on the NHS because the cost is prohibitive.

Other benefits of private cancer care can include:

  • Choice of having chemotherapy at home rather than in a clinical setting
  • Cover for the cost of wigs and prostheses that are required as a result of cancer treatment / surgery
  • Money to pay for scalp cooling, to reduce hair loss from chemotherapy
  • Donations to a hospice should you need to stay in one to receive palliative care
  • Access to home nursing for a certain number of days, where a dedicated private nurse will come to your home to check up on you during your treatment.

What is not covered by Medical Insurance?

Where each insurer has their own policy wording we cannot say for sure but there are a number of exclusions which are reasonably consistent across all UK Health Insurance policies.

  • Pre-existing Medical Conditions
  • Chronic Conditions
  • GP Services
  • Emergency Services
  • Normal Pregnancy
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Do I Need Private Medical Insurance?

No one can deny that the NHS does a fantastic job but, especially recently, funding and resources have been stretched. This has resulted in delays to care.

According to NHS statistics…

  • At the end of March 2018, an approximate total of 3.84 million patients were waiting to start treatment.
  • Of those 3.84 million people, 2,755 patients waiting to start treatment after a referral had been waiting for more than 52 weeks.
  • In 2017/18, the median wait for admitted treatments was 10 weeks.
  • Roughly 13% of patients had to wait more than 18 weeks to receive treatment as of March 2018.

Private healthcare can help you skip these waiting lists for all eligible treatment, i.e. an acute condition that you didn’t have before you took the policy out.

How Much Does Private Health Insurance Cost?

How much Private Health Insurance Costs depends on a variety of factors, including:

  • Age
    The older we are, the more likely we are to need medical treatment and so the more a policy costs.
  • Outpatient cover
    Whether you opt for full outpatient cover, outpatient cover up to a set limit or no outpatient cover at all.
  • Location
    Where you’re based in the UK will impact your policy; if you live near expensive hospitals, such as in Central London, you’ll pay more for your cover.
  • Hospital lists
    The list of hospitals you’re eligible for treatment in will affect the cost of your Health Insurance, with more expensive hospitals meaning higher premiums.
  • Excess 
    How much you’re willing to pay upfront for your treatment before the insurance policy takes over, e.g. the first £100 towards your care.
  • Additional extras
    Optional extras on your policy, such as dental and optical cover, will increase the cost of your premiums.

To work out the average cost of Health Insurance below, we’ve searched all the major players in the UK market and assumed:

  • All the individuals are in good health
  • They’re non-smokers
  • They’re looking for a mid-range policy with a mid-range hospital list
  • They’re willing to pay a £100 excess
  • They’ll be underwritten on a moratorium basis
  • They don’t want any additional extras on their policy
  • They’re based in the same postcode as our Brighton office.

Examples of the Cost of Health Insurance

With these assumptions we have calculated pricing of a Mid-Range Health Insurance policy for different age groups as well as for individuals, couples and families.

Cost of Health Insurance for Single Individuals

25 Year Old
50 Year Old
£63 per month
£113 per month

Cost of Private Health Insurance for Couples

30 Year Old Couple
£125 per month

Cost of Private Medical Insurance for Families

Family with 35 Year Old Parents
13 and 11 year old children
£200 per month

Health Insurance Underwriting Options

One of the most important decisions to make when setting up your Private Medical Insurance is the type of medical underwriting you choose. When taking out a personal policy you have a couple of options:

Moratorium Underwriting
The most common type of medical underwriting for Health Insurance. Rather than asking about your medical history in full it simply excludes most pre-existing medical conditions you’ve suffered from over a set period, usually the past 5 years.

Full Medical Underwriting
You will need to disclose your entire medical history to the insurer from the start. As a result the insurer will take your health into consideration and any exclusions due to pre-existing medical conditions will be set out from the inception of the policy.

Which Medical Underwriting Is Best?

There is no hard and fast rule whether moratorium or full medical underwriting will be the best option for you, so much depends on your personal circumstances and your state of health.

To ensure you choose the most appropriate underwriting speaking to an expert can really help, if you need any support please do hesitate to pop us a call on 02074425880 or email

Compare Best 5 UK Health Insurance Providers

Below are the top 5 Health Insurance companies in the UK. To read more about them, check out our Health Insurance review pages here >>



Aviva is the largest insurer in the UK. Aviva’s PMI offering is their Healthier Solutions product, which you can tailor to your own budget.

  • Underwriting
    Full Medical Underwriting / Moratorium / Continued Personal Medical Exclusions
  • Excess
    £100 / £200 / £500 / £1,000 / £3,000 / £5,000 per year
  • Core Cover
    Inpatient and day-patient / cancer cover
  • Outpatient Cover
    £0 / Reduced (limited to £500 or £1,000) / Full outpatient cover
axa ppp healthcare

AXA PPP Healthcare

Based in Tunbridge Wells, AXA PPP Healthcare has helped people to access healthcare services since 1940.

  • Underwriting
    Full Medical Underwriting / Moratorium
  • Excess
    £100 / £250 / £500 / £1,000* / £2,500* / £5,000*
  • Core Cover
    Inpatient and day-patient / radio/chemotherapy** / Optional mental health cover
  • Outpatient Cover
    Standard or Full


Established over 60 years ago, Bupa is a UK household name. Bupa Health Insurance has two tiers of over: Comprehensive (full inpatient and outpatient care) and Treatment & Care (inpatient-only). Both options include mental health cover as standard.

  • Underwriting
    Full Medical Underwriting / Moratorium
  • Excess
  • Core Cover
    Inpatient and day-patient / radio/chemotherapy / Mental health cover
  • Outpatient Cover
    Paid in full or with optional limits of £500 / £750 / £1,000
The Exeter

The Exeter

Founded in 1927, Exeter Family Friendly is a mutual Friendly Society with over 60,000 members. The Exeter’s Health Insurance policy is known as The Exeter Health+, which includes mental health cover as standard.

  • Underwriting
    Full Medical Underwriting / Fixed moratorium / Rolling moratorium / Continued personal medical exclusions
  • Excess
    £0 / £100 / £250 / £500 / £1000 / £3,000 / £5,000
  • Core Cover
    Inpatient and day-patient / cancer cover
  • Outpatient Cover
    Paid in full or with optional limits of £500 / £1,000


Vitality (formerly PruHealth) launched in October 2004 as a joint venture between Prudential and South African health insurance provider Discovery. Vitality has an innovative approach to health insurance in their Vitality plan, rewarding you with points and reduced premiums for healthy living.

  • Underwriting
    Full Medical Underwriting / Moratorium / Continued personal medical exclusions
  • Excess
    £0 / £100 / £250 / £500 / £1,000 once a year or once per claim
  • Core Cover
    Inpatient and day-patient / cancer cover
  • Outpatient Cover
    Paid in full or with optional limits of £500 / £750 / £1,000 / £1,250 / £1,500

Get Private Health Insurance Advice…

Being health insurance brokers we can talk you through your options to ensure you gain the cover you want, without any unexpected limitations.

If you have a pre-existing medical condition we are also able to speak to the underwriters at each insurer to try and gain you the most favourable terms available in the market.

Why speak to us?

We started Drewberry because we were tired of being treated like a number and not getting the service we all deserve when it comes to things as important as protecting our health and our finances. Below are just a few reasons why it makes sense to talk to us.

  • There is no fee for our service
  • We are independent and impartial
    Drewberry isn’t tied to any insurance company, so we can provide completely impartial advice to make sure you get the most appropriate policy based solely on your needs.
  • We’ve got bargaining power on our side
    This allows us to negotiate better premiums for you than you going direct yourself.
  • You’ll speak to a dedicated expert from start to finish
    You will speak to a named expert with a direct telephone and email. No more automated machines and no more being sent from pillar to post – you’ll have someone to speak to who knows you.
  • Benefit from our 5-star service
    We pride ourselves on providing a 5-star service, as can be seen from our 2372 and growing independent client reviews rating us at 4.92 / 5.
  • Benefit from the protection of regulated advice
    You are protected. Where we provide a regulated advice service we are responsible for the policy we set-up for you. Doing it yourself or going direct to an insurer won’t provide this protection, so you won’t benefit from these securities.
  • Claims support when you need it the most
    You have support should you need to make a claim. The most important thing when it comes to insurance is that claims are paid and quickly. We are here to support you during the claims process and make sure it’s as smooth and stress free as possible.

Extremely satisfied with the help and advice from Drew, since the beginning him understood what I was looking for and have the patience to help me out with all my questions and doubts. Didn’t tried to be push or annoying calling me all the time like so many did before. At the end we find the perfect medical policy for me and my daughter that covers everything that we need. I more than recommend them and if in the future I need something else for sure I will contact them again. Giving only 5 stars because I can’t give 6!!!!

Natasha Caversan Mucci
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