The best and most comprehensive Medical Insurance policies will include cover that cheaper plans may have only as an optional extra, such as alternative therapies or psychiatric cover as standard rather than as an additional add-on.
In addition to covering outpatient treatment in full, a fully comprehensive plan will provide extended cover for other methods of treatment such as physiotherapy, cognitive behavioural therapy and acupuncture.
The details below provide an overview of the cover that is included in a typical comprehensive health insurance plan:
Overall, comprehensive cover provides greater peace of mind knowing that all eligible inpatient, day-patient, outpatient and associated healthcare services are covered.
With comprehensive cover, all outpatient consultations with a specialist are covered in full and there are generally no limits imposed on the number of eligible consultations.
Basic Medical Insurance plans, on the other hand, or those with reduced outpatient cover, will typically provide no cover at all for consultations or limit the number or cost of consultations per policy per year.
Nearly all comprehensive policies cover these scans in full and without restriction.
Practically all comprehensive plans will cover other diagnostic tests in full and without restriction. Basic plans either impose monetary restrictions on diagnostic tests, limit them to inpatient admissions only, or simply provide no cover at all.
Nearly all health insurance plans – regardless of how comprehensive – will provide full cover for radiotherapy and chemotherapy.
In addition, comprehensive policies can provide cover for other essentials, such as prostheses, extended biological therapies, scalp cooling to prevent hair loss from chemotherapy and counselling services.
A comprehensive policy will allow you to use private facilities and specialists for all parts of your healthcare treatment due to outpatient cover being included as standard.
As you can see from the diagram below, a basic policy without outpatient cover will mean you’ll need to use the NHS up to the point of your private inpatient treatment.
Given there can be significant waiting lists on the NHS for diagnostic tests and consultations, this could lead to a delay in your care.
With outpatient cover, diagnosis of medical conditions and tests can be performed a lot faster and you have more control over when and where your appointments take place.
All you’ll need is a referral from your NHS GP and you’ll be on the road to private medical treatment and hopefully a speedier recovery.
As well as providing full cover for your essential treatments and consultations, a comprehensive policy can provide additional cover and a range of complementary benefits.
Such cover is rarely if ever included as an option for a basic Health Insurance policy.
Most comprehensive health insurance plans will provide full cover for physiotherapy.
Less comprehensive policies are unlikely to provide a level of outpatient physiotherapy or typically limit the cover provided to £500 per policy year. Some will only cover sessions if they are a follow-up from a covered inpatient treatment.
Many comprehensive policies provide at least some psychiatric cover as part of their plans. This is typically limited to outpatient-only sessions.
While there are some comprehensive Private Medical Insurance policies that offer both inpatient and outpatient psychiatric care as standard, most policies provide limited cover due to the cost of providing psychiatric treatment.
Policies will either cap the cost of your psychiatric care per policy per year or cover only specific psychiatric treatments.
Basic plans rarely cover psychiatric healthcare at all.
A number of policies allow you to include routine dental and optical healthcare to your plan for an additional premium.
The benefit provided usually sets out a specified pot of ‘cash’ for you to use throughout the year and claims are typically subject to an excess.
For an increase in premium, it is possible to upgrade your hospital list to a premier list or a London list.
The London list provides access to an increased number of London hospitals compared to a standard national list.
With the premier list you can receive treatment at practically any hospital in the UK, including the country’s most prestigious hospitals.
Your Health Insurance policy will be priced based on a range of factors, including your age, geography, and whether or not you smoke.
After this, it will be the policy options that you choose which will have the most influence over your monthly premiums and how comprehensive your cover will be.
In the below table, we’ve laid out the cost of a comprehensive Health Insurance policy, along with a mid-range and a basic option for comparison.
The quotes are based on a 30-year-old living in the same postcode as our Brighton offices paying a £250 excess.
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.
Based in Tunbridge Wells, AXA PPP Healthcare has helped people to access healthcare services since 1940.
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.
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.
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.
All of the leading UK providers offer some form of comprehensive cover, although they can vary considerably in what they offer.
The devil is in the details, so it is vital that you read the terms of your policy carefully to make sure you’re getting the right kind of cover.
Alternatively, why not ask an expert for help?
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.
If it is all getting a little confusing and you want to talk through your options to make sure you find the most suitable cover please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
Pop us a call on 02074425880 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Health & Wellbeing Expert at Drewberry
Sam was very helpful and kept me informed at all times. Brilliant service.