Vitality

Our Expert Review Of Vitality Health Insurance

Who Are Vitality?

When leading South African insurer Discovery Holdings entered the UK insurance market in 2007 it did so in a joint venture with PruHealth and PruProtect, part of the Prudential Group.

In 2014, Discovery Holdings bought out Prudential and rebranded its UK operations to VitalityHealth and VitalityLife.

VitalityHealth was the first insurer to award people for healthy living and offer ways to help policyholders take a more active role in managing their health.

To do this, Vitality offers a wide range of rewards to encourage people to maintain and improve long-term health, including increased no claims discounts, gifts from partnership companies, and other long-term rewards.

Private Medical Insurance Awards & Reviews

Vitality’s main Health Insurance policy, Personal Healthcare, has a 5 star Defaqto rating.

Meanwhile, Vitality has more than 21,000 reviews on independent reviews website Trustpilot, rating it as excellent with 4.3 stars out of 5.

Vitality’s Health Insurance

Vitality Personal Healthcare is the company’s main Private Medical Insurance offering in the UK.

Policy Overview

Core cover from Vitality Personal Healthcare pays for inpatient care in full. It also pays for a limited amount of outpatient care, with the option to add further cover for an additional premium.

Read more about the difference between inpatient and outpatient cover here.

Key Benefits

  • Digital GP service
    Video consultations with a UK-registered GP within 48 hours via the Vitality GP app. Appointments are available from anywhere in the UK 9am-7pm Monday to Friday and 9am-1pm on Saturdays. There’s also a 24 / 7 GP advice line, which you can use while abroad.
  • Face-to-face private GP service
    As well as virtual GP appointments via Vitality GP, you can choose to see a private GP face-to-face for an upfront payment of £20 if you’ve selected London Care as your hospital list.
  • Breakthrough cancer drugs and therapies
    Access to cutting-edge cancer drugs and treatments, even when they’re not approved for NHS use due to cost, including no limits on biological, hormone and bisphosphonate therapies.
  • Vitality Care
    For complex ongoing claims, such as for cancer or mental health conditions, a team of clinically-trained doctors and nurses will assist with your treatment and provide ongoing support.
  • Mental health support
    Vitality’s core cover includes mental health support as standard, providing services including up to eight talking therapy sessions (e.g. counselling and cognitive behavioural therapy).
  • Vitality points for fitness tracking
    Vitality offers discounts on a range of wearable tech to track your fitness and activity. You turn this activity into points to spend on various rewards, including discounts and freebies from coffee shops, spas and hotels, weight loss groups and more.

Documentation

Vitality Health Insurance key facts
Vitality Health Insurance policy terms

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What Does Vitality Personal Healthcare Cover?

Inpatient and Day-Patient Treatment

Inpatient and day-patient treatment involves all medical care requiring a hospital bed. This might be overnight (inpatient) or just for the day (day-patient). This most commonly, but not exclusively, involves surgical procedures.

Inpatient & Day-Patient Coverage

Hospital treatment

Specialist / consultant fees

Tests / scans
E.g. MRI, CT and PET scans, X-rays, blood tests


Where related to an eligible inpatient admission

Outpatient Treatment

All medical care not requiring a hospital bed. Vitality does not include most outpatient care as standard — it’s an optional extra you add to the policy for an additional premium.

Outpatient Coverage

Consultations

Diagnostic tests / scans
E.g. MRI, CT and PET scans, blood tests and X-rays

Physiotherapy


When arranged via Vitality’s Priority Physiotherapy Network

Outpatient Limits

You can either opt to have Vitality pay for eligible outpatient care in full or limit it to a fixed monetary amount per policy year.

However, even where you choose an outpatient limit, Vitality will still pay in full for MRI, CT and PET scans as well as physiotherapy when arranged through its Priority Physiotherapy Network.

The outpatient limits you can choose are:

  • £500
  • £750
  • £1,000
  • £1,250
  • £1,500.

Should you opt to limit your outpatient cover, you can choose the Full Cover Diagnostics option. This means Vitality will still pay in full for any outpatient diagnostic tests / scans etc. you require, regardless of your outpatient limit. Only specialist consultations will come out of your outpatient limit with this option.

Cancer Care

Cancer cover is one of the most valuable elements of any Private Medical Insurance policy. It pays for diagnosis and treatment of cancer, including offering access to drugs, treatments, therapies and procedures the NHS may not yet offer due to their cost.

Cancer Coverage

Chemotherapy / radiotherapy

Cancer surgery

Biological / hormone therapies

Immunotherapy

Bisphosphonates

Stem cell therapy

Bone marrow transplant

Followup care


For an unlimited period after eligible cancer treatment

Wigs


Up to £300 per cancer claim for wigs and restyling of wigs

Scalp cooling
To reduce hair loss from chemotherapy

Mastectomy bras and external prostheses


Up to £200 per condition

Reconstructive surgery


One operation per affected body part, within 5 years of initial surgery

Preventative treatment
E.g. preventative mastectomies

Genetic tests to determine probability of developing cancer

End of Life Care

Where your cancer isn’t curable, Vitality will pay £75 for each night spent in a hospice receiving end of life care. It will continue to pay in full for treatment required to relieve pain and other symptoms, even after a terminal diagnosis.

If your cancer cannot be cured, Vitality will also pay for a qualified nurse to provide at-home nursing care, up to a maximum of £1,000, for no more than 14 days.

Lifestyle Surgery

Recognising that obesity is a serious health condition that can lead to a range of other serious conditions such as diabetes and heart disease, Vitality pays for gastric banding or gastric bypass where clinically necessary and subject to its eligibility criteria.

To help combat the emotional distress caused to young people by conditions such as port-wine stain birth marks or prominent ears, Vitality also pays for surgery / treatment to correct these.

In all instances you or the insured dependent must have held the policy for at least 12 months and you’ll need to pay 25% of the cost of treatment upfront.

  • Weight loss surgery
    Pays for weight loss surgery to fit a gastric band, gastric sleeve or undertake a gastric bypass if you have a BMI or over 40 or a BMI of over 35 with co-morbid conditions such as type 2 diabetes, sleep apnea or high blood pressure.
  • Port-wine stain birthmark correction
    Pays for up to ten sessions of laser treatment for a child the policy covers who is under five to correct a port-wine stain birthmark on the face.
  • Correction of prominent ears in children
    Pays for ear reshaping surgery (pinnaplasty) to correct prominent (bat) ears in a child aged between 5 and 14.
  • Breast reduction / male breast tissue removal
    Pays for a female breast reduction or removal of excessive male breast tissue (gynaecomastia) for a covered individual aged under 21 with a BMI of under 27.

Additional Benefits

You get the following additional benefits free with Vitality Health Insurance:

  • Private ambulance
    Pays for transportation in a private ambulance should you require it.
  • Home nursing
    A nurse will visit your home where medically advised following eligible inpatient or day-patient treatment.
  • Mental health support
    Vitality offers up to eight talking therapies (e.g. counselling or cognitive behavioural therapy) as standard. You also get access to Big White Wall, an award-winning mental health service, for 24 / 7 support, and can spend reward points on mindfulness services such as a discount on the smartphone app Headspace.
  • Parent accommodation
    If a child your policy covers aged under 14 is having eligible private inpatient treatment under your Health Insurance, Vitality pays for accommodation for you to stay close by.
  • Baby bonus
    A cash benefit of £100 on the birth of a new child or the adoption of a child aged under 18.
  • NHS cash benefit
    If you choose to have inpatient or day-patient treatment on the NHS that you would have been eligible to have under your Health Insurance, Vitality pays £250 per night for inpatient stays up to £2,000 per year and £125 for day-patient treatment up to £500 per year.
  • Oral surgery
    Pays for surgical removal of impacted teeth, removal of jawbone cysts and reduction in facial and reducing mandibular fractures after an accident.
  • Rehabilitation
    Offers up to 21 days of rehabilitation treatment following a stroke or serious brain injury after a period of eligible inpatient treatment providing it is within 2 months of initial diagnosis.

Hospital List

Your hospital list impacts which facilities you get private healthcare in and also how much your premiums will be. Some hospitals are more expensive than others, so opting for access to a wider array of private facilities increases premiums.

Vitality has three tiers of hospital lists:

  • Local
  • Countrywide
  • London Care.

Note that to access private face-to-face GP appointments, you’ll need to choose the most expensive London Care option.

Read Vitality’s hospital list in full here.

Medical Underwriting Options

When you apply for Health Insurance as an individual, you choose how you want your insurer to underwrite you.

Vitality has two medical underwriting options:

  • Full medical underwriting
    You disclose your medical history when you take out the policy
  • Moratorium underwriting
    Vitality won’t ask for any medical details until you submit a claim.

These are two very different options which can impact the way your insurer decides on exclusions for any pre-existing conditions you may have. The best underwriting for you depends on your circumstances.

Read more about the difference between full medical underwriting and moratorium underwriting here.

You can also switch to Vitality Personal Healthcare from another provider on continued underwriting terms on a continued personal medical exclusions basis.

Optional Extras

You have the option to include the following on your policy for an additional premium:

Therapies Cover

Vitality covers physiotherapy under outpatient care as standard, but this option expands therapies cover to include osteopathy, chiropractic treatment, chiropody / podiatry, acupuncture, homeopathy and up to two consultations with a dietician following a GP referral.

Vitality pays for this in full.

Mental Health Care

Offers unlimited therapies, as well as treatment as an inpatient, outpatient and day-patient. It pays for:

  • Unlimited sessions of talking therapies (e.g. counselling and cognitive behavioural therapy)
  • £1,500 towards outpatient mental health treatment
  • 28 days of inpatient and day-patient treatment in a psychiatric hospital.

Dental Cover

Offers two levels of cover, paying towards either:

  • Major dental treatment
    For example crowns, bridges, root canals, extractions, dentures and emergency dentistry after an accident
  • Major and routine dental treatment
    Everything included under major dental treatment, as well as cover for routine checkups, scaling and polishing, dental X-rays and fillings.

Are There Any Exclusions?

Vitality Private Medical Insurance has exclusions that are fairly standard to those across the industry. For example, they include:

  • Chronic conditions
  • Emergency medicine
  • Alcohol / substance abuse
  • ‘Normal’ childbirth and pregnancy
  • Infertility treatment
  • Birth control
  • Organ transplants
  • Cosmetic surgery (other than those detailed above under lifestyle surgeries)
  • Experimental drugs / procedures
  • Pre-existing conditions
  • Sleep disorders
  • Sex change / gender reassignment
  • Hormone replacement therapy.

Do I Have to Pay Towards My Treatment?

Vitality offers you the option to add an excess to your policy, which is a sum of money you agree to pay upfront towards private medical care. The higher your excess, the lower your monthly premiums.

However, you don’t have to add an excess and pay towards treatment if you don’t want to. The excesses Vitality offers includes:

  • £0
  • £100
  • £250
  • £500
  • £1,000.

With Vitality, you have the unique option of deciding whether to pay your excess once per policy year or once per claim.

If you opt to pay once per policy year, you’ll only ever have to pay your excess once, even if you make more than one claim in a policy year. On the other hand, with the option to pay once per claim, you pay the excess on each claim you make.

Read more about Health Insurance excesses here.

Key Comparison Points

No Claims Discount

Unlike other insurers, Vitality does not offer a standard tiered no claims discount system. However, you can collect Vitality reward points for participating in healthy activities, from health screenings to exercising. These build up to form your Vitality status: bronze, silver, gold and platinum.

Depending on your Vitality status at the end of the policy year, combined with whether or not you’ve made claims and how much these claims were for, you could receive a discount on premiums accordingly the following year.

Vitality Points and Rewards

Vitality offers discounts on fitness trackers, such as Fitbits and smart watches. You then use these to track your fitness and exercise levels, thereby earning Vitality points. These points can combine to provide rewards, such as high street discounts.

They also add up to your Vitality status, which can impact your premium the following policy year.

Lifestyle Surgery

Vitality is one of the few insurers that offers surgery such as breast reduction and weight loss procedures. While it is subject to the insured paying 25% of the cost upfront and meeting strict eligibility criteria, it’s an option that few other insurers in the market offer.

6 Week NHS Wait

Unlike other providers, Vitality does not offer the 6 week NHS wait option, which can be a way of keeping costs down by only paying for private inpatient treatment if the NHS wait for that treatment exceeds 6 weeks.

Vitality Care

You get access to a team of trained medical professionals and case managers if you’re diagnosed with a serious, complex condition, such as cancer or a psychiatric illness.

These professionals can guide your treatment and answer any questions you may have relating to it. They can also arrange for you to have treatment at home, such as chemotherapy, where clinically appropriate.

Limited Talking Therapies Access as Standard

Vitality offers access to talking therapies (e.g. counselling and cognitive behavioural therapy) as standard with core cover. You’re entitled to up to eight sessions per year of such treatment. Few other insurers offer this benefit as standard — usually it’s an optional add-on for an additional premium.

Physiotherapy Included With Outpatient Cover

Vitality offers full cover for physiotherapy as part of its outpatient cover (providing you see a physiotherapist in Vitality’s approved network). With some other insurers, you don’t always get access to physiotherapy with outpatient cover. Other providers may only include it if you add another different option (therapies) for a further additional premium.

Compare Health Insurance Quotes & Get Expert Advice

As you can see, when you’re looking to compare Health Insurance there are lots of points to consider. With so many factors and a lot of different terminology at play, it can be tricky to do an accurate like-for-like comparison between providers.

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12/08/2020
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