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.
Vitality’s main Health Insurance policy, Personal Healthcare, has a 5 star Defaqto rating.
Vitality Personal Healthcare is the company’s main Private Medical Insurance offering in the UK.
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.
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
Specialist / consultant fees
Tests / scans
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.
Diagnostic tests / scans
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:
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 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.
Chemotherapy / radiotherapy
Biological / hormone therapies
Stem cell therapy
Bone marrow transplant
Mastectomy bras and external prostheses
Genetic tests to determine probability of developing cancer
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.
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.
You get the following additional benefits free with Vitality Health Insurance:
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:
Note that to access private face-to-face GP appointments, you’ll need to choose the most expensive London Care option.
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:
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.
You can also switch to Vitality Personal Healthcare from another provider on continued underwriting terms on a continued personal medical exclusions basis.
You have the option to include the following on your policy for an additional premium:
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.
Offers unlimited therapies, as well as treatment as an inpatient, outpatient and day-patient. It pays for:
Offers two levels of cover, paying towards either:
Vitality Private Medical Insurance has exclusions that are fairly standard to those across the industry. For example, they include:
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:
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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We all deserve a first class service when it comes to issues as important as protecting our health. Below are just a few reasons why it makes sense to talk to us.
If you need help reviewing existing cover or setting up a new private medical insurance policy give us a call on 02074425880 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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