Joint Health Insurance for couples covers partners under a single policy. It will cover the cost of private healthcare for eligible conditions. This has a number of advantages over the NHS, not least far lower waiting times. You therefore get the care you need exactly when you need it the most.
Couples Health Insurance is essentially no different from having two individual plans. However, as it covers you both under one policy, it halves administration compared with two separate schemes. You get cover for two people under a single policy with just one policy number, one monthly premium and one renewal date.
Furthermore, once you have Joint Health Insurance, if you start a family it’s very easy to add children to policies from birth and create a Family Health Insurance plan.
You don’t have to be married or in a civil partnership with the person you share your Joint Health Insurance policy with. Many of our clients have joint policies with their cohabiting partner, for example.
Health Insurance has many options that you can add or remove to customise your cover. This impacts how comprehensive your coverage is, the conditions and treatments the plan covers, and the premiums you’ll pay.
At its most basic, medical care divides into:
Policies without any outpatient cover are known as Low Cost Health Insurance. It only pays for inpatient treatment and is the cheapest Health Insurance available.
You don’t have to add outpatient cover to your policy. Yet while this saves money, it does mean you’ll use the NHS for all outpatient care. Given NHS waiting times for such appointments, this could delay private inpatient treatment.
Adding outpatient cover to policies increases premiums, but it’s a more comprehensive option. It speeds up your overall care pathway and means both your diagnosis and treatment are entirely private.
The difference between chronic and acute conditions is important for Private Medical Insurance.
Briefly, chronic conditions stick with you for the rest of your life. Doctors cannot cure them, for example asthma and diabetes, only manage them. On the other hand, acute conditions pass with time and medical attention. They include cataracts requiring removal or joint pain fixable with a joint replacement.
No UK Health Insurance policies cover chronic conditions. They treat acute conditions only. Even with Private Health Insurance, the NHS will provide all ongoing management of chronic conditions.
This is perhaps the most valuable element of any Private Medical Insurance plan. Many of our clients take out a policy just for the cancer cover alone. This is because private cancer care can pay for cutting-edge drugs, treatments, therapies and procedures not yet licensed for the NHS due to cost.
Most policies cover cancer care as standard. This includes:
Depending on your provider and level of cover, you may also have access to other elements of cancer cover. These might include:
Every major Health Insurance provider now offers virtual GP appointments. Insurers introduced them to combat growing waiting times for NHS GP appointments and the difficulties involved in fitting them into working life.
You get access to telephone or video calls with a UK-registered GP. Appointments are usually available 24 / 7, meaning you can have one anytime and anywhere.
Digital GPs can do everything your NHS GP can. This includes providing medical advice, issuing prescriptions and making onward referrals for private medical care under your policy.
The main reason our clients choose Joint Medical Insurance is because it cuts administration and hassle. You benefit from one set of policy documents and one renewal date. This means you only need to do a market comparison once instead of twice a year if you want to check you’re still getting the best deal at renewal.
As for Private Health Insurance in general, the biggest concern for our clients seems to be worries about NHS waiting lists. While the NHS does a fantastic job and is quite rightly a much-loved national institution, the health service is unfortunately under strain from external forces.
It’s facing a budget squeeze and rising demand for healthcare, which means waiting times are up. For instance, at the end of July 2020, NHS England had 4.05 million patients on its waiting lists. 2.15 million such patients — more than half — had been awaiting treatment for more than 18 weeks. 83,203 had been waiting more than a year.
Joint Health Insurance speeds up access to care, getting you the care you need for eligible conditions exactly when you need it.
With Joint Health Insurance, there are a variety of policy options to choose from. This can make your cover more or less comprehensive and also alter premiums.
Overall, the cost for joint health cover is fairly linear. That means, all things being equal, the price of a policy for a couple should be around double that of a policy for one person.
This assumes all the policy metrics are the same, e.g. both partners are non-smokers, the same age and have similar medical histories.
Personal factors which impact the cost of cover include:
To come up with the below Joint Health Insurance premiums for three different couples, we’ve assumed that they:
35 Year Old Couple
45 Year Old Couple
55 Year Old Couple
Yes, it’s possible to reduce the cost of Joint Health Insurance. As mentioned, there are numerous policy options to consider which can help drive premiums down.
Most methods of cutting premiums limit how comprehensive your policy is. With this in mind, we therefore feel it’s important to discuss your options with an expert. They’ll help you find the right balance between affordability and coverage.
One way to reduce premiums without compromising on coverage is to increase your excess.
Your excess is the amount of money you agree to pay upfront for your medical care before the insurance kicks in to foot the rest of the bill. The bigger your excess, the lower your premiums.
Typically, the cheapest excess is £100. However, excesses can be as high as £5,000 depending on your provider and the type of medical care you need.
While a bigger excess lowers premiums, you should always make sure you can afford to pay your excess if you need to claim.
Adding outpatient cover increases premiums. You can remove it entirely and opt for Low Cost Health Insurance, but this means you’ll have to use the NHS for all outpatient care. This could delay private inpatient treatment.
Given this, we therefore tend to recommend Health Insurance policies with at least some level of outpatient cover.
As a middle ground between fully comprehensive Health Insurance and a low cost policy without outpatient cover, you could choose a mid-range plan. Here, the insurer limits the amount of outpatient medical care it pays for per policy year. The limit is usually around £1,000.
A mid-range joint private health policy will be cheaper than comprehensive cover but still offer some level of outpatient care.
Every Private Health Insurance provider has tiers of facilities you can be treated in. The top tier contains the best private hospitals in the country, including those in Central London. Opting for care in these facilities will increase premiums.
To lower costs, you could consider a more limited hospital list. This offers care in private facilities in your local area or in private wings of NHS hospitals.
If you add the 6 week NHS wait, your insurer looks at local NHS waiting times for any inpatient care you need. If the NHS can provide it in less than 6 weeks, then your care continues under the NHS.
It’s only if the NHS waiting list is longer than 6 weeks or the NHS doesn’t pay for the procedure you need that your Health Insurance kicks in.
Lastly, once you have Joint Private Health Insurance, it’s important to keep on top of premiums. Health Insurance policies renew each year, so you may find premiums creep up over time.
If that’s the case, review the market to ensure you’re still getting the best deal. This is something your adviser will be more than happy to help with, comparing Health Insurance quotes from the entire market on your behalf.
If it turns out you can get cheaper premiums with another provider, you can switch to that insurer. However, switching Health Insurance is something best left to experts. It needs to be done carefully, on continued personal medical exclusions (CPME) terms.
This ensures not only that you get continuity of cover but that your new insurer shouldn’t add any new exclusions to your policy that don’t exist on your current plan.
You have five major UK Health Insurance providers to choose from:
There are also some smaller, specialist providers that may better suit your needs. At Drewberry, we have access to the entire market. We compare Health Insurance quotes from every single insurer in the UK so you can be sure you’re getting the best cover for the best price.
We started Drewberry™ because we were tired of being treated like a number.
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.
For help and fee-free advice, call us 02074425880 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
I’ve held a policy with Drewberry for several years now. They are always friendly, insightful and offer great service.