Joint Health Insurance For Couples

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09/03/2024
10 mins

Are you and your partner thinking about private healthcare as a solution to long NHS waiting lists? Provided you live at the same address, you’re eligible for Joint Health Insurance.

But how does it work? Is it any different to an individual policy? Does it cost more or less than 2 separate policies? Our guide to Joint Health Insurance covers all you need to know.

What Is Joint Health Insurance?

Joint Health Insurance (or Couples Health Insurance) covers 2 people under a singular policy. It enables you and your partner to access high-quality healthcare in top UK private facilities.

The popularity of such policies is increasing due to the significant strain the NHS is facing. With a couples policy you can:

  • Bypass long NHS waiting lists
  • Receive private healthcare when you need it most
  • Get more flexibility over where, when and who you receive treatment from
  • Access drugs and procedures not routinely available via the NHS.

Why Is Health Insurance For Couples Important?

If you’re experiencing a health issue, you’ll want to see your GP as soon as possible. However, many people wait weeks just to get an appointment at their doctor’s surgery. Joint Health Insurance can help to speed up this process, ensuring you get a swift diagnosis and the care you or your partner need.

Samantha Haffenden-Angear, Independent Protection Expert at Drewberry

While you’ll need a GP referral to access private care, most insurers now offer virtual GP services. You can speak to a healthcare professional much sooner (without leaving your home) and get medical advice at a time that’s convenient to you.

Samantha Haffenden-Angear
Independent Protection Expert

How Does Joint Health Insurance Work?

A Joint Health Insurance policy works in the same way as a single Private Health Insurance policy. The only difference being a joint policy covers 2 people rather than just 1.

You’ll pay monthly or annual premiums, which then gives you access to private healthcare for eligible acute conditions. Your level of cover will depend on the policy options you and your partner select during the setup of the policy.

If you need to make a claim, a claims form must be submitted to the insurer. Again, depending on the level of cover you have, the insurer will confirm if you’re eligible for private care.

GOOD TO KNOW! 🤓
It’s easy to add children to the policy to create a Family Health Insurance plan, ensuring you, your spouse and kids are covered.

Does It Replace The NHS?

No matter how comprehensive the joint policy is, it will never fully replace the NHS, instead it is designed to compliment it.

For example you will still need to use it for accidents and emergencies, pregnancy and chronic conditions. Your NHS GP will also remain at the forefront of your healthcare.

However, the level at which you and your spouse will use the NHS depends on your policy options. You’ll see how this works in the upcoming infographics.

Joint Health Insurance Without Outpatient Cover

Without any outpatient cover included on the policy, you’ll both use the NHS for all outpatient care. This includes diagnostic tests and scans.

Your GP will refer you to NHS facilities for diagnosis. After this, you’ll then be referred to a private facility for treatment if the policy covers the health concern in question.

But given NHS waiting times, opting for no outpatient care on your policy could delay private inpatient treatment you need. With this in mind, we recommend our clients to at least add some level of this to their policy.

Joint Health Insurance With Outpatient Cover

If you decide to pay an additional premium in order to speed up the diagnostic process, your journey to private treatment is a little different.

Instead of your GP referring you to the NHS, you’ll be referred to a private facility straight away. While it does cost more to include outpatient cover on your Joint Health Insurance, it enables you to treat symptoms sooner rather than later.

IMPORTANT NOTICE❗️
Adding outpatient services increases premiums, but it’s a more comprehensive option. It speeds up your diagnosis and treatment, and it’s carried out privately.

Chronic Vs Acute Conditions

Like all medical Insurance, Joint Health Insurance, only covers eligible acute conditions. So, it’s essential to know the difference between acute and chronic conditions.

  • Chronic conditions
    This refers to health problems that are with you for life. Doctors are unable to cure them, but they can help you to manage your symptoms. For example, diabetes and asthma
  • Acute conditions
    Acute conditions are those that are ‘fixed’ with time and treatment. This includes cataracts requiring removal or joint pain, which is fixable through a joint replacement.

Even with Joint Private Health Insurance in place, the NHS provides all ongoing management of chronic health problems. There isn’t a single provider on the UK market that covers lifelong conditions.

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What Does Joint Private Health Insurance Cover?

Aside from the core cover (you’ll find a breakdown of the features below), there are a range of policy options to choose from. These decisions will affect how comprehensive your joint policy is, as well as the price and the treatments covered.

Inpatient Or Outpatient Treatment

It’s important to distinguish between inpatient and outpatient care. All of your healthcare needs, whether private or on the NHS, are either Inpatient or Outpatient.

  • Inpatient/Day-Patient
    This is any treatment which requires a hospital bed, either overnight (inpatient) or for a day (day-patient). Inpatient/Day-Patient care includes surgeries, such as removing an appendix due to appendicitis
  • Outpatient
    Outpatient care refers to any care you or your partner has without needing a hospital bed. Diagnostic testing, scans and physiotherapy are considered outpatient. For example, procedures like cataract removal, joint replacements and colonoscopies.
EXPERT TIP 🤓
All UK Joint Health Insurance providers cover inpatient care in full. This is standard across the board. And as we have mentioned, outpatient services are available for an additional cost.

Health Insurance for couples tends to include the following as standard:

  • Cancer care
  • Diagnostic testing, such as MRI scans and blood tests
  • Private hospital access and nursing care
  • Surgery as inpatient or day-patient.

Then, depending on your policy options, you may also get:

  • Mental health cover
  • Full outpatient care
  • Complementary therapies, such as acupuncture, homeopathy and chiropody
  • Physiotherapy.

Cancer Cover

Cancer cover is one of the most valuable elements of any Medical Insurance policy. In fact, many of our clients buy a policy for the extensive cancer cover alone.

Cancer cover typically includes:

  • Chemotherapy
  • Radiotherapy
  • Biological / hormone therapies
  • Cancer surgery / reconstruction.

It can also provide access to cutting-edge drugs, treatments and procedures the NHS might not cover due to costs. Depending on your provider and level of cover, you may get access to other elements of cancer care, such as:

  • The option to have chemotherapy at home rather than in hospital
  • Cash towards wigs / prosthetics you require as a result of cancer treatment / surgery
  • Money towards scalp cooling to reduce chemotherapy hair loss
  • Donations to a hospice if you need palliative care
  • Access to a set number of days of home nursing, where a private nurse visits you at home during your care.

What Doesn’t Health Insurance For Couples Cover?

All insurance policies have exclusions. It doesn’t matter your age, your health or location, these exclusions apply to all policyholders:

  • Pre-existing medical conditions
  • Emergency care (the NHS is always there for this)
  • Health issues arising due to substance abuse
  • Pregnancy / fertility treatment
  • Cosmetic surgery that’s deemed as not medically necessary
  • HIV / AIDs
  • Kidney dialysis
  • Self-inflicted injuries, such as those caused by dangerous sports / hobbies.

Additional Support & Services

The UK Private Medical Insurance landscape has developed over the years. Many insurers now offer a variety of free additional benefits, aiming to further support your health and wellbeing.

When opting for a couples policy, it’s always worth checking which additional benefits providers offer. You may have access to:

  • Remote GP services
  • Health screenings
  • Physiotherapy sessions
  • Stress & mental health support
  • Second medical opinions
  • Retail discount platforms.

Do We Need Couples Health Insurance?

Whether or not you need Joint Health Insurance is down to your own personal circumstances. However, more and more people are now putting this particular cover in place.

While the NHS does a fantastic job, our beloved healthcare system is under unprecedented strain. From budget cuts, a lack of staff, and increased demand, waiting times are soaring.

Joint Health Insurance can make the treatment process quicker, meaning you don’t have to wait weeks or months for medical attention. When you combine this with the joint policy aspect, you’ll save time in both respects. Shorter waiting times and less hassle buying cover!

Many of us juggle busy lifestyles, so arranging insurance sometimes takes the backseat. With Joint Health Insurance, rather than 2 policies, you and your partner are covered under 1.

This reduces time spent setting up plans and reduces paperwork. You’ll receive 1 set of policy documents and 1 renewal date. It cuts the admin in half.

Alex Weir
Independent Health & Protection Expert

How Much Does Joint Health Insurance Cost?

The decisions you make when setting up the policy determine how comprehensive it is, and therefore, the price of a policy. Generally speaking, the more comprehensive the higher the premiums.

It’s difficult to provide a solid figure, as many factors affect the policy and its pricing. That said, the cost of Joint Health Insurance should typically work out to be double a policy for one person.

But this is assuming all policy metrics are the same. E.g. Both partners are non-smokers, the same age and have similar medical histories. It’s safe to say that the chances of this scenario popping up are quite low.

Here are the contributing factors:

The Insurer

Each insurer will charge a different monthly premium due to its appetite for risk and the variety of services it offers. Since every provider is different, it’s best to shop around when buying Joint Health Insurance.

To highlight the differences in cost from provider to provider, here’s an example. Premiums are based upon:

  • A couple aged 35 who are both non-smokers
  • Comprehensive cover
  • A £250 excess.

Different Providers

Freedom Health Insurance AXA Health Insurance

£128.36 a month

£189.02 a month

Joint Health Insurance quotes accurate as of October 2023

The Level Of Outpatient Cover

There are differing levels of outpatient cover. These will affect the cost of your policy.

  • Mid-range outpatient cover
    This can provide up to £1,500 worth of outpatient care, offering a happy medium between no outpatient cover and full cover
  • Full outpatient cover
    Opting for this level of outpatient cover is the most expensive. But it does offer you and your partner access to private outpatient treatment from the outset.

Using the same policy factors as above, here are some quotes to show you how outpatient cover impacts cost.

Level Of Outpatient Cover

Type Of Policy

Outpatient Cover

Cost

Basic

£0

£91.03

Mid-Range

£1,500

£118.34

Comprehensive

Full

£128.36

Joint Health Insurance quotes accurate as of October 2023

An Excess

An excess is the amount you’ll have to pay upfront towards your care before the policy kicks in to cover the rest. This is normally paid out once per policy year.

The higher your excess, the lower your premiums.

Excesses range from £0 to £5,000. Opting for the highest amount will provide significant premium savings, compared to a £0 excess. However, this does not mean you should automatically select the highest amount. You’ll pay this sum upfront before getting treatment, so it needs to be affordable.

Take a look at the following quotes to get a better understanding of how excess impacts the overall premium. This is based on the same criteria above (comprehensive cover for a couple aged 35).

Level Of Excess

Excess Amount

Monthly Premium

£0

£151.00

£100

£135.90

£500

£117.03

Joint Health Insurance quotes accurate as of October 2023

Your Ages

The older you and your partner are, the more likely you are to develop a health condition. To protect against this risk, insurers charge older people more for cover.

Using the same example as above, we’ve provided some examples of Joint Health Insurance costs.

Ages

Monthly Premium

35-year-old couple

£128.36

45-year-old couple

£175.14

55-year-old couple

£240.39

Joint Health Insurance quotes accurate as of Oct 2023

Smoker Status

Some Joint Health Insurance providers will bump up the costs for smokers due to the health risks.

All the previous cost examples we’ve given you are for a non-smoking couple. To show you the price change, the following quotes are examples of 2 non-smokers and 2 smokers for a joint AXA policy.

🚭

🚬

£189.02 a month

£207.78 a month

Joint Health Insurance quotes accurate as of Oct 2023

Treatment Facilities

Joint Health Insurance doesn’t make you eligible for treatment in any private facility.

When you buy a policy, you’ll choose a hospital network which determines where you can have private treatment. Just like outpatient care, there are tiers of cover.

A hospital network with the top private hospitals in the UK, including those in Central London, is the most expensive. This price reflects the cost of care in these facilities.

You can pick a limited hospital network that covers care in local private facilities or private wings of NHS hospitals. If you’re not too fussed about where you receive treatment, a limited hospital network can reduce the cost of premiums.

GOOD TO KNOW! 🤓
There is also an option called Guided Care in which you’ll choose a treatment facility from a shortlist of hospitals and consultants. Depending on the insurer, Guided Care can be cheaper than a hospital network with unrestricted access.

Your Location

And our final factor is your location. Where you and your partner live plays a part in your Couples Health Insurance application.

If you live in an area where private healthcare is more expensive for the insurer, your premiums will reflect this.

How To Reduce The Cost Of Joint Health Insurance

There’s often a stigma attached to Private Medical Insurance, in that it’s too expensive for the everyday person. But in reality, insurers are aware of the potential cost barriers and offer several ways to reduce the cost to fit your budget.

You can pay less by:

1. Adjusting Your Excess

Choosing an affordable excess is a great way of reducing costs without compromising on your level of cover.

While you can opt for a £0 excess, most insurers offer £100 as their cheapest option. Excesses can go all the way up to £5,000, depending on the provider.

It might seem a good idea to choose the highest excess, especially if you and your partner are on a budget. But should you be unable to afford this amount when making a claim, the initial money saving does more harm than good.

Select an excess amount you can afford. There’s no use selecting a £1,000 excess if that sum is out of your price range.

Alex Weir
Independent Health & Protection Expert

2. Limiting Outpatient Cover

Adding outpatient cover to your Joint Health Insurance policy increases premiums.

Your options here are to:

  • Opt for Low Cost Health Insurance which means both of you will use the NHS for all outpatient care
  • Choose a middle ground by limiting the amount of outpatient cover you’re eligible for.

Without any outpatient cover, you may experience delays in accessing private inpatient services. With this in mind, we tend to recommend you include at least some level of outpatient cover.

The limited outpatient cover option enables you to still access outpatient services, just at a limited monetary value. Depending on the insurer, this is either £1,000 or £1,500, meaning this is the highest amount an insurer will cover.

A mid-range policy will be cheaper than full cover, but still offer some level of outpatient care.

3. Opting For A Limited Hospital Network

Every Joint Health Insurance provider offers a tiered scale of facilities you and your partner can receive treatment in.

Generally, the top tier consists of the best private facilities in the country. However, this does include the most expensive hospitals in Central London. Choosing this hospital network increases premiums.

But by selecting a restricted network, you’ll pay less for your Joint Health Insurance. While it does limit where treatment can be sought, you still get your care privately.

4. Choosing The 6 Week NHS Wait Option

Another way of reducing how much you pay for Couples Health Insurance is the 6 week NHS wait option.

If you add this, then upon making a claim your insurer will look at your local NHS waiting times for the inpatient treatment you need. If the waiting list is less than 6 weeks, you’ll receive care from the NHS.

But if the NHS waiting list is longer than 6 weeks, your Joint Health Insurance policy kicks in. You’ll then be eligible to receive inpatient care privately. The same applies if the NHS doesn’t cover the procedure you need.

GOOD TO KNOW 🤓
The 6 week wait option only applies to inpatient treatment.

5. Reviewing The Market Regularly

Now, this is one to consider once you’ve got a policy. As all Joint Health Insurance policies renew annually, you may find premiums increase year by year to reflect healthcare costs and inflation.

This is where a full market review before your renewal period is essential. If your premiums have increased from the previous year, a market review can help to identify if you’re still getting the best coverage for your money.

Part of our services at Drewberry™ include a market review at the time of renewal. One of our expert advisers will be more than happy to help you compare Joint Health Insurance quotes on your behalf.

Switching Providers

If we find a better deal for your policy with another provider, we can help to facilitate the switch. While switching providers is possible, it’s best left to the experts as the new policy needs to be on a Continued Personal Medical Exclusions basis.

We can ensure you and your partner continue to get the same level of cover with your new provider as your last. The insurer will not add any new exclusions to the policy which don’t already exist on your current joint plan.

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What Is The Best Health Insurance For Couples?

You have five major UK Health Insurance providers to choose from:

There are many factors to consider and a range of policy options to pick from. The best Private Health Insurance is subjective as a result. Your Joint Health Insurance policy needs to suit both you and your partner’s healthcare needs as well as your budget, for example.

There are some smaller, specialist providers that may better suit your needs. At Drewberry, we have access to the entire market. We’ll compare Joint Health Insurance quotes from every insurer in the UK, so you can be sure you’re getting the best cover for the best price.

Common Joint Health Insurance Questions

  • Can unmarried couples be on the same policy?

    Yes. You’re eligible for Joint Health Insurance as long as you live with your partner. In fact, even if you don’t reside together, you may be able to buy a family plan together.

    The best fit for you and your partner depends on your individual circumstances and needs. It’s worth speaking to a financial adviser who can help find the right policy for you.

  • What if my partner has a pre-existing condition?

    The policy terms and conditions relating to your medical history will be different from your partners.

    When applying for Joint Health Insurance, you’ll likely to disclose your medical history, so you’ll both know what you’re covered for once the policy is active.

    If you’re worried about an existing health concern impacting your cover, please don’t hesitate to give us a call. We can answer any questions you may have and help to arrange the most suitable joint policy for your circumstances. Call us on 02074425880 or email help@drewberry.co.uk.

  • Can I still get a policy if my partner is pregnant?

    Yes, you can. However, it’s important to be aware that the policy will not cover routine pregnancy related healthcare. This is an exclusion placed on all Medical Insurance policies.

    That said, some Joint Health Insurance providers may cover complications that arise due to pregnancy. Coverage differs from insurer to insurer, so it’s best to check what your policy covers from the outset.

  • Is it cheaper to get Joint Health Insurance than individual policies?

    In most cases, the cost of Joint Health Insurance works out to be the combined price of 2 individual policies. Some insurers may offer a small discount as an incentive, but it’s dependent entirely on the insurer.

    You may find that buying a joint policy ends up costing more than individual ones if you or your partner have different medical histories. For example, if you have a pre-existing condition, the cost of the policy may increase.

Compare Joint Health Insurance Quotes & Get Expert Advice

With so much to consider when buying Joint Health Insurance, getting the best cover can be a bit overwhelming. So why not ask an expert for advice?

Our team of financial advisers are experts; they know the providers and policy features like the back of their hands. This puts us in a great position to offer you advice and recommendations for your joint policy.

We’ll search the insurance market on your behalf and help you to make an informed decision on the best Joint Health Insurance policy for you. If you’d like our help in choosing and setting up a policy, give us a call on 02074425880. One of our advisers will be happy to help. Alternatively, email help@drewberry.co.uk and we’ll get back to you.

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