Low Cost Health Insurance

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What is Private Health Insurance?

  • Private Health Insurance gives you access to private medical treatment paid for at least in part by your insurer, allowing you to bypass any NHS waiting lists.
  • You get high standards of care and access to the latest cutting edge drugs and treatments at superior facilities.
  • It provides more choice over when and where your treatment takes place and the specialists that treat you.
  • Tailor your policy to fit your budget, with a number of different options to consider.

What Does Private Health Insurance Cover?

All medical treatment is split into two broad categories:

  • Inpatient treatment
    Any treatment which requires a bed for at least one night.Inpatient treatment typically includes surgeries and also encompasses day-patient treatment, where you’re admitted to hospital for the day but don’t spend the night. Both inpatient and day-patient treatment are usually covered as standard by Health Insurance.
  • Outpatient treatment
    Includes diagnostic tests and procedures (scans, x-rays, blood tests) and treatments such as physiotherapy where you won’t need to be admitted to hospital. Outpatient care is an optional extra you can add on for an additional premium.

How to Get Low-Cost Health Insurance

To get cheaper Health Insurance premiums, there are a number of adjustments you can make to a policy to reduce the cost of cover.

The biggest adjustment to make is to opt for ‘basic’ Health Insurance from the outset. This will only cover inpatient care, not any of the outpatient treatment that might be necessary in the lead up to your admission to hospital, such as diagnostic tests.

The level of cover and type of treatment required will determine the exact process but the biggest impact on price is how much outpatient cover you choose to include in the policy.

Treatment Without Outpatient Cover

Private Health Insurance No Outpatient Process

Treatment With Outpatient Cover

Private Medical Insurance Outpatient Process

Holding a policy without outpatient cover will save money, but you run the risk of having to go through the NHS outpatient waiting list for diagnostic testing and initial consultations.

Drew Nelson Health & Wellbeing Expert at Drewberry

You’re more likely to use outpatient diagnostics and treatments such as physiotherapy than you are to need a big surgical procedure.

This means that cutting outpatient treatment out can significantly reduce the cost of your cover.

Drew Nelson
Health & Wellbeing Expert

Limited Outpatient Cover

As a halfway house between having no outpatient cover at all and the more expensive option of having full outpatient cover, you can opt to have a limited amount of outpatient cover.

This will be capped at a monetary amount and / or a set number of sessions each policy year, giving you at least some money towards outpatient diagnostic tests.

A policy with limited outpatient cover would typically be considered a ‘mid-range’ policy, which provides a nice balance between fully comprehensive cover that pays for everything and basic cover which only pays for inpatient care.

Add an Excess

Just like with car insurance, you can add an excess to your policy. This is the first amount you’ll pay towards your treatment before your Health Insurance kicks in to pay off the rest.

The larger your excess, the cheaper your insurance will be. Excesses usually start at around £100 and move upwards, all the way up to £5,000 with some providers for certain types of treatment.

A £0 excess is often available, but having no excess will significantly increase your premiums.

Don’t set your excess so high you wouldn’t be able to afford to pay it if you needed treatment just because it will result in cheaper premiums. Your excess needs to balance premium affordability with practicality.

6 Week NHS Wait

Including a 6 week wait option can result in significant premium savings each month, usually by around 20%.

If you decide to include this option then you agree to receive treatment on the NHS if the waiting list is less than 6 weeks long.

If you have to wait longer than 6 weeks then you would go private straight away. The 6 week wait option is therefore a useful method of gaining affordable health insurance and avoiding the longer NHS waiting lists.

Note that the 6 week NHS wait only applies to inpatient care (that which needs a hospital bed). If you’ve added outpatient treatment to your policy to receive cover for diagnostic tests / scans etc., this will all be taken care of privately as soon as possible.

Reduced Hospital Lists

Choosing a reduced hospital list is also another method of gaining low cost health insurance.

Some policies provide the option of choosing a hospital list of just NHS Trust and Partnership hospitals. This would limit your treatment to private wards in NHS hospitals.

Excluding London hospitals can also lead to premium savings because these are usually the priciest facilities in the country.

If you live in Scotland or Northern Ireland then it is possible to choose a hospital list that just includes healthcare facilities in those countries, also.

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Switching to Cheaper Health Insurance

If you have an existing Health Insurance policy and you find that the premiums have increased over time, you may be able to switch to a cheaper provider at renewal.

Given the complexities of switching providers particularly if you have pre-existing medical conditions it is best to get the help of an expert. They can make sure that the new lower cost policy is a good match for your previous plan so your cover can continue seamlessly.

Note that you’re unlikely to be able to switch if you’re in a claim or have recently made a claim on your policy.

If it’s not possible to switch, you may be able to adjust your policy in other ways.

Increasing your excess, reducing your hospital list and adding the 6 week NHS wait where available will all cut your premium.

Health Insurance is complicated, with lots of nuances and many adjustments you can make to get lower premiums.

Be very careful if you are looking to switch providers for a lower premium as you do not want to end up with an existing medical condition no longer being covered.

Nadeem Farid
Head of Employee Benefits at Drewberry

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Common Health Insurance Questions

  • How Much Does Health Insurance Cost in the UK?

    There are three ‘tiers’ of Health Insurance when you’re looking at the UK market:

    • Low-cost Health Insurance
      Typically doesn’t include any outpatient cover to reduce the cost of the policy. You’d need to use the NHS for all outpatient diagnostic tests, scans and consultations before the inpatient treatment kicks in.
    • Mid-tier Health Insurance
      This includes at least some outpatient cover, typically capped, say at £1,000 per policy year. It means you get a good balance between having no outpatient cover and paying for unlimited cover under Comprehensive Health Insurance.
    • Comprehensive Health Insurance
      Comprehensive Health Insurance typically covers both inpatient and outpatient cover in full. It may also include a range of options that could be only additional extras on low-cost and mid-tier plans, such as psychiatric cover.

    How Much is Health Insurance a Month for a Single Person?

    We’ve laid out the cost of UK Health Insurance for a single individual aged 30 living in the same postcode as our Brighton-based financial advisers across the three different Health Insurance tiers. Their excess is £250 per policy year.

    Low Cost Cover
    £35 per month

    Mid-Range Cover
    £60 per month

    Comprehensive Cover
    £70 per month

  • What is the Cheapest Health Insurance?

    As everyone’s circumstances, state of health and other factors are different, it’s hard to know which provider will offer the cheapest Health Insurance for you as an individual.

    However, generally speaking, there are a number of ways you can look to reduce the cost of your coverage and get cheaper Medical Insurance premiums, including:

    • Adding an excess
      An excess refers to the amount you’ll have to pay upfront for private medical treatment per policy year. As with car insurance, the larger the excess you’re willing and able to pay upfront before the policy kicks in and pays the rest, the lower your premiums will be.
    • Reducing outpatient cover
      Outpatient treatment is all treatment that doesn’t require the use of a hospital bed for the day or overnight. It includes consultations, tests, x-rays and scans. It’s commonly diagnostic procedures that allow you to skip the waiting lists on the NHS for such tests before you get access to inpatient, surgical care. You can remove outpatient cover altogether — which would be a basic, low-cost Health Insurance policy — or you can opt for limited outpatient cover (a mid-range policy). A fully comprehensive policy sees outpatient treatment covered in full.
    • Limiting your hospital list
      Central London has by far the most expensive hospitals and facilities in the country. Therefore, a policy that gives you access to these will be far more expensive than one that includes a reduced hospital list that will still cover a large range of private facilities, just not the UK’s most expensive hospitals.
    • Add the 6 week NHS wait
      If you include this option on your policy, you’ll be treated on the NHS if the waiting list for your condition is less than 6 weeks. It’s only if the treatment you need isn’t available on the NHS or the wait is longer than 6 weeks for that treatment that your Health Insurance policy kicks in.
  • What Doesn't Health Insurance Cover?

    In the UK, Health Insurance is not designed to replace the NHS entirely. For instance, you’ll still have to use the NHS for emergencies, normal pregnancy and the management of chronic conditions.

    For a referral for private treatment, your medical journey will typically start with an appointment with your NHS GP, another area of NHS / PMI crossover. You ask them for what’s known as an open referral and, once you have the details, go to your insurance company for authorisation for the claim. Once that’s been granted, you can visit the appropriate facility with your authorisation code for the treatment you need.

    While this has been the procedure for many years, many Health Insurance providers are increasingly waking up to the fact that NHS GP services, like other parts of the health service, are creaking at the seams and it can take weeks to get an appointment to see your GP.

    As a solution to this problem, certain providers have started bringing out mobile phone apps that allow you access to private video GP consultations via your smartphone. These GPs can make the same referrals as your NHS GP would be able to, just with a waiting list for an appointment of a fraction of the time.

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Compare Top 5 UK Health Insurance Companies


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.

  • Underwriting
    Full Medical Underwriting / Moratorium / Continued Personal Medical Exclusions
  • Excess
    £100 / £200 / £500 / £1,000 / £3,000 / £5,000 per year
  • Core Cover
    Inpatient and day-patient / cancer cover
  • Outpatient Cover
    £0 / Reduced (limited to £500 or £1,000) / Full outpatient cover

AXA PPP Healthcare

Based in Tunbridge Wells, AXA PPP Healthcare has helped people to access healthcare services since 1940.

  • Underwriting
    Full Medical Underwriting / Moratorium
  • Excess
    £100 / £250 / £500 / £1,000* / £2,500* / £5,000*
  • Core Cover
    Inpatient and day-patient / radio/chemotherapy** / Optional mental health cover
  • Outpatient Cover
    Standard or Full


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.

  • Underwriting
    Full Medical Underwriting / Moratorium
  • Excess
  • Core Cover
    Inpatient and day-patient / radio/chemotherapy / Mental health cover
  • Outpatient Cover
    Paid in full or with optional limits of £500 / £750 / £1,000

The Exeter

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+.

  • Underwriting
    Full Medical Underwriting / Fixed moratorium / Rolling moratorium / Continued personal medical exclusions
  • Excess
    £0 / £100 / £250 / £500 / £1,000 / £3,000 / £5,000
  • Core Cover
    Inpatient and day-patient / cancer cover
  • Outpatient Cover
    Paid in full or with optional limits of £500 / £1,000


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.

  • Underwriting
    Full Medical Underwriting / Moratorium / Continued personal medical exclusions
  • Excess
    £0 / £100 / £250 / £500 / £1,000 once a year or once per claim
  • Core Cover
    Inpatient and day-patient / cancer cover
  • Outpatient Cover
    Paid in full or with optional limits of £500 / £750 / £1,000 / £1,250 / £1,500

Get Cheap Health Insurance Quotes & Expert Advice

With all the different options and insurers available, choosing the most appropriate health insurance policy can be quite daunting. This is especially the case if it needs to be done on a budget.

We have years of experience in the Private Medical Insurance market and are here to help you navigate getting a policy in place, so why not speak to an adviser today?

Why Speak to Us?

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.

  • There is no fee for our service
  • We are independent and impartial
    Drewberry isn’t tied to any insurance company, so we can provide completely impartial advice to make sure you get the most appropriate policy based solely on your needs.
  • We’ve got bargaining power on our side
    This allows us to negotiate better premiums for you than you going direct yourself.
  • You’ll speak to a dedicated expert from start to finish
    You will speak to a named expert with a direct telephone and email. No more automated machines and no more being sent from pillar to post – you’ll have someone to speak to who knows you.
  • Benefit from our 5-star service
    We pride ourselves on providing a 5-star service, as can be seen from our 2049 and growing independent client reviews rating us at 4.92 / 5.
  • Gain the protection of regulated advice
    You are protected. Where we provide a regulated advice service we are responsible for the policy we set-up for you. Doing it yourself or going direct to an insurer won’t provide this protection, so you won’t benefit from these securities.
  • Claims support when you need it the most
    You have support should you need to make a claim. The most important thing when it comes to insurance is that claims are paid and quickly. We are here to support you during the claims process and make sure it’s as smooth and stress free as possible.
Drew Nelson Health & Wellbeing Expert at Drewberry

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 help@drewberry.co.uk.

Drew Nelson
Health & Wellbeing Expert at Drewberry

Very helpful from start to finish. Talked through all the points and gave great advice.

Darren Comer
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