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

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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

    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

    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

    Martyn Coates from Drewberry provided an excellent service with prompt handling of any question that we asked him. I would highly recommend Drewberry for anyone wanting Insurance.

    Kevin Eaton
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