Low Cost Health Insurance

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11/04/2022
10 mins

Private Health Insurance provides access to private medical treatment paid for at least in part by your insurer. Utilising the UK’s private health network enables you to bypass potentially long 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 includes 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) 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. Outpatient treatment that might be necessary in the lead up to your admission to hospital, such as diagnostic tests will not be covered.

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

Treatment Without Outpatient Cover

Basic Cover No Outpatient Cover

Treatment With Outpatient Cover

Comprehensive Outpatient Cover

Holding a policy without outpatient cover will save money. However, you run the risk of delayed treatment due to NHS waiting lists 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

You can opt to have a limited amount of outpatient cover as a halfway house.

The will be capped at a monetary amount and / or a set number of sessions each policy year. It provides at least some cover for outpatient diagnostic tests.

A policy with limited outpatient cover would typically be considered a ‘mid-range’ policy. A 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.

EXPERT TIP 🎓
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 any diagnostic tests / scans will 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 reduce the cost as they tend to be the priciest facilities in the country.

If you live in Scotland or Northern Ireland you can reduce the cost by limiting cover to healthcare facilities in these countries.

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Switching to Cheaper Health Insurance

If you have an existing Health Insurance policy it is likely you have seen premiums increase over time. By regularly reviewing your policy you may be able to switch to a cheaper provider at renewal.

Given the complexities of switching providers it is best to get the help of an expert. This is even more important if you have pre-existing medical conditions.

An expert adviser can make sure that the new lower cost policy is a good match for your previous plan so your cover can continue seamlessly.

If you need help please don’t hesitate to pop us a call on 02074425880 or email help@drewberry.co.uk.

IMPORTANT NOTICE 🧐
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 careful if you are looking to switch providers for a lower premium. You do not want to end up with an existing medical condition no longer being covered.

Nadeem Farid
Head of Employee Benefits at Drewberry

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. 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 state of health and other factors are different, it’s hard to know which provider will offer the cheapest Health Insurance.

    However, 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 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. You can remove outpatient cover altogether — which would be a truly basic low-cost Health Insurance policy. Or you can opt for limited outpatient cover which would place a monetary limit on your cover each year.
    • Limiting your hospital list
      Central London has by far the most expensive hospitals and facilities in the country. A policy that gives you access to these will be far more expensive than one that includes a reduced hospital list. A reduced list 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.

    Your medical journey will typically start with an appointment with your NHS GP. 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.

    Private GP Service

    Many Health Insurance providers are increasingly waking up to the fact that NHS GP services are creaking at the seams.

    As a solution to this problem, certain providers 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.

Compare Top 5 UK Health Insurance Companies

To ensure you find the lowest cost cover it is important to do your research and compare the top providers in the UK.

We have written expert reviews on each of the leading providers below as well as an overview to help you get the best health cover for your needs.

The most common insurers we work with include:

In addition to these 5 core providers there are additional niche insurers such as General & Medical and Freedom. These providers can offer competitive policies for public sector workers or those needing a level of overseas cover.

FREE Additional Benefits

In addition to the core cover many insurers now offer a great range of everyday benefits at no additional cost. These services include:

  • 24 / 7 Virtual GP service
  • Nurse led medical helpline
  • Online physiotherapy sessions
  • High street discounts

If you are in a position where you want to compare all the leading insurers and their free benefits you can use our quote tool here →

Get Cheap Health Insurance Quotes & Expert Advice

With a vast range of options 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. We’re on hand 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.

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.

  • There is no fee for our service
  • We are an award winning 🏆 independent insurance broker who works with all the leading UK insurers
  • You’ll speak to a dedicated expert from start to finish
  • We are very proud of the 3325 and growing independent client reviews rating us at 4.92 / 5
  • Claims support when you need it most.
  • We are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. You can find us on the financial services register here 🧐
  • Claims support when you need it most.

If it is all getting a little confusing and you want to talk through your options please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Pop us a call on 02074425880 or email help@drewberry.co.uk.

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Contact Us

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85 Queen Victoria Street
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EC4V 4AB
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125-135 Preston Road
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BN1 6AF
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If you are unhappy with our service, we have a complaints procedure, details of which are available upon request. If you are unhappy with how your complaint has been dealt with, you may be able to refer your complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS). The FOS website is www.financial-ombudsman.org.uk.

Drewberry Ltd is registered in England and Wales. Companies House No. 06675912

Drewberry Ltd registered office: Telecom House, Preston Road, Brighton, England, BN1 6AF. Telephone 0208 432 7333

Drewberry Ltd (Financial Conduct Authority No. 505473) is an Appointed Representative of Quilter Wealth Limited and Quilter Mortgage Planning

Limited, which are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

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