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
Treatment With Outpatient Cover
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.
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.