Over 50s Health Insurance

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Can Retirees Get Health Insurance?

Over 50s Health Insurance provides access to private healthcare for those at or near retirement.

It is possible to get cover if you’re in this age bracket; however, many people resist purchasing a policy because they suspect that it will be too expensive due to their age.

While it’s true that any insurance policy becomes more expensive as we get older, there are a few ways in which your cover can be adjusted to make policies more affordable.

In this guide to PMI for people aged 50+, we will show you what kinds of cover are available and how to find the right Medical Insurance policy for you.

While there are some challenges to finding a policy after you reach a certain age, it is very possible. The trick to finding an affordable policy is choosing the right options and putting in the work to find out what’s available.

What Does Over 50s Health Insurance Cover?

In general, Health Insurance is used to cover the treatment of acute conditions, which are illnesses that can be reversed with treatment.

Chronic conditions, on the other hand, require long-term management but can’t be cured. These are rarely ever covered by Private Health Insurance policies.

Acute vs Chronic Conditions

Acute Conditions

Chronic Conditions

Broken bones




Joint replacement surgery

High blood pressure


Crohn’s disease

Cover Options

There are a range of options to choose from that can adjust the cover of over 50s Health Insurance. These will all have an impact on the cost of Medical Insurance, which means that you will need to think carefully about which ones you need.

One of the most important decisions you will have to make when you start looking at policies is deciding the types of treatments that you want to be covered for.

There are three different types of care that you can be covered for:

  • Inpatient care
    Treatment which requires a hospital bed for at least one night, usually after a major surgery
  • Day-patient care
    Treatment that requires a hospital bed just for the day but you’re released from the hospital the same day as the procedure, usually after a minor surgery
  • Outpatient care
    Treatment that doesn’t require the use of a hospital bed at all, such as diagnostic tests / scans and therapy such as physiotherapy.

Basic PMI policies cover inpatient and usually day-patient care as standard – this is usually known as ‘core’ cover.

As such, over 50s Health Insurance policies will almost always cover serious procedures such as operations, providing they’re for an acute condition and aren’t excluded in your policy’s terms.

Most outpatient treatments, however, are rarely covered automatically – cover for these treatments is typically provided as an optional extra which you’ll need to pay more for.

Outpatient cover typically includes diagnostic consultations, tests, scan, procedures and therapies. If you choose not to add outpatient cover to your Medical Insurance, then you’ll need to use the NHS for such treatment, potentially delaying your care.

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Options for Healthcare After Retirement

You have a few different options to choose from to receive the medical care you may need after retirement. However, not all of these options will be accessible for everyone.

NHS Provided Healthcare

The most obvious alternative to private healthcare would be the NHS, which has the benefit of being free at the point of use.

However, in recent years it has been put under a lot of pressure and because of this there are some instances where the NHS might fall short of providing your desired level of care.

One of the biggest issues with using the NHS’s services is the waiting times for treatments. In March 2018, 2,755 of the 3.84 million patients waiting to start treatment had been waiting more than 52 weeks.

The NHS is also there to pick up on any healthcare needs that aren’t met by Private Medical Insurance, such as management of chronic conditions and GP and emergency care.

Self-Funded Private Healthcare

If you want private medical treatments but don’t want to pay for insurance, you do have the option to pay for your treatments using your savings.

However, due to our increased susceptibility to illnesses and injuries as we get older, it is very possible that funding your own treatment will be far more expensive than a PMI policy.

Ultimately, one of the biggest issues with self-funded private treatment is affordability. Not everyone is capable of paying out of their own pocket for private treatments.

Continuing a Company Provided Policy

If you received Health Insurance from your last place of work in the form of a Group Health Insurance policy, there is a possibility that you will be able to carry your cover over into your retirement on an individual basis.

A lot of the benefits and drawbacks of carrying on a Group Health policy are dependent on your insurer and your employer.

As the terms of your cover are up to them, you can’t know for sure whether you will be covered or if the cover you get would be worth the cost after you retire.

Essentially, the cost of keeping a group health insurance policy after retirement is something that you can’t always rely on.

Not everyone’s situation will be the same and some insurers may hike up the cost of your cover after retirement to reflect the fact that you’re no longer part of a group and are underwritten on an individual basis.

Personal Policy

A Personal Health Insurance policy is the most common option to cover the cost of private healthcare. There are a variety of options available that allow you to match your policy to your needs and your budget.

Yet getting a personal policy in retirement can be tricky, taking a considerable amount of work to find and maintain.

Not only will you need to look thoroughly for a good value policy, but you will also need to review it regularly to ensure that you have the best policy for the price you’re paying.

Drew Nelson Health & Wellbeing Expert at Drewberry

When it comes to finding and maintaining Medical Insurance after retirement, it really pays off to have an expert on your side.

We can help you find the right policy as well as help you look around for potential alternative policies each year to make sure you’re still getting the best deal.

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

Drew Nelson
Health & Wellbeing Expert at Drewberry

Can I Get Health Insurance if I’m Over 65?

While these policies might not be overly common, it is possible to find Private Health Insurance over 65.

However, it can be difficult and comes with a fair number of challenges which may require the expertise of an adviser to tackle.

What are the Main Challenges of Buying Medical Insurance Over 65?

The cost of Health Insurance for people over 65 years old is the first challenge that you’ll face when looking for a policy.

As you get older you’re more likely to claim on your insurance compared to a younger person, so providers tend to make up for the extra risk by increasing the cost of a policy.

The older you are when you apply for your policy, the more expensive your starting premiums are likely to be.

If you are already facing some of the medical issues associated with age, there is a chance that your policy will have reduced cover.

This is because, depending on your underwriting, your insurer may exclude some of the health issues that you may have experienced in the years prior to taking out your policy. These are known as ‘pre-existing conditions’.

Most insurers will have an age limit for which people can apply for a policy. Some providers set this limit as low as 65, but there are some insurance providers that don’t have any age limit at all.

Nadeem Farid Head of Employee Benefits at Drewberry

These challenges can make it difficult to find cover if you’re over 65, but an experienced insurance adviser will know how to tackle these challenges and find a policy to suit your needs, taking care of all the legwork for you.

Nadeem Farid
Head of Employee Benefits at Drewberry

How Much Does Over 50s Health Insurance Cost?

Your Health Insurance policy is going to be priced based on a range of factors:

  • Level of outpatient cover
  • Optional add-ons
  • Your address
  • Your age
  • Smoker status
  • Your medical history and current state of health.

Some factors that influence the cost of your policy are things that you are unable to control, like your age or your medical history. However, there are a few ways in which you can adjust the cost of your policy to keep it affordable even as you get older.

Example Cost of Private Health Insurance

To come up with the below premium prices for adults aged 50+, we’ve assumed:

  • The individual is in good health
  • They’re non-smokers
  • They’re looking for a comprehensive policy
  • They’re willing to pay a £250 excess
  • They’ll be underwritten on a moratorium basis
  • They don’t want any additional extras on their policy
  • They’re based in the same postcode as our Brighton office.



Age 50


Age 55


Age 60


Age 65


Can I Reduce the Cost of my Health Insurance Policy?

Ultimately, you can reduce the cost of your policy by limiting your insurance so that it covers only the necessities.

Stripping your policy of non-core cover options, like outpatient benefits or routine dental/optical cover, are the first things you can do to bring down the cost of your policy.


One of the best options to reduce the cost of cover when you apply for your policy is the excess.

An excess is an amount that you agree to contribute per year or per claim. The more you agree to pay upfront, the lower your premiums will be.

6 week NHS wait

Another option to make a policy more cost effective is to add a 6 Week Deferment.

With this option, you would only be able to make a claim if the wait time for your treatment on the NHS is longer than 6 weeks for inpatient care.

When you add this option, the cost of your policy can be brought down considerably and you stand a better chance of protecting your no-claims bonus if your policy has one.

Keeping your no-claims discount intact could mean a far gentler increase in your premiums the following year.

Hospital list

Some insurers give you a range of options to choose from in terms of the facilities and hospitals where you can receive your treatments.

To lower the cost of your policy you can choose a reduced hospital list. This limits the hospitals you can visit to a certain area or means that you receive your treatment in a private ward in an NHS hospital rather than visiting an entirely private hospital.

Is Health Insurance for Over 50s Worth It?

For many of us, our later years are punctuated by periods of ill health, which is why post-retirement may be the time when a Health Insurance policy is most relevant to your needs.

According to AgeUK, out of the 18.7 million adults admitted to hospital in 2017, 7.6 million (41%) were aged 65 and over.

The number of older people requiring inpatient care has also risen considerably over the past few years, with 16.2 million older individuals admitted to hospital between 2015 and 2016. They are also staying an average of 9.1 days per admission while the average across all age groups is 5 days.

While a Health Insurance policy won’t necessarily meet all of your healthcare needs in retirement, such as admissions for chronic, pre-existing conditions or emergency conditions, it can go a long way to helping in areas such as skipping queues for treatments such as joint replacement surgeries.

Taking out Health Insurance in Retirement

  • Step 1: Decide what you want from your policy and how much you want to spend
    Look carefully at the options available and decide the level of cover you’ll need. It is important to think realistically about how much you are willing to spend on an insurance policy.
  • Step 2: Look at insurers and the policy options they have available
    Most insurers offer highly flexible over 50s Health Insurance policies that you can adjust to your needs, so you should look at the options they provide for your policy.
  • Step 3: Compare Health Insurance quotes and decide which insurer gives you the best value policy
    After you have developed an idea of what you want from your policy, it is time to start comparing quotes. You can do this by going to each insurer individually, or you can ask Drewberry for help. Our advisers are able to collect quotes for you and summarise their findings in an easy-to-read report.
  • Step 4: Apply for your policy and provide your insurer with the necessary documentation
    Once you have decided on your provider and policy, you can complete your application. Depending on the type of underwriting you choose, you may be asked to fill out a medical questionnaire as part of your application.
  • Step 5: Finalise your application and begin paying your premiums to maintain your policy
    Your insurance provider will give you all of the details of your policy after they have accepted your application. This will tell you how and when you will need to pay your premiums as well as give you an explanation of the process involved in making a claim.
  • Step 6: Review your policy on a regular basis and compare it with other policies on the market
    Health Insurance after retirement shouldn’t be left alone and forgotten about. To ensure that you are getting the best deal for your insurance policy, you will need to review it on a regular basis to see how your cover compares.
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Common Over-50s Health Insurance Questions

  • How Can I Get Cheaper Health Insurance?

    If the above cost of Health Insurance is a little out of your price range, there’s plenty you can do to reduce the cost of cover.

    The above policies are comprehensive, meaning they pay for inpatient and outpatient treatment in full. A mid-range policy, the next level down from comprehensive, will limit the amount of outpatient cover you’re entitled to each policy year and could therefore save you money.

    The excess is also set to £250; many providers allow an excess up £1,000 per policy year, so if you have the capacity to fund the first £500 or £1,000 of your treatment yourself this may be an option for you to to reduce the cost of Health Insurance premiums.

    Another option might be to reduce the hospital list you’re entitled to have treatment in. Hospital lists arrange from private wards in NHS hospitals all the way up to pricy Central London hospitals and facilities, such as those on Harley Street. Opting for a lower tier of available hospitals could save you cash each policy year.

    The last major way to get cheaper Health Insurance is to consider implementing the 6 week NHS wait option on your policy. This means that if the treatment you’re entitled to is available on the NHS in your local area with a wait of less than 6 weeks, you’ll use the NHS for your treatment. It’s only if the treatment you need either isn’t available on the NHS or the wait is longer than 6 weeks that your Health Insurance policy kicks in.

    This strikes a good balance between having the option of fast treatment — in 6 weeks or less — but reducing the cost of the policy.

  • Can You Get Joint Over 50s Health Insurance?

    Yes, you can. At Drewberry we commonly see partners in their 50s or older taking out Joint Health Insurance, which rolls up all of the administration for two people under one policy.

    Although not necessarily any cheaper than two separate policies — in the UK, Private Health Insurance costs are generally linear, meaning the price to cover two people is usually double the cost of covering one person — many people combine their policies for ease of administration.

  • Does Health Insurance Cover Surgery?

    Yes, all Health Insurance policies cover surgery as standard. Surgery is known as inpatient treatment, or treatment requiring the use of a hospital bed for at least one night.

    Common surgical procedures paid for by over-50s Health Insurance policies include joint replacements, all the way up to more serious and less routine operations, such as heart bypass surgery or the removal of cancerous tissue.

    Such procedures can cost tens of thousands of pounds if you were to pay to have them done privately out of your own pocket.

  • Does Health Insurance Increase if You Use it?

    Yes, as with many other types of insurance, the more claims you make on a policy the more likely it is that the price will increase the following year.

    Private Health Insurance works on a no claims discount basis, where if you make no claims on your policy the price may stay the same or even fall depending on how many years you’ve passed without making a claim.

    However, if you make a claim, you start to lose that no claims discount and are pushed down a few ‘tiers’ every time you claim. The more times you claim, the more likely you are to be pushed down tiers in the no claims discount structure sufficiently so that it triggers and increase the following policy year.

  • What Counts as a Pre-Existing Condition?

    Any condition that you had prior to taking out the policy will be classed as pre-existing. If you had it before the start date of the policy, that’s counted as a pre-existing condition.

    How pre-existing conditions are treated for Health Insurance depends very much on not only your insurer, but also the type of underwriting you have.

    As an individual, you have two types of underwriting available to you: full medical underwriting and moratorium underwriting.

    Moratorium Underwriting (MORI)

    If you opt for this underwriting, any medical condition for which you have sought medical advice for in the last 5 years would be automatically excluded.

    However, most insurers offer what’s referred to as a ‘rolling moratorium’. Under this, you may be able to apply to have the excluded condition / area of the body re-included in your cover if you serve 2 years on the policy without receiving any advice, medication or treatment for that condition.

    A very small number of insurers offer what is called a ‘fixed moratorium’ and this usually means that even if you have sought medical advice for the (excluded) condition in the 2 year period after the policy was taken out the insurer will re-include cover after the 2 years is up.

    Of course, the re-inclusion of any condition is subject to the insurer’s discretion.

    Full Medical Underwriting (FMU)

    Here you’re required to disclose any past medical conditions you’ve suffered from in the past on the application and the insurer would decide if they are able to offer cover for those conditions or not (note that different insurers may come back with different results).

    If an exclusion is placed on the plan it is usually possible to have that exclusion reviewed at each policy renewal but you would need to pay for medical evidence to be provided from your doctor to support your argument that the past condition is no longer a problem.

    Moratorium or Full Medical Underwriting?

    This all comes down to the nature of the medical condition that you have suffered. With full medical underwriting any potentially serious medical conditions that you have experienced in the past (even if it was over 5 years ago) may be excluded. With a moratorium this would not be the case if you last had symptoms over 5 years ago.

    On the other hand, with the moratorium method, a medical consultation for something that may not have actually amounted to anything could potentially exclude a whole area of the body if it was within the last 5 years. Additionally, something seemingly minor like a short period of back pain 4 years ago would result in an exclusion. This is unlikely to be the case with full underwriting.

  • Is There an Upper Age Limit on Health Insurance?

    Some providers will have an upper age limit on when you can take out a Health Insurance policy. This may be around age 75. However, if you have a policy that you took out before the age of 75, you may be able to continue with the policy after this age.

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Getting Over 50s Health Insurance Quotes & Expert Advice

Although it can get a little harder to find the most suitable Private Medical Insurance the older we get having an expert on hand to continual review the market can pay real dividends.

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.

We are here to offer impartial and, most importantly, fee-free Health Insurance advice.

If you want to talk through your options to make sure you are looking at the most suitable cover then don’t hesitate to  pop us a call on 02084327333.

Tom Conner
Director at Drewberry

I had a great experience with Drewberry, they have a lot of knowledge and expertise with life insurance and income protection and were able to advise me and arrange suitable products. Highly recommend.

Lachlan Mellings
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