Private Health Insurance for Seniors in the UK

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30-01-2021

Senior Health Insurance covers private healthcare costs for those in or approaching retirement. In exchange for monthly premiums, you get medical treatment for eligible conditions in private UK hospitals. This lets you bypass NHS waiting lists and get treatment exactly when you need it the most.

Many senior citizens use Health Insurance to cover the cost of treatment we’re all more likely to need as we age. For example, this could include having a joint replacement or requiring cancer care.

What Does Senior Health Insurance Cover?

All medical treatment, regardless of whether it’s private or NHS, is split into:

Inpatient and day-patient treatment

All policies cover this as standard. It involves any care where you need a hospital bed, either overnight (inpatient treatment) or just for the day (day-patient treatment). This includes major and minor surgery.

Outpatient cover

All care not needing a hospital bed. For example, this includes diagnostic tests / scans or treatment such as physiotherapy. It’s an optional extra you add to your policy for an additional premium.

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While it does increase premiums, we tend to recommend at least some level of outpatient cover with your Private Medical Insurance so you can access private outpatient care. It can considerably speed up the diagnosis of conditions compared to waiting for the NHS.

Cancer Cover

Most policies include this as standard. It’s one of the most valuable parts of any Health Insurance program as it can offer access to drugs and treatments not yet available on the NHS due to cost.

Cancer care generally includes:

  • Chemotherapy
  • Radiotherapy
  • Surgical procedures
  • Cash towards prostheses / wigs you require as a result of cancer treatment.

Chronic vs Acute Medical Conditions

There are two broad types of medical conditions: chronic and acute conditions.

Private Health Insurance only covers acute conditions. Acute conditions pass with time and treatment. For example, this might include joint pain resolvable with a joint replacement or the need for a heart bypass.

Chronic conditions, on the other hand, are with you for life. This includes long term conditions such as asthma and diabetes, which can’t be cured, only managed. PMI doesn’t cover chronic conditions and you’ll continue to receive healthcare for these under the NHS.

Do I Need Private Medical Insurance?

As we age, we become more susceptible to a variety of health problems and therefore need more healthcare.

According to AgeUK, 41% of the 18.7 million adults admitted to hospital in 2017 were aged 65+. Older people also stay in hospital longer. The average hospital stay stands at 9.1 days per admission for the elderly compared to 5 days across all age groups.

With NHS waiting lists rising, many older adults are waiting longer for treatment. This can be significantly detrimental to your quality of life if you’re suffering from a painful health condition.

While a Senior Health Insurance policy won’t necessarily meet all of your retirement healthcare needs, such as covering a disability or chronic conditions, it can go a long way to helping in areas such as skipping queues for care such as joint replacements.

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Can I Get Health Insurance Over 60 or 65?

Yes, it is possible to take out Health Insurance after the age of 65.

While it’s true that not every provider will offer quotes there are plenty which do. Some even have policies aimed specifically at the over-50s.

Guide to private medical insurance in retirement

Another point is that most insurers typically have a maximum age at which you can take out cover. For some this is 65; for others, however, it could be as high as 80.

Be aware that Health Insurance for retirees will be more expensive than will be the case for younger people simply because if you’re older, you’re more likely to claim.

Common treatments needed in retirement include joint replacements, for example. With hip replacements starting at around £10,000, these are expensive procedures.

Ultimately, while it’s possible to get cover, it can be more complicated. For example, you may have pre-existing health conditions to consider. That’s why we recommend speaking to an adviser, such as one of the team at Drewberry.

We’ve got the expertise and market access to find you the most competitive premiums for the Health Insurance plan you’re looking for.

How Much Does Health Insurance for Retirees Cost?

There are a variety of factors that impact the cost of Medical Insurance. These include your:

  • Location
    Private healthcare costs vary across the country, so if you live in an area with more expensive hospitals you’ll pay more in premiums.
  • Age
    As we get older we become more likely to develop health conditions, so premiums rise to reflect this.
  • Smoker status
    Smokers are much more susceptible to illnesses such as cancer and cardiac problems and therefore pay higher premiums.
  • Medical history / current state of health
    If you have a serious medical condition or a history of one, then you may pay more for cover depending on your circumstances.
  • Level of outpatient cover
    You can opt for either full outpatient cover, which pays for all outpatient care, or limited outpatient cover, which puts a monetary cap on outpatient cover per policy year. You could also choose not to add outpatient cover at all.

To calculate the premiums in the table below, we’ve assumed each individual is:

  • In good health
  • A non-smoker
  • Looking for a mid-range policy with a mid-range hospital list
  • Willing to pay a £250 excess
  • Not looking for any additional extras on the policy
  • Based in the same postcode as our Brighton office.

60 Years Old

65 Years Old

70 Years Old

£151.04
per month

£187.37
per month

£213.61
per month

Cutting the Cost of Cover

Getting cover as a retiree can be more expensive given your age and medical history. However, there are a few ways you can reduce the cost of cover.

Add a Health Insurance Excess

An excess is the amount you pay upfront towards your care before the Medical Insurance policy kicks in to cover the rest. The higher your excess, the lower your premiums. You’ll either pay this excess per claim or per policy year. It’s essential you check which one applies.

6 Week NHS Wait

With the 6 Week NHS wait, the policy only pays out if the NHS waiting list for the inpatient treatment you need is longer than 6 weeks. Otherwise, you have the treatment on the NHS.

This only applies to inpatient treatment. Outpatient care is unaffected.

Hospital List

Policies have several ‘tiers’ of private facilities. The best hospitals in the country, such as those based in Central London, are the priciest to receive medical care in.

You can choose a reduced hospital list to save on premiums.

Switching Existing Cover

If you already have private medical insurance you should regularly review your cover to ensure it remains competitive.

We speak to a lot of individuals who held their policy with the same insurer for many years only to find that it is no longer competitive when compared to the rest of the market.

It can be harder to switch health insurance if you have existing medical conditions. However, porting your cover with Continued Personal Medical Exclusions (CPME) enables you to move to a new insurer with no change in your policy terms.

Who Are The Best UK Health Insurance Providers?

Our team of experts provide independent financial advice comparing all of the top UK private medical insurers. Though there are more specialised insurers, the core market is made up of the following providers.

Given your location, age and medical history all have a significant impact on the price of cover and any potential policy exclusions it is important to do your research.

We speak to all the leading insurers on your behalf when finding you the best option as no two providers underwrite their policy in the same way.

Additional Benefits

Being a competitive market there is constant innovation and one of the latest improvements include a number of tangible everyday health and wellbeing benefits. The best private medical insurance policies now tend to also include:

  • 24 / 7 Virtual GP Service
  • Counselling / Stress Helpline
  • High Street Discounts

Looking For International Cover?

To get the very best private healthcare treatment it may be worth considering international health insurance as the cover is far more comprehensive. We help a lot of expats and seniors who spend a  significant amount of time abroad.

The international market is very different to the UK with broader policy coverage and a different group of providers to consider. If you are interested in european or worldwide cover and need help in this area give us a call on 02074425880 or email help@drewberry.co.uk.

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It can be a bit of a minefield trying to find the best cover, especially if you’re elderly, have pre-existing conditions or are looking to switch from another provider.

Fortunately, the team at Drewberry is here to help.

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 3150 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 you need help setting up your Senior Health Insurance, give us a call on 02074425880 or email help@drewberry.co.uk.

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

Darren Comer
16/05/2021
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