If you’re buying private health insurance for the first time, it can be challenging working out where to find the right policy for you, let alone the most affordable one.
You’ll want a policy that covers everything you need, but without breaking the bank. Here, we explain where you might be able to find affordable private medical insurance, and ways you might be able to reduce the cost of your premiums.
Getting private health insurance through your employer
Some companies offer private health insurance as a workplace benefit, either at a reduced rate or as part of your employment package. This is generally the cheapest way of getting health insurance.
Not only is workplace health insurance more affordable, but the cover itself may be easier to get. As you won’t be subject to individual underwriting, you’ll usually be covered no matter what your medical history is like, so getting cover this way can be really beneficial for someone with a pre-existing medical condition.
Workplace private medical insurance will often provide more cover for psychiatric or stress-related illnesses compared to an individual policy, and you may be covered for both in-patient or out-patient treatment. Of course, the exact extent of cover and the cost involved will vary depending on the policy, so if this is something your workplace offers, read the details carefully.
You will sometimes have the option to retain your policy after you leave your job or retire as a ‘follow on’ policy, though this will usually come at a greater cost.
Read more in our articles Is it worth taking out health insurance through my employer? and Can I keep my workplace private health insurance when I retire?
Shopping around for health insurance
If you aren’t lucky enough to have workplace health insurance available to you then the vast range of providers and policies on offer can be overwhelming.
Like any other kind of insurance, the best way to make sure you’re on the cheapest policy that’ll still cover your needs is to shop around, compare quotes and seek advice from a broker if need be. Seeking professional advice can also be really useful for finding cover that suits your specific needs and combing through all of the terms and conditions in a particular policy.
Get peace of mind that you could be treated quickly and receive the best possible care if you fall ill. Private health insurance pays some or all of your medical costs if you’re treated privately. Compare quotes from multiple providers and get fee-free expert advice.
Ways to reduce health insurance premiums
If you’ve already opted for a particular health insurance policy but are looking for ways to knock down the cost a little, there are a few ways you can do this.
- Opting to pay a higher excess in the event of a claim can reduce your premiums significantly. For example, if your excess is currently set to £0 and you change it to £250, this could reduce your premiums by as much as 20%. Of course, remember to only set your excess as high as you are comfortable paying in the event of a claim.
- Quit smoking if you’re a smoker, as health insurance premiums are reduced considerably for non-smokers, though you will usually have to have quit for a few years before you can benefit from this.
- Choose the six week wait option; this means that you can only make a claim through your policy if the expected wait time for you to be treated by the NHS is six weeks or longer. If the wait time is less than this, you agree to go through the NHS instead. This reduces your premiums because it decreases the likelihood of you making a claim.
- Get a joint policy with your partner instead of paying for two policies individually, as this can reduce the cost.
- Reduce the number of hospitals included in your cover; when you buy health insurance, there’s usually a list of the hospitals where you can be treated. Generally, your premiums are lower if you opt for a shorter list.
Find out more
You can learn more about private health insurance and whether it might be right for you in our articles What does private health insurance cover? and Do I need private health insurance? Or, if you want to learn more about how much private medical cover will cost you, read our article How much does health insurance cost? for more information.
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