Private Healthcare in the UK: A Comprehensive Guide

Private Healthcare in the UK: A Comprehensive Guide 2024

Private Healthcare in the UK: A Comprehensive Guide

If you have always relied solely on the National Health Service (NHS) for your medical needs, the concept of paying for private treatment might be unfamiliar territory. However, as wait times for NHS care continue to increase, more individuals are actively considering the option of seeking private healthcare. This comprehensive guide aims to walk you through the process of accessing private medical services in the United Kingdom, complemented by valuable insights from experts at WeCovr.

This guide will address the following topics:

  • Distinguishing private treatment from the NHS
  • Already requiring treatment? Here's what you need to know
  • Exploring payment options for private healthcare
  • Navigating private treatment without health insurance
  • Understanding fixed price surgery schemes
  • A look at private hospitals in the UK
  • Evaluating the cost of private medical treatment
  • Demystifying private medical insurance
  • How does private health insurance function?
  • The benefits of obtaining a free consultation from WeCovr's health insurance experts

You Have a Choice Regarding Your Medical Care

When visiting your general practitioner (GP) for a medical condition requiring further investigation, they will typically refer you for diagnostic tests or scans to establish a diagnosis before recommending specialist treatment. Depending on the treatment required, you may find yourself facing a waiting period on a list. However, under the NHS Patient Choice Programme, healthcare providers are obligated to inform you of your treatment options, including the possibility of pursuing private treatment if you prefer.
A recent report from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) and the NHS has uncovered that waiting lists for appointments, tests, and treatments within the NHS are significantly longer than previously thought, affecting millions of people across the country.
  • 9.7 million individuals are waiting for NHS treatment.
  • 1.4 million people have waited over a year for an appointment.
  • 7 million are currently awaiting NHS appointments.
  • 1 in 5 people in England are on a waiting list.
  • 5 million individuals find it difficult to get a GP appointment.
  • 670,000 people have been waiting for over 18 months.
If faced with such an extended wait for NHS treatment, you might assume that having private health insurance is the only way to access private healthcare. While this is certainly one option, you could alternatively choose to utilise a portion of your savings to cover the typical cost of about £13,000 for a private hip replacement. Alternatively, you could opt for a private medical loan to spread the cost of your treatment over a more manageable period.

How Private Treatment Differs from the NHS

When you decide to pursue private healthcare, you gain access to a broader range of choices compared to the NHS. Firstly, you have greater control over who provides your treatment. If you are aware of a specific consultant who excels in treating your condition, you have the freedom to choose to be treated by that individual. You can select your consultant based on their reputation and feedback from previous patients. Websites like Doctify collate patient feedback about healthcare practitioners, enabling individuals to make informed decisions about their care.
Of course, it is also crucial to consider the consultant's availability and fees. The best consultant in their field might not be available for several months or may charge significantly higher rates due to their expertise and demand. Nevertheless, by opting for private healthcare, you have greater control and can weigh various factors before making a decision.
Additionally, there is a wide range of private healthcare providers across the UK who can treat you at either an NHS or private hospital. You can choose a provider based on convenience, cost, a particular consultant, or a combination of these factors.
Regardless of the option you choose, you will have quicker access to treatment compared to the NHS route. The treatment itself may also differ. Many private hospitals can offer drugs and treatments that are not currently available through the NHS. Some providers also allow direct access to consultation appointments, potentially enabling you to receive a diagnosis more quickly than if you had waited for a GP appointment through the NHS.

Do You Already Require Treatment?

If you have already received a diagnosis, you might be wondering about your options if you do not have a health insurance plan in place.
Health insurance providers automatically exclude any pre-existing medical conditions that you have when you take out the policy. This means that you will not be able to obtain health insurance coverage for the condition you've been diagnosed with or any other health issue that has required treatment in the past five years.
However, the good news is that you can still access private healthcare if you have the financial means to pay for it yourself.

Exploring Payment Options for Private Healthcare

In the United Kingdom, there are three primary ways to pay for private healthcare. You can utilise private medical insurance, pay for the treatment costs directly out of pocket, or take out a personal medical loan. In the following section, we will explore these three main avenues for accessing private healthcare in the UK.

Private Medical Insurance

Private medical insurance policies allow you to pay a monthly premium and gain access to private treatment, as long as your policy covers the specific condition or procedure. You may also receive private health insurance as part of your employee benefits package, with your employer covering the health insurance premium. This arrangement enables you to receive private medical care and return to work more quickly. Health insurance is only suitable for conditions that you may be diagnosed with in the future. Private health insurance automatically excludes any medical conditions you've been treated for in the past five years. This means that if you've already received a diagnosis, it will be excluded from your health insurance coverage as a pre-existing condition. Some health insurance policies will require details of your medical history when you take out the policy and exclude any pre-existing medical conditions upfront. In contrast, others will investigate when you make a claim.
If you need treatment immediately, medical insurance won't be able to provide assistance, although it might remain valuable to consider acquiring health insurance for future medical requirements.


If you lack health insurance or need treatment for a condition not covered by your medical insurance, it may be prudent to allocate a portion of your savings for prompt treatment. There are several approaches to consider. Many private healthcare providers offer fixed price quotes for necessary treatments, which can encompass initial consultations, specialist surgeries, rehabilitation, and specialised medications.
When comparing quotes from multiple providers, ensure they all provide the same services and inclusions before making a decision on where to seek treatment. Additionally, some providers offer a pay-as-you-go option for treatments with less predictable durations or costs. This flexible option allows you to switch providers or return to the NHS based on your needs and budget.

Personal Medical Loan

Perhaps you cannot access private healthcare through medical insurance, and you do not have the funds immediately available to pay for private medical care out of pocket. In this case, your third option is to take out a personal medical loan. Most UK private hospitals offer loans through a third-party finance provider. It is crucial to carefully examine the terms of each loan and the total cost to you. We would also suggest that you verify that the financial conduct authority regulates the finance company. There is nothing preventing you from taking out a regular personal loan if the terms and overall cost are more favorable. Of course, any loan will only be possible if you meet the proper criteria for credit approval.
According to WeCovr's experts, "When considering a personal medical loan, it's crucial to carefully review the terms and conditions. Look for options that offer competitive interest rates and flexible repayment periods to ensure the loan fits your financial situation."

Navigating Private Treatment Without Health Insurance

If you've decided you're ready to access private treatment but do not have private medical insurance, here's the process you can expect to follow:

1. Consult with your NHS GP or a Private GP

Firstly, schedule an appointment with your GP. This step applies even if you have a private medical insurance policy, as most insurers require a GP referral before they approve further treatment. Your GP can recommend a particular specialist and write a referral letter directly to them. If you prefer to conduct your own research, you can identify the specialist you would like to be treated by and request that your GP refer you to them. Your GP may charge a fee to write the referral letter, so be prepared for that eventuality. Some healthcare providers allow you to pay to see a private GP, enabling you to choose that option if you prefer, particularly if appointments with your NHS GP are challenging to obtain.

2. Attend an Outpatient Appointment with a Consultant

Next, you will have an outpatient appointment with your chosen consultant. Some providers allow you to opt for your consultation appointments to take place face-to-face, over the phone, or via video call. If you require diagnostic tests or scans, these will be conducted during this appointment or arranged separately. If you need any further treatment, this will also be booked at this stage. You can expect to pay between £150 and £250 for this appointment. You will either be asked to pay this fee on the day or settle it soon afterwards.

3. Obtain a Fixed Price Quote from the Hospital

Most private hospitals in the UK are typically able to provide you with a comprehensive fixed price quote that covers all aspects of your treatment plan. This quote will typically encompass the cost of the private surgical procedure itself, fees for the anaesthesiologist, nursing care expenses, and accommodation charges should you require an overnight stay at the hospital facility. WeCovr's healthcare experts strongly recommend conducting thorough research and comparing the offerings from various providers to ensure you obtain a quote that aligns with your specific needs and preferences.

4. Explore the Option of NHS Treatment by Your Private Consultant

It is crucial to recognise that there is often no clear-cut distinction between medical professionals practicing in the National Health Service (NHS) and those operating in the private healthcare sector. Many specialists who offer private consultations may also be affiliated with the NHS. Numerous private healthcare providers have established agreements with the NHS, enabling them to carry out treatments within NHS hospital facilities. WeCovr suggests inquiring with your consultant whether they have the capability to perform your treatment at an NHS facility as a private patient. Many NHS hospitals offer private patient access, with some ensuring that the private fees contribute directly to the care of NHS patients. This option could potentially be a more cost-effective alternative to receiving treatment at a dedicated private hospital.

5. Book Your Surgery

If the quoted cost exceeds your anticipated budget, or you decide not to proceed after your initial consultation appointment, you have the option to forgo the private treatment route and continue receiving care through the NHS. However, if you are satisfied with the quote and wish to proceed, your surgery date will be scheduled accordingly.
Depending on the payment terms outlined by your healthcare provider, you may be required to pay the full cost or a portion of it prior to being admitted for treatment. If you have chosen to finance the treatment through a loan with monthly installments, your finance provider will arrange for the payment to be made on your behalf. Additionally, you will be advised on the procedures and protocols to follow on the day of your surgery, including any pre-operative blood tests or medications that may increase the chances of a successful surgical outcome.

6. Post-Surgery Follow-Up

After your surgery or treatment has been completed, your consultant or the hospital will provide a comprehensive update to your General Practitioner (GP) regarding your progress and recovery. You will also have a follow-up appointment scheduled with your consultant to ensure that your recovery is progressing as expected. If your treatment package includes follow-up rehabilitation services, these will commence after your surgery as well.

7. Anticipate Additional Costs

Your rehabilitation process is an integral part of your overall treatment plan, and it can play a crucial role in helping you achieve a full recovery, particularly if you have undergone treatment for a severe illness. Your consultant may have advised you about any post-operative care you might require, such as physiotherapy or other rehabilitation services. If you chose not to receive these services at the private hospital, perhaps due to location inconvenience or other factors, you will need to make separate arrangements. WeCovr recommends discussing your options with your GP, but it is essential to budget for potential additional costs associated with arranging these services privately.

What are Fixed Price Surgery Schemes?

Many private hospitals in the UK offer fixed price surgery schemes, which provide a comprehensive and predictable cost structure for your treatment. These schemes typically include all associated expenses, such as consultant fees, surgical costs (including the operating theatre), anaesthesia charges, nursing care (both during and after surgery), medications, and the cost of your hospital stay. Following your initial consultation with a specialist, the quote you receive should encompass all of these elements. Some providers even include post-operative aftercare as part of the overall fixed price package. These schemes allow you to access private healthcare at a predictable cost, without any unexpected surprises on your final invoice. If you need to secure a loan to spread the cost of your treatment over monthly installments, a fixed price surgery scheme will enable you to accurately assess the affordability of the loan.

Private Hospitals in the United Kingdom

When considering private medical insurance policies, your insurance provider will typically provide a list of approved hospitals and treatment centres from which you can choose. While there are a few independent private hospitals operating in the UK, the majority of private healthcare services are offered by large healthcare groups. However, if you are paying for your healthcare costs directly, you have the freedom to choose any provider. Here is a rundown of some of the leading companies operating in the UK, as recommended by WeCovr's experts:

HCA Healthcare

HCA Healthcare UK entered the British healthcare market in 1995, following its origins in Nashville, USA. Since then, it has established a world-class network of over 30 facilities across London and Manchester, with a recent expansion into Birmingham in 2023. As the largest private healthcare provider globally, HCA Healthcare is also a leading force in the UK’s private healthcare sector. HCA Healthcare’s philosophy revolves around patient-led care. They prioritise compassion, respect, and inclusion, ensuring that patients receive treatment as if they were their own loved ones. Their services cover a wide spectrum, including a private GP service, various therapies, and surgical treatments. Whether you need medical advice, rehabilitation, or surgical intervention, HCA Healthcare has you covered. HCA hospitals are strategically situated in major city centres, such as London and Manchester. This accessibility ensures that patients can easily access high-quality healthcare services. Through their partnership with the NHS, HCA Healthcare patients have the flexibility to receive treatment in both private and NHS settings. This collaboration expands options for patients and enhances overall healthcare delivery. If you’re using private health insurance, it’s essential to check the terms of your insurance coverage to make informed decisions about your healthcare options as some policies may have an additional premium to utilise HCA hospitals. In summary, whether you’re seeking preventive care, diagnosis, or treatment, HCA Healthcare is dedicated to getting you back to doing the things you love as quickly as possible.

Spire Healthcare

When you select Spire Healthcare, you’ll receive treatment at one of their dedicated centres, which include 39 hospitals and 8 clinics across the UK. Their comprehensive range of services covers surgical treatments, rehabilitation therapies, health checks, and medical screenings. Whether you’re dealing with allergies, ear, nose, and throat issues, or require cancer treatment or spinal surgery, Spire Healthcare has you covered. They offer fixed price packages, ensuring a predictable cost structure. Additionally, you have the flexibility to pay in monthly installments through their finance options. Notably, even if you’re receiving treatment through the NHS, there’s still an opportunity to choose Spire hospitals if a cooperative agreement is in place.

Nuffield Health

Nuffield Health, the United Kingdom’s largest healthcare charity, has been working diligently for over 60 years to enhance the nation’s health and well-being. Their extensive network comprises 37 hospitals, 114 fitness and wellbeing centres, medical facilities, and workplace well-being services. Nuffield Health believes in a holistic approach to healthcare, focusing on both physical and mental well-being. They offer services ranging from personal training, health assessments, and GP consultations to mental health support and hospital treatments for serious conditions. Notably, Nuffield Health collaborates with the National Health Service (NHS) to prevent illness and injury. Their unique Programmes For All initiative addresses local health needs and widens access to their services, experts, and resources. Whether you’re seeking treatment for various conditions or lifestyle management options, Nuffield Health provides flexible payment options, including self-pay, interest-free personal medical loans, and health insurance coverage1. WeCovr’s experts also stress the importance of considering post-operative rehabilitation needs, as accurately predicting the required amount can be challenging when comparing quotes2. So, whether you’re looking for fertility treatment or comprehensive care from head to toe, Nuffield Health has you covered.

Circle Health Group

Circle Health Group, formerly known as BMI, operates 54 private hospitals across the UK, covering locations from Aberdeen to the West Sussex coast, ensuring an extensive nationwide presence. Their core philosophy centers around patient-focused care, and they take pride in their investments in cutting-edge technologies, such as artificial intelligence, robotics, and online booking systems. While online booking options are increasingly common among private healthcare providers, Circle Health Group stands out for its commitment to innovation. Notably, they offer a purpose-built rehabilitation facility, which can be particularly beneficial for patients requiring physical therapy instead of surgery or those in need of post-operative rehabilitation. 28 reviews on the NHS site ranging from one to five stars: NHS Circle Health reviews.

Ramsay Health Care

Ramsay Health Care, although perhaps unfamiliar to you, has been delivering private healthcare services in England since 1968. Their guiding principle revolves around providing top-notch care that ensures patients feel supported and well-informed throughout their treatment journey. You have the freedom to select your consultant, who will oversee your care alongside a dedicated private patient manager. This manager collaborates closely with the consultant and nursing team to ensure effective care management and timely updates. This personalised approach may be particularly attractive if you've encountered challenges in receiving timely treatment updates in the past. They have 8 ratings on the NHS ratings site as of the time of this writing: the majority are five stars, but there are a few one and two stars reviews there too.
Additionally, you can opt for an initial consultation in person, over the phone, or via video call, at your convenience. Ramsay Health Care offers a comprehensive range of treatments, both surgical and non-surgical, including sports injury services and private GP appointments. They provide fixed-price packages and even match prices against quotes from other providers. It's also possible that you could access treatment at Ramsay hospitals as an NHS patient.
If you'd like to find hospitals in your local area without navigating individual provider websites, WeCovr recommends using a website that allows you to enter your postcode. This will provide you with a list of nearby hospitals, along with details about their facilities, patient approval ratings, and Care Quality Commission ratings¹. Additionally, this website can help you locate specialist consultants in your vicinity.

How the major hospital chains compare based on their ratings

Remember that these ratings are based on various factors, including patient experiences, safety, and quality of care. It's essential to consider individual needs and preferences when choosing a healthcare provider. Always consult with your healthcare professional for personalised advice.

Evaluating the Cost of Private Medical Treatment

The cost of private healthcare in the United Kingdom varies based on several factors. These include the specific treatment required, the chosen provider, and the geographical location within the country. London tends to have higher prices compared to other regions in England and Wales.
However, these factors alone do not solely impact treatment costs. Hospitals must also consider expenses related to medical equipment, medications, staffing, insurance, technology, and facilities. Experienced consultants typically charge higher fees than newly qualified professionals, potentially translating to better quality treatment.
Procedure costs exhibit significant variation based on complexity. For instance, colonoscopies, wisdom tooth removals, tonsillectomies, or cataract surgeries typically range from £1,585 to £2,680. Laparoscopic hernia repairs or knee arthroscopies may cost around £3,000 to £4,000. The most complex surgeries, such as hip, knee, or shoulder replacements, can be between £13,000 and £14,000, according to experts from WeCovr.
If you are aware of the specific treatment you need, consider searching for associated costs in your local area. Providers like Spire, Nuffield, and Circle offer specialist treatments, and you can explore their nearest available hospitals by clicking on the relevant links above or speaking to WeCovr's experts today.

Understanding Private Health Insurance in the UK

What is Private Medical Insurance?

Private health insurance in the UK allows you to access private treatment when you need it. You take out a health insurance policy with a provider of your choice and pay health insurance premiums to cover you for different conditions and treatments. The coverage provided will vary depending on the specific private health insurance plan you choose. It is important to note that some conditions may be excluded from coverage due to pre-existing medical conditions in your history, as health insurance typically does not cover these. Private health insurance enables you to obtain prompt, high-quality hospital treatment without the need to shop around for the best price.

How Does Private Health Insurance Work?

Private health insurance is provided by various health insurance companies across the UK. You choose the insurer that offers the coverage that best suits your needs and begin paying health insurance premiums. When you require treatment, you contact your health insurance provider to initiate a claim. If your claim is approved, your insurer will arrange for you to start receiving treatment. Some insurers have their own network of private hospitals, while others work with both private and NHS treatment centers. They will inform you of the available treatment locations, allowing you to choose a facility that is convenient for you.
The claims process varies depending on the type of underwriting you have and whether you provided your insurer with details of your medical history when you took out your health insurance policy. If your insurer is already aware of any illnesses you have been treated for in the past, they will be able to provide a prompt decision. Otherwise, they will need to investigate further before confirming whether they will cover the treatment you require.

The Benefits of Consulting with a Health Insurance Broker

Private health insurance policies vary in terms of the level of coverage they provide and the benefits you can expect to receive. Some policies may include specific treatments, such as cancer treatment, as standard, while others may offer them as optional extras. Your individual needs and lifestyle will influence which health insurance policy is the most suitable for you. Some insurance policies allow you to add your entire family to your policy, while others offer incentives for healthy living. Additionally, you'll need to consider your budget. Options such as a no-claims discount or a higher excess on your health insurance plan can help reduce your premium. However, it is also worth considering private health insurance that does not base costs on your postcode or offers a scheme where individual claims do not increase your premiums.
WeCovr's experts recommend consulting with a health insurance broker to help you evaluate the type of private health insurance you might need and identify the policy that best suits your circumstances. This way, you don't have to spend extensive time navigating individual websites, trying to understand what each insurer covers.
At WeCovr, our guides are designed to assist you in considering the type of private health insurance that could be appropriate for you and the various factors you need to consider. When you contact us, we'll connect you with experienced advisers who will provide you with a personalised comparison quote and independent advice.

Why get private health insurance?

Health insurance allows you get back on your feet quicker:

✅ Avoid long NHS waiting lists of many weeks and get treated faster with private medical insurance, which can be really important for a successful recovery
✅ Get early diagnosis so you can get the treatment you need right away done privately
✅ Business owners can save on their tax bill with private medical insurance
✅ You are free to choose your surgeon or hospital to suit your needs by place and time
✅ You often get a private room with better facilities for your treatment or surgery
✅ With private medical health insurance you gain access to advanced treatments not available on the NHS

Benefits offered by private health insurance

Private medical health insurance is an insurance policy that covers the costs of private healthcare, from diagnosis to treatment. You just pay an affordable monthly premium that covers all or some of the cost of treatment for acute conditions that develop after your health insurance policy has begun.

Our mission is to put you in touch with not only the best, but the most suitable private medical health insurance companies. With even more risk on the rise for personal health today, it makes more sense than ever to have private medical health insurance cover.

👍 Many people are very thankful that they had their private medical health insurance cover in place before running into some serious health issues. Private medical health insurance is as important as life insurance for protecting your family's finances.

Important Fact!

There is no need to wait until the renewal of your current policy.
We can look at a more suitable option mid-term!

Why increasing numbers of individuals and families opt for PMI insurance

👉 We insure our cars, houses, bicycles and even bags! Yet our health is one the most precious things we have.

People buy life, critical illness and private medical health insurance for a variety of reasons – easily one of the most important insurance purchases an individual or family can make in their lifetime. PMI insurance is still seen as a luxury in the UK. Indeed, only around 11% of the population has private medical insurance. However, an increasing number of people are taking out private medical insurance due to a number of reasons:
  • Avoid NHS waiting lists and be treated more quickly
  • Faster diagnosis (comprehensive cover)
  • More access to latest cancer drugs and treatments, some of which may be unavailable on the NHS
  • Greater choice over where and when your treatment takes place
  • Have a private room should you need treatment in hospital
Our experienced FCA-authorised insurance partner experts are ready to provide you with a FREE Consultation.

👍 Simply get your affordable private medical health insurance plan in place for the necessary peace of mind! Just tap or click the button below to book a FREE call now! 👇

Compare private medical health insurance plans suitable for your circumstances from these insurers and more

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It's as easy as 1, 2, 3!

1. Complete a brief form

2. Our experts will find and discuss your quotes

3. Enjoy your protection!


Any questions?

Do I need Private Medical Insurance if I have Life Insurance?

Life Insurance and Private Medical Insurance cover you for two different purposes, so you will need to assess your needs but may wish to consider holding the two policies. Private Medical Insurance covers you if you get sick or need treatment and want or need to go privately. Life Insurance covers you in the case of death, giving a payout to family/those left behind.

Are Pre-existing Medical Conditions Covered?

Health insurance covers conditions that develop after your policy starts. Pre-existing conditions are typically not covered, and insurers may exclude related issues. Some policies may cover symptoms of pre-existing conditions under specific circumstances. Always review your policy's exclusions. Coverage for pre-existing medical conditions may be available if you currently hold a medical insurance policy or are transitioning from a company scheme. However, if you have never had medical insurance before or if your policy is not active at the moment, pre-existing conditions will not be covered. This limitation exists because health insurance is primarily intended to protect against unexpected health issues. To simplify, it's akin to getting into a car accident and then trying to obtain insurance coverage afterward to repair the vehicle — insurance companies typically do not cover such claims. Nevertheless, there is an option to gain coverage for pre-existing conditions after a two-year waiting period, subject to specific rules and conditions.

Why Do I Need Private Medical Insurance?

If you prefer to get straight into treatment in the private sector without the long waiting times with the NHS, or you just prefer the private sector anyway, without having to pay it all yourself, then you would need to have Private Medical Insurance to cover it. Sometimes treatments and drugs that are not covered by the NHS can be covered by Private Medical Insurance.

How Much Does It Really Cost?

It's free to use WeCovr to find health insurance - we never charge you for quotes. Health or private medical insurance is an investment that can pay for itself the first time you might need medical treatment.

Isn't NHS Treatment and Coverage Enough?

It depends on your personal choice and preferences. If you are prepared to limit yourself to NHS-covered treatments only and can or want to endure long waiting times to get into treatment, then yes, NHS might work for you. Your cover there is free. If you don't want to be exposed to long waiting times or if your treatment is not covered by the NHS, then you would benefit from Private Medical Insurance.

Why Do I Need to Speak to Someone?

Private Medical Insurance is an important financial product that insurance companies take a lot of care and diligence so speaking to real human beings ensures that they understand your requirements fully so that you can get the right cover.

Are Your Insurance Partners Trustworthy?

All of our partners are carefully vetted and authorised by the FCA, which means they are held to the highest standards that the FCA expects from them and treat all customers fairly!

How Do You Make Money If the Quotes Are Free to Get?

Our revenue comes from commissions paid by the insurance providers when a policy is taken out through us. Essentially, when you choose to secure a policy from one of the providers we work with, they compensate us for facilitating the transaction. It's important to note that this commission does not impact the premium you pay. We remain committed to providing transparent and unbiased quotes to help you find the best insurance options tailored to your needs.

How Much Is Private Health Insurance?

The cost of private health insurance depends on several factors, including your age, location, smoking status, and the type of policy you choose. Your health insurance policy is tailored to your needs, and the cost can vary based on the level of cover you require, such as the amount of excess and specific treatment allowances.

How Does Private Health Insurance Work?

Private health insurance covers you for conditions that arise after your policy begins. You pay a monthly fee and can make claims for private healthcare covered by your policy. One of the main benefits of private healthcare is quicker access to treatment compared to the NHS, along with access to new drugs or specialist treatments.

What Does Health Insurance Cover?

Most health insurance covers private hospital stays and may include outpatient treatments like scans, tests, or appointments. Policies vary in coverage, and exclusions often include emergency treatment, maternity care, cosmetic surgery, and ongoing conditions present before the policy started.

Can I Pay Extra to Have a Pre-existing Condition Covered?

Unfortunately, you cannot pay extra to have a pre-existing condition covered as part of your health insurance policy. However, you have access to support from a nurse or digital GP. If you have questions about what is covered under your policy, please contact us for clarification.

When Will My Health Insurance Policy Start?

Your health insurance policy begins once you've selected your policy and set up your payment. After setup, you'll receive your cover documents detailing what is and isn't covered. It's important to review these details carefully as policies differ.

Will I Need an Excess on My Private Health Insurance Policy?

An excess is the amount you contribute towards treatment when you make a claim. Choosing a higher excess can reduce your policy's monthly cost but requires a larger contribution when claiming. WeCovr's experts will offer you flexible excess options depending on your preferences.

How Can I Reduce the Cost of Health Insurance?

To reduce health insurance costs, consider choosing a higher excess, which lowers the monthly premium. However, ensure the plan still meets your needs. Other factors affecting cost include lifestyle choices like smoking and potential savings for couples or family plans.

Is There an Age Limit for Private Medical Insurance?

There is no age limit for taking out health insurance, but age influences the policy's cost. The benefits of health insurance are consistent regardless of age. If you're considering health insurance, you can get a quote from WeCovr's experts regardless of your age.

How Can I Compare Health Insurance Plans?

Let WeCovr's experts do the legwork for you and compare health insurance plans at no cost to you to find the best fit for your needs. Consider individual, couple, or family plans and review coverage details thoroughly before choosing. WeCovr provides transparent information on coverage options for easy comparison.

Can I Add Other People Onto My Health Insurance Policy?

Yes, you can add your partner (if you live at the same address) or dependents to your policy at any time. The cost of couple's or family health insurance depends on factors like location, age, health, and chosen excess. Contact WeCovr or your insurer for assistance in adding someone to your policy.

Can I Use Health Insurance Abroad?

While WeCovr's private health insurance plans are tailored for the UK, we offer global health insurance options for those living or working abroad. For holiday coverage, travel insurance is recommended.

What is Comprehensive Cover?

Comprehensive cover provides extensive benefits, including full outpatient services such as consultations, diagnostic tests, physiotherapy, and mental health therapies. Our team at WeCovr can assist in understanding the various coverage levels available.

Does Health Insurance Cover Dental Treatment?

Private health insurance typically does not cover dental treatment. However, WeCovr's experts can guide you to dental insurance policies offered by our partner insurers. Reach out to us to explore these options.

Does Health Insurance Cover Cancer?

Yes, private health insurance covers cancer treatment from diagnosis through treatment. At WeCovr, we can help you navigate the cancer cover options that suit your needs.

Can I Change My Cover Once I Have Signed Up?

At WeCovr, you have flexibility in adjusting your cover. Speak to our experts within 21 days of receiving your paperwork or at policy renewal to make changes.

How Quickly Can I Get an Appointment with a Private GP?

Accessing a private GP appointment is fast and convenient with WeCovr's services, available through your digital platform provided under your chosen insurance plan.

Can Each Person on My Policy Have Different Options of Cover?

Yes, family members on the same policy can potentially have different levels of cover tailored to their individual needs.

Are There Different Levels of Cover?

WeCovr works with insurers offering a range of cover levels to accommodate different budgets and needs. Our experts can discuss these options with you.

Where Can I Find Out More About Hospitals or Treatment Providers?

Discovering healthcare facilities and specialists is easy with WeCovr's resources. Contact us for personalised assistance by tapping one of the buttons above or below and filling in a few details for personalised assistance.

What Does Fee Assured Mean?

Fee-assured consultants provides transparency and no hidden costs for clients.

Does Health Insurance Cover Mental Health?

WeCovr prioritises mental health support with comprehensive coverage and access to specialist advice and services.

Can I Cover My Children as Well?

Children up to a certain age can be included in your policy, and we offer discounts for family coverage.

Will the Cost Go Up Every Year?

Like most health insurance plans, premiums may increase annually due to factors such as age and medical cost inflation.

How Much Does Health Insurance Cost?

The cost of health insurance varies based on several factors. Connect with our experts by tapping a button below and get your own personalised quote.

What's the Difference Between Health Insurance and NHS?

Private health insurance offers quicker access to consultations, treatments, and personalised care compared to the NHS.

Does Health Insurance Cover Physiotherapy?

Yes, WeCovr's experts can guide you which health insurance plans include coverage for physiotherapy treatments.

Can I Use My Cover Straight Away?

Immediate access to certain services like our digital GP app is available upon enrolment.

How Can I Get a Quote?

You can obtain a range of suitable quotes easily by tapping one of the buttons above or below and filling in a few details for personalised assistance.

What Does Health Insurance Cover and What Can't It Cover?

Health insurance covers new conditions that arise after the policy starts. Pre-existing conditions and certain exclusions may apply.

How Does Health Insurance Work?

WeCovr's experts help you arrange health insurance that simplifies access to private healthcare services, including consultations and treatments.

What is Outpatient Cover?

Outpatient cover includes consultations, physiotherapy, and mental health therapies outside hospital admissions.

Can I Use My Health Insurance Cover Immediately?

Yes, you can use your health insurance cover immediately. You have access to a nurse through your helpline and can consult with a GP using the digital GP app. If you need to make a claim right away, we may require a medical report from your GP. Health insurance is designed to cover new conditions that arise after the policy has started.

Does Health Insurance Cover A&E (Accident and Emergency)?

No, health insurance does not cover A&E (Accident and Emergency) visits. Private hospitals do not typically have the facilities for handling A&E cases. In case of an emergency, please dial 999 or use the NHS emergency services. However, if you require follow-up treatment after an emergency situation, your private medical insurance may be able to assist.

Are There Any Rewards for Being a PMI Plan Holder?

Yes, many insurers offer rewards in leisure, wellbeing, and health. Speak to WeCovr's experts or visit your insurer's website for more details on member rewards.

I'm Leaving My Job and Have Health Insurance with Them, What Do I Do?

You may continue your cover or get another own personal policy. If you continue your cover, existing or ongoing medical conditions might be covered depending on the level of cover you choose. Contact our friendly experts to discuss your options and find the right option for you.

How Do I Get a Quote After I've Left My Job?

You can tap one of the buttons above or below and fill in a quick form to arrange a call with us to discuss your options.

If I Continue My Health Insurance After I've Left My Job, Will My New Cover Be the Same as Before?

Your cover may be similar but not identical. We will help you find the right level of cover that suits your needs, and ongoing medical conditions may be covered. Contact our friendly advisers to explore all available options.

If I Continue My Health Insurance After I Left My Job, Will the Price for My New Cover Be the Same?

No, the price won't be the same as before since employers often contribute to the cost of employee cover. Additionally, different cover levels and medical histories may affect the price. Contact WeCovr's experts for detailed information.

How Long Do I Have After Leaving My Job to Decide to Stay with My Insurer?

You have a few weeks or months from leaving your job to decide to continue with your insurer or change to another one. Your policy may start the day after you left your work policy, and our experts can guide you through other available options.

What Do I Need Before Asking About Continuing My Cover After I've Left My Job?

After leaving your job, contact WeCovr's experts with your leave date to discuss available options.

I've Ongoing Treatment But I'm Leaving My Work Health Insurance Policy, Can I Still Have Treatment?

Yes, ongoing treatment may be covered on your new personal policy, although it could affect the price. Contact our experts for personalised advice on your options.

When And How Do I Pay My Excess?

Details on paying excess fees will be provided when you contact your insurer for treatment authorisation.

Do I Pay an Excess for Using Services Like Digital GP?

No, there is no excess fee for utilising these services.

Can I Change My Excess Partway Through the Year?

Excess adjustments can be made at specific intervals during your policy term.

What is a No Claims Discount?

No claims discounts can impact renewal costs based on claims history.

Can I Pay Extra to Have a Pre-existing Condition Covered?

Pre-existing conditions typically aren't covered but can be discussed with our healthcare specialists.

What is Full Medical Underwriting?

This involves health-related questions before policy enrolment to determine coverage.

What is Moratorium Underwriting?

Moratorium underwriting simplifies enrolment but may require health disclosures during claims.

Will My Claim Take Longer If I Have Moratorium Underwriting?

Claims may require additional information if under moratorium underwriting.

What is a Pre-existing Condition?

Pre-existing conditions refer to medical issues existing before policy inception. A pre-existing condition is anything you've previously had medical treatment for, such as diabetes, heart disease, or asthma. Most insurance providers consider any condition you've had symptoms or treatment for in the past five years as pre-existing. Our experts at WeCovr can help you understand how pre-existing conditions affect your policy options.

Is An Annual Review Of My Health Insurance Necessary?

While some insurance providers automatically renew your private healthcare cover, it's beneficial to compare policies when yours is about to end. This ensures you're still getting the best deal for the coverage you need. Our experts at WeCovr can assist you in finding the right policy for you.

Are There Age Restrictions For Health Insurance?

Typically, you must be over 18 to take out your own policy, but minors can usually be included in a family policy. There may also be an upper age limit for private health insurance, and premiums typically increase with age. Our experts at WeCovr can provide guidance on age-related policy aspects.

Is It More Cost-Effective To Pay For Health Insurance Monthly Or Annually?

Paying for health insurance annually often results in savings compared to monthly payments. However, this depends on your insurance provider. For help determining the most cost-effective option, consider consulting our experts at WeCovr.

Do I Need Private Health Insurance If My Employer Provides Coverage?

If your employer offers private health insurance as part of your benefits package, you likely don't need additional cover. However, there may be limits on the cover you receive, and it may not extend to your entire family. Remember, any insurance you get through work only covers you while you're employed there.

Is A Medical Exam Required To Get Coverage?

If you don't have pre-existing conditions, a medical exam is usually not required. You'll just need to complete a medical history form and select your level of cover. However, if you're older, have a pre-existing condition, or lead an unhealthy lifestyle, a medical exam may be necessary. Our experts at WeCovr can clarify the requirements of different policies.

Do I Need A GP Referral To Go Private?

Many private health insurance providers now offer GP services, either digitally or face-to-face. This means you can often get a private GP appointment quickly, sometimes even on the same day. Our experts at WeCovr can help you find policies that offer GP services.

How Much Quicker Can I Get A GP Appointment With Private Medical Insurance?

With private health insurance, you can often secure a GP appointment much quicker than with traditional methods, sometimes even on the same day. Our experts at WeCovr can help you find policies that offer quick GP appointment services.

What's The Difference Between Inpatient And Outpatient Care?

Inpatient care refers to any treatment requiring a stay in a hospital or clinic for at least one night. Outpatient care refers to treatments or tests that don't require hospital admission, such as minor diagnostic tests or physiotherapy sessions. Our experts at WeCovr can help you understand the different types of care and find a policy that suits your needs.

What's The Difference Between Health Insurance And Critical Illness Cover?

Private health insurance covers your medical treatment if you fall ill, while critical illness cover provides additional financial help if you develop one of the critical illnesses listed in the policy, such as covering loss of income if you're unable to work. For assistance in understanding the differences and finding the right coverage, consult our experts at WeCovr.

Will My Policy Cover Me Outside Of The UK?

Health insurance policies are designed for cover in the UK. For cover abroad, consider travel insurance for short trips or international health insurance for longer stays or if you have a holiday home overseas. Our experts at WeCovr can guide you in finding the appropriate coverage for your travel needs.

How Are Health Insurance Premiums Taxed? Are They Tax Deductible?

If your employer provides health insurance, it's considered a 'benefit in kind' and is not tax deductible. Your employer should calculate the tax you owe for your health insurance premiums and deduct it from your pay. There are some exceptions for small companies. For more information on tax implications, consider reaching out to our experts at WeCovr.

How Does The Excess Work?

When you purchase a policy, you choose how much excess you pay, which is your contribution to the cost of treatment if you make a claim. The higher your excess, the lower your premium is likely to be. Our experts at WeCovr can help you understand how excess works and choose the right level for you.

What Is The Difference Between Full Medical And Moratorium Underwriting?

These are two methods of underwriting a health insurance policy, relating to how insurance providers consider your pre-existing medical conditions when you take out cover. For help understanding the differences and choosing the right option for you, consult our experts at WeCovr.

Can I Get A No-Claims Discount On My Private Health Insurance?

Some private health insurance providers offer a no-claims discount, similar to car insurance. Every year you don't make a claim gives you an extra year of no-claims discount, potentially reducing your premium when you renew. Our experts at WeCovr can help you find policies that offer no-claims discounts.

How Can I Find The Best UK Private Health Insurance For Me?

To find the best health insurance for you, compare various policies to find one that offers the features you need at a price you can afford. Consider your personal circumstances and what you want from your policy. Our experts at WeCovr can assist you in evaluating your options and selecting the right coverage for you.

Do I Need a GP Referral for Private Medical Treatment?

If you need treatment, a GP referral is not always necessary. However, this depends on how you plan to pay for your treatment. Most hospitals will allow you to book appointments with a consultant without a GP referral if you are paying out-of-pocket. If you have private medical insurance, you'll need to check the terms of your policy to see whether your insurer requires you to consult with a GP first (most insurers do). Some policies offer a direct booking system without a referral for certain conditions, such as counseling for mental health issues.

Can I Get Finance for a Loan for Surgery?

Yes, you can obtain financing for a loan to cover the cost of surgery. Many private healthcare companies have partnerships with finance companies to allow you to spread the cost of private treatment over time. You could also explore getting an ordinary loan from your bank if this option proves to be more cost-effective for you.

How Much Does Private Medical Insurance Cost in the UK?

WeCovr has conducted extensive research into the cost of private health insurance in the UK. Click the link to find out more detailed information.

Can I Go Private and Then Return to the NHS?

Yes, you can continue to receive treatment through the NHS even if you have private health insurance and have received private treatment in the past. This could be for rehabilitation after private surgery or for treatment that is not covered by your health insurance policy. For example, some cosmetic surgeries may be available through the NHS but are generally not covered by private medical insurance.

Is Private Healthcare Better than the NHS?

This is a difficult question to answer definitively. There are certain services that cannot be obtained privately, such as emergency treatment at an Accident and Emergency (A&E) department. Many NHS consultants also practice privately, so you could potentially see the same consultant regardless of whether you choose private or public healthcare. However, private healthcare typically offers shorter waiting times, guaranteed private rooms, and more relaxed visiting hours. Additionally, you may have access to treatments and drugs that are not routinely available through the NHS.

Can I Self-Refer to a Private Consultant?

Yes, you can self-refer to a private specialist without the need for a GP referral. However, the British Medical Association believes that in most cases, it is best practice to start with your GP, as they are familiar with your medical history.

Will the NHS Accept a Private Diagnosis?

Yes, if you have a health concern and pay for private tests and scans but cannot afford to have private surgery, you should be able to have your test results transferred to an NHS provider for treatment.

Learn more about private health insurance


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The guidance contained within the website is subject to the UK regulatory regime and is therefore targeted at customers in the UK. A FCA regulated expert will contact you after you submit your details to discuss further. WeCovr is a trading style of Political And Credit Risks Ltd which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. FCA Number 735613.