Individual Health Insurance

What is individual health insurance?

Individual health insurance, also known as private medical insurance covers the cost of private medical treatment.

What does individual health insurance cover?

Generally, individual insurance covers you for acute health conditions, such as cancer treatment or a hip replacement. It can also include quicker diagnosis of conditions and access to different treatments that aren’t currently available on the NHS.

There are different types of individual healthcare plans available. The policy cover differs depending on the insurance you take out:

  • Basic – this covers you for for any inpatient treatment you require and also covers the cost of your hospital stay
  • Medium – these policies include everything the basic insurance covers plus some outpatient treatment too, including the cost of seeing specialists and consultants and the cost of follow up tests
  • Comprehensive – comprehensive policies cover you for all the above as well as covering you for physiotherapy and mental health treatment

Depending on the insurance provider and what policy cover you take out, you may also be able to add on the following:

  • Eye care
  • Dental care
  • Homeopathy
  • Maternity and pregnancy care
  • Mental health support
  • Physiotherapy

What’s not covered with personal health insurance?

Common exclusions include pre-existing conditions or chronic conditions such as high blood pressure, arthritis and crohn’s disease. However, some insurance providers will cover you for pre-existing conditions if you’ve had no symptoms for the last five years. Cosmetic treatment is also excluded. If you suffer from any conditions that you think might be excluded, make sure you thoroughly read your policy and understand what you are and aren’t covered for.

How much do personal health insurance cost?

The cost of individual health insurance is determined by a variety of factors including your age, where you live, your health status and what level of cover you take out. It tends to be cheaper the younger you are but it’s more costly if you live in the North West of England, South East of England or London. You’ll also find that it’s more expensive if you smoke and drink a lot of alcohol. Even if you’ve quit smoking but use a vaporiser, the premium can still be higher than someone that doesn’t smoke at all because most insurance providers base it on nicotine consumption rather than the number of cigarettes smoked. You could get cheaper health insurance by taking out a joint health insurance policy.

Individual health insurance

What are the pros and cons of individual health insurance?


  • You have quicker access to consultants, treatments and tests
  • You have more control over what hospital you want to be treated at


  • Premiums can be costly
  • Not all conditions are covered
  • Your monthly premium cost is affected by where you live, so the price might go up if you move house

Compare individual health insurance providers

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