Do I Need Private Health Insurance?

You wouldn’t think twice about insuring your home or your car, but when it comes to health insurance, some people aren’t sure whether it’s worth the cost. In the UK, we’re fortunate enough to have the National Health Service which provides free healthcare should we need it. However, you could be waiting a long time for appointments, treatments and diagnosis. We take a look at the pros and cons of private health insurance so you can decide whether it’s worth the money or not.

What are the pros of private health insurance?

If you have health insurance, you’ll benefit from instant access to appointments and treatment, resulting in a quicker diagnosis.

Your insurer will also provide you with a list of private hospitals and consultants to choose from, giving you more control over the care you receive. Most private hospitals offer better amenities than NHS hospitals including, a private room with an en-suite and a choice of food.

In some instances, you may be offered scans or treatment that aren’t currently available on the NHS because they’re too expensive or haven’t yet been approved for use in state hospitals. You’ll also benefit from ongoing recovery treatments such as physiotherapy.

What are the cons of private health insurance?

Whilst you’ll have quicker access to treatment, the level of care you’ll receive won’t necessarily be better. Also, the NHS offers priority treatment for cancer, a stroke or heart disease so if you suffer from the most serious of illnesses, private health insurance might not be necessary. Further to this, private health insurance doesn’t cover chronic or incurable illnesses, including some cancers.

Another disadvantage is the cost, private medical insurance is not cheap. We got quotes for private health insurance based on a 30 year old non-smoker and for the most basic level of cover, our quotes varied between £17.39 to £39.28 a month. If you want more comprehensive cover, you could be looking at between £47.14 to £84.38 a month. If you don’t require medical assistance, this is an extremely costly bill to be paying every month. The cost of private healthcare tends to increase year on year and can go up even more if you make a claim. Also, your location could affect the cost so if you move house, you could see a change in your premium.

What are the alternatives to private health insurance?

The NHS isn’t the only alternative option. You could self-insure by putting money aside each month specifically for medical care should you need it. Unlike monthly premiums for a health insurance policy, if you don’t need to use your fund, you haven’t lost the money.

You could also consider taking out a healthcare cash plan (this can be taken out as well as a health insurance policy). Healthcare cash plans are different from health insurance. You pay a monthly payment that covers you for routine dental and medical expenses up to a set limit. For example, you could pay £10 a much and receive up to £100 for physio, £100 for optical and £100 for dental costs. If you’re happy to receive NHS care but want an extra benefit, this could suit you better than private health insurance, and it’s not as costly.

Comparing health insurance providers

When comparing private health insurance providers, it’s important to consider more than the price. A cheap policy isn’t necessarily the best option. Our table ranks insurance providers exclusively on customer experience and product quality, taking into consideration customer reviews to ensure that you can purchase a high-quality insurance product from a company that cares.