Update 2022: We originally wrote this guide to private health insurance costs in 2018 but updated the prices in 2021. In 2022 we reviewed the prices again and little has changed since then.
The United Kingdom’s National Health Service offers free medical care to its citizens. This service covers almost all known medical conditions but some breakthrough treatments and expensive drugs are excluded due to budget constraints.
This government-provided medical care is funded from money raised via the general tax system. Patients are not charged a fee at the point of use and there is no extra taxation for anyone that uses the NHS.
The latest statistics (The Guardian 2017) reveal that just over 10% of the UK population has some form of additional medical insurance.
Those living outside the UK may wonder why some citizens feel the need to pay extra for medical insurance when they can get health care for free.
The primary reasons are:
- Access to treatments and drugs that are not available on the NHS.
- Quicker detection, diagnosis and treatment of conditions – the NHS is prone to long waiting times for certain non life threatening conditions such as hip replacements (up to 18 weeks).
- Private rooms rather than open wards.
- The private medical insurance is offered for free or heavily discounted by their employer, making it more attractive.
While the NHS is a much-loved service in the United Kingdom and is certainly more than a basic medical service, there are limitations due to budget constraints.
Private Medical Insurance Cost in the United Kingdom
During late 2018 and again in 2021, we contacted four private medical insurers and asked them to provide us with a year’s worth of cover for a 37-year-old male, a non-smoker with no previous serious or chronic medical conditions.
The purpose of our research is to provide our visitors with a researched guide to private medical insurance costs here in the UK.
We wanted the healthcare coverage to include the following items, most did although there were some variations in cover from provider to provider:
|Cancer cover including breathrough treatments not available on the NHS if clinically suitable||Included|
|Mental health cover||Not included by all provider|
|Pre and post treatment scans||Included|
|Pre and post treatment tests||Included|
|Treatment at home||Included|
|Home nursing||Not included by all providers|
|Private ambulance||Not included by all providers|
Most of the providers we contacted excluded the following from their cover:
|Pre existing conditions||Excluded|
|Natural ageing and age related nursing||Excluded|
Here is the private medical insurance cost for each of the four UK providers we checked:
Bupa – £55.00 pm
Axa – £72.00 pm
The Exeter – £82.00 pm
CS Healthcare – £87.00 pm
Average – £74.00 per month
Update May 2021: We checked all the insurers again and the price increases are negligible. For example, Bupa now charge £58 instead of £55.
Our Recommendation for the Best Health Insurance Cover
Having spent hours reading through policy documents and sourcing prices for various levels of private medical insurance cover, we think that Bupa offers the best value for money.
Their prices are slightly less than other providers and they include several treatments others have excluded.
Obviously, the best private medical insurance for you will depend on your circumstances and budget.
The contents of this page should not be seen as medical or financial advice, we just wanted to research private medical insurance costs in the UK.