Understanding health insurance

With so many different providers and considerations to choose from, health insurance can be confusing. But it’s useful to understand the options out there so if you would like to take out insurance, you can make an informed decision.

Take a look over our useful guides to learn more about health insurance and how it works. Whether you’re thinking of taking out private health insurance, you want to know what’s available or you’re thinking about changing your provider, our guide should help you to understand how to find the best policy for you.

  • Health insurance, often also referred to as private medical insurance, gives you access to private healthcare for conditions that develop after your policy has started.

    One of the main benefits of health insurance is the speed of access to medical treatment. You’ll pay a monthly premium which covers all or some of the costs for your treatment. You’ll be covered for conditions that begin after joining which can be cured. These are knows as acute conditions

    The environment you’ll be treated in will vary depending on where you’re located and the type of treatment you need. You could be treated in a private hospital, health centre or private section of an NHS hospital.

  • The level of cover you’ll get will depend on the policy you take out.

    For some policies, you’ll need to go through initial diagnosis and get a referral from the NHS before you’re able to claim any private treatment. Other more comprehensive polices include consultations and tests to help diagnose your condition.

    The most suitable level of cover will vary based on your reasons for taking out health insurance. If you’re looking for peace of mind, a comprehensive policy that covers you from diagnosis to aftercare might be what you’re looking for. Alternatively, if you’re happy to be diagnosed by the NHS but would like private health care, a more treatment focused package might be better suited to you.

  • There are several benefits of taking out health insurance. In the event that you develop a condition, you can relax in the knowledge that you have quick access to the treatment you need to help you back on the road to recovery.

    All of our policies cover eligible treatment cost in full, depending on the terms of the policy, providing you use a consultant who agrees to charge within Bupa limits (a fee-assured consultant) in a facility from your chosen hospital network.

    Some private healthcare providers also offer benefits even when you’re not unwell, such as gym memberships, wearable tech offers and entertainment discounts.

    quick access is subject to availability.
  • It can be tricky to know what to look out for when you’re choosing health insurance. The level of care you need will depend on your lifestyle and the areas of your health you’re most concerned about. You’ll also need to consider your budget.

    This is why comparing different health insurance policies can be useful; by getting quotes for different levels of cover you’ll be able to compare the costs against the benefits so you can make an informed decision.

    When contemplating your options, you might want to look for a package with the following:

    • Hospital treatment paid in full
    • Outpatient therapies paid in full
    • Aftercare paid in full
    • Post treatment tests and scans paid in full

    It’s important you fully understand the health insurance policy you’re considering before joining. You’ll need to know what it includes and excludes to be absolutely certain that it meets your needs. Most health insurers also offer the option to set up couple and family policies too.

  • There are some things that health insurance policies don’t cover. Although this will vary based on the type of cover you take out, there are also some things that generally, most insurers won’t cover.

    It’s important you’re aware of any policy exclusions before you make a final decision because depending on your insurer you might end up taking out a policy that doesn’t meet your needs. We offer a 21-day cooling off period that allows you to cancel your policy if you change your mind. This might not apply if your health insurance is provided by your employer.

    Most health insurance policies don’t cover:

    • Treatment for pre-existing conditions
    • Pregnancy and childbirth costs
    • Organ transplants
    • Cosmetic surgery to improve your appearance
    • Management of chronic conditions (a long-term illness that can be controlled but not cured)
  • The amount your policy will cost will depend entirely on the cover you take out, what your premiums are and the amount of excess you agree to pay. These are all things you’ll choose when you take your policy out.

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Bupa health insurance is provided by Bupa Insurance Limited. Registered in England and Wales No. 3956433. Bupa Insurance Limited is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority. Arranged and administered by Bupa Insurance Services Limited, which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Registered in England and Wales No. 3829851. Registered office: 1 Angel Court, London, EC2R 7HJ.