Do I need private health insurance?

Find out if health insurance is right for you

If you’re considering private health insurance, you’ll probably be weighing up if it’s worth it or not. That’s why we’ve broken down the benefits of health insurance, so you can make an informed decision based on your personal needs.

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What is private health insurance?

To put it simply, health insurance gives you access to private healthcare.

With health insurance you’ll pay a monthly premium which covers all or some of the costs of your treatment. One of the main benefits is the speed of access to medical treatment, as well as choice of where you can be treated, often in a private hospital or health centre.

What does it cover?

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 depend 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 healthcare, a more treatment focused package might be better suited to you.

What isn’t covered?

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.

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)

Learn more about exclusions

Do I need health insurance?

This is entirely up to you. You already have access to free treatment from the NHS, so choosing private health insurance is more of a personal preference that suits your needs.

If you’re happy to rely on the NHS for treatment or if you have a long-standing chronic condition, then health insurance may not be for you.

If you’re looking for quick access to treatment and the choice of hospitals or specialists, then private health insurance could be better suited to your needs. It can be good value if you think you’ll use it a lot, or you think you’ll need to see certain private specialists or require expensive treatments.

It’s worth considering the financial implications of health insurance. Obviously the cost will vary depending on the type of policy you choose, with comprehensive policies being the most expensive. If you’re unable to afford a high monthly premium or you only have the spare income for basic insurance, it might be worth looking at other options – like pay as you go healthcare.

Learn more about private health insurance

Our useful guides are here to help you understand the fundamentals of health insurance. We also cover a number of key health topics – such as looking after yourself as a parent and taking care of your children’s health.

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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.