How does private medical insurance work?
We know that health insurance isn’t always the easiest thing to understand. Here we answer some common questions about how health insurance works.
How could private medical insurance work for me?
We’re often asked, is health insurance worth it? We think so, if you choose the right policy for you. Here, we explain some aspects of health insurance, to help you find a policy that ticks all your boxes.
Private treatment is now resuming in England and Northern Ireland, with the vast majority of independent hospitals offering a full range of services. A very small number will continue to just provide NHS care. Full private services will resume in Wales in early July. For now, restrictions remain in place in Scotland. Hospitals are taking extra precautionary steps to keep patients safe, such as asking them to self-isolate for 14 days before treatment and pre-admission testing. Hospitals will still need to catch up on all the treatment that was postponed at the start of the outbreak. Please be aware that there’s no private treatment available for COVID-19.
Most health insurance policies don’t cover emergency treatment, maternity care, or management of long term conditions like arthritis or diabetes.
Pre-existing conditions are also normally excluded.
Some policies limit the amount you can claim for outpatient appointments each year, while others offer unlimited cover.
Will I have to pay an excess?
You can opt to include an excess on most health insurance policies. This is an amount you agree to pay towards the cost of claims each year.
Opting for a larger excess can reduce the monthly payments on your policy. But you will need to pay the excess amount if you make a claim. So you could end up paying more in the long run.
How easy is it to make a claim?
Every provider has its own process. Most ask you to visit your GP first to get a referral. Then they’ll help you to find the private medical treatment you need.
You’ll usually choose from a list of approved healthcare providers. Your insurer will usually pay these directly, meaning you won’t have to claim money back.
Is health insurance worth it?
This is entirely up to you.
The NHS lead the way on emergency care, and treatment for some chronic illnesses. But you may have to wait to receive treatment and you may not get as much choice around who you see or where you see them.
Health insurance can get you access to new drugs or specialist treatments that aren’t yet available on the NHS, and you’ll often be treated faster.
Private healthcare can offer you choice, as well as comforts like a private room, or treatment in your local private hospital.
Does health insurance cover emergency care?
No - private health insurance only covers you for non-emergency treatment and care. If you have new symptoms which require emergency care, you should visit A&E or a private urgent care centre as normal and get the help you need.
See our other guides on health insurance
Please be aware that information you send to this email address may not be secure unless you send us your email through Egress.*
* For more information and to sign up for a free Egress account, go to https://switch.egress.com. You will not be charged for sending secure emails to a Bupa email address using the Egress service
^ We may record or monitor our calls. Lines are open Monday to Friday 8am to 8pm and Saturday 9am to 12.30pm.
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.