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What does health insurance cover?

Different health insurance plans offer different benefits. Think about your needs, and choose a policy that offers the right cover for you.

Most policies include cover for:

  • Treatment in private hospitals
  • Private consultations
  • Physiotherapy for muscle, bone or joint conditions
  • Outpatient care such as scans, tests, x-rays and hospital appointments where you aren’t admitted.

When considering the best health insurance policies, you need to think about what is important to you. For example, more comprehensive policies may give some of these additional benefits:

  • In-patient and day-patient treatment
  • NHS hospital cash benefit
  • Childbirth cash benefit

When you compare health insurance, you might need to consider the needs of family members too. Some providers offer discounts if you insure your family.

Learn about choosing health insurance



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.

You can find details of available services using our online directory, Finder, at and learn more about the other services we have to support you at

Questions to ask when comparing health insurance cover

1. How quickly can you get seen by a private consultant?

2. Will you need to see your GP first?

3. Does the insurance provider offer access to a GP who can refer you more quickly if you need specialist help?

4. Are there limits to the amount of cover you can claim each year?

5. Does the provider offer ongoing treatment for mental health issues?

6. Will you get a discount on cover if you insure your family?

What’s excluded?

The best health insurance plans will make it really clear what is and isn’t included in your cover.

Most policies don’t cover:

  • - Emergency treatment
  • - Maternity care
  • - Treatment for pre-existing conditions
  • - Treatment for long term, or chronic conditions like arthritis or diabetes

How does private medical insurance work?

View guide

What does Bupa cover?

Bupa health insurance covers all the things we’ve discussed above but there are also some things we do a bit differently.

See our other guides on health insurance

††As of November 2019 this analysis is based on internally conducted review of the consumer health insurance market using publicly available information from the major insurers in the UK consumer health insurance market. Combined, Bupa, AXA PPP, Aviva and Vitality hold approximately 90% of the Gross Written Premium income of UK PMI providers. Refers to standard mental health cover when this is included in the selected consumer health insurance product.

‡‡Direct Access telephone services are available as long as the symptoms are covered under the policy. If your cover excludes conditions you had before your policy started, we’ll ask you to provide evidence from your GP that your symptoms are not pre-existing for a period of up to two years from policy start date (or five years in the case of mental health) before we can refer you to a consultant through the Direct Access service. Always call us first to check your eligibility.

^ 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.