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Health insurance

You could get medical treatment by taking out private health insurance. Compare insurers that could offer in-patient treatment, a health advice helpline and a no claims discount.

Health insurance

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Last updated: 14 May 2021

What is health insurance?

Having health insurance means that some – or all – of the cost of private healthcare treatment will be covered if you’re ill or injured. Without medical insurance, private healthcare can be costly.

Even though the NHS offers free healthcare, many people still like to have health insurance, UK wide. That’s because private healthcare comes with added benefits, such as faster treatment.

You can either get single policy health insurance which is just for you, or you can get a joint or family policy to cover your loved ones too.

Read more about how health insurance works here.

The benefits of private health care insurance

Private health care insurance comes with lots of health benefits.

Examples of these include:

      The downside to this is that private health care insurance is that the benefits aren’t guaranteed. Remember that even a private hospital can be too full to treat people, or can have a longer waiting list than you’d like.

      How to find the best private medical insurance in the UK

      The best private health insurance, UK wide, is known as comprehensive insurance. It’s considered the best private health insurance because it covers a wider range of treatments and conditions. But it’s not always the cheapest option.

      There are three types of insurance for private health care:

      Usually pays for inpatient treatments and stays.

      Usually covers outpatient care as well.

      Includes all-of-the above, plus cover for extra treatments such as physiotherapy.

      Some medical insurance policies let you pick what to cover. They base the price around your choices.

      After you’ve decided what you want, you can compare health insurance policies using our health insurance comparison.

      Doing a health insurance comparison makes getting health insurance quotes easy. Check the following features to help you make a decision:

        It's also good to know if there's a delay between buying the health insurance policy and making your first claim.

        Types of health insurance

        Compare health insurance and get plenty of health insurance quotes before you make any decisions on which to choose. The first step is to pick which kind of health care insurance suits you best.

        There are four types of insurance for private healthcare. They’re all suitable for different people. The types of private health care policies available are:

          If you’re over 50, you might find that the best health insurance, UK wide, for you, is one designed specifically for your age. Take a look at private medical insurance policies for your age group.

          How much does private health care insurance cost?

          Private health care costs vary. That’s because the cost of your medical insurance, is affected by many factors. These factors include:

            With private healthcare insurance, there are two costs to think about. The first is the cost of your health insurance policy and the second is your excess. When you make a medical insurance claim, you usually have to pay a ‘voluntary excess’ charge to make a claim.

            Of course, you want the best private health insurance so you can access the private medical care you want. But it’s important to find a policy you can afford.

            How to get health insurance?

            Private medical insurance is provided only by insurers and may be bought:

              Once you've chosen the policy you want, you can apply for a private health insurance policy over the phone, in person, by post or online. The method of application may vary by insurer. You will be asked to fill in an application form, where you'll be required to provide some information. This can include:

                Be sure to answer all questions as accurately as you can, to the best of your knowledge and belief. If you don’t, your insurer may refuse to pay your claim and could cancel your policy.

                If you are unsure whether something is important, you should disclose it. Once your application has been accepted you will be told when cover will start.

                Dental insurance

                UK health insurance providers might also offer private dental insurance as an additional extra. If you are unable to use an NHS dentist, a dental plan can cover the cost of routine consultations and emergency procedures. You will usually have to pay the dentist first, then claim the money back through your dental insurance plan. Some cosmetic procedures, such as teeth whitening, will not be covered by dental insurance. UK dental costs can quickly add up, so a private dental insurance plan could potentially save you money.

                It is worth considering that best dental insurance can be more valuable depending on where you live. The costs of dental treatment can vary wildly across the country, so private dental insurance may be the best option for you if your preferred dentist is particularly expensive.

                It is also important to remember that unlike standard hospital treatment or medical appointments, NHS dental procedures and consultations still cost money for most people. If you usually pay for dental treatment, whether through the NHS or a private dental insurance plan, it is worth weighing up your existing costs against buying a dental insurance plan.

                How can I get private dental insurance?

                The options on this page are health insurance products. Dental insurance may be available as an additional extra with these plans.

                Make sure to read your policy paperwork carefully to understand exactly what procedures and treatments your dental insurance plan can cover.

                Health insurance FAQs

                Your private health insurance covers you for private healthcare treatment as an inpatient or outpatient. This means you could be covered for:

                  Most private health insurance, may not cover you for:

                    There are sometimes ‘extras’ that you can add on to your health insurance policy, which aren’t automatically included. For example:

                      Some policies can include them, but many do not pay out for them. Here is how cover for pre-existing conditions works.

                      Some policies make you fill out a declaration about your health, and some may need to run medical tests. But moratorium policies do not do this.

                      Yes, some policies could charge you more if you have existing conditions. Others only charge you more if you need to cover treatment for them.

                      If you need to lower the cost of your healthcare insurance, there are several things that might help. These include:

                        Most companies give you a choice of several medical facilities when you are referred for treatment.

                        Yes, you can get free treatment on the NHS or use your policy to pay for private treatment.

                        No, most of these policies only cover treatment in the UK, but you could get medical cover from your travel insurance if you go abroad.

                        Yes, you could get separate policies for everyone or a single family healthcare policy.

                        Yes, but some providers do not cover treatment for any conditions that are related to your disability.

                        The UK’s most googled health queries 2020-2021

                        The global coronavirus pandemic has drawn more attention to our health and wellbeing than ever before. Post-pandemic, this could lead to greater demand for health insurance, as people look for peace of mind that their healthcare needs are covered. 

                        With the healthcare landscape changed by the pandemic, many of us have turned to the web over the past year to find the advice we’re looking for. But what are we asking?

                        New research by money.co.uk has revealed the health questions Brits have googled most often between January 2020 and February 2021.

                        The impact of coronavirus

                        You can’t ignore the impact of the pandemic on demand for healthcare. Between March 2020 and February 2021, there were 100 million more visitors to the NHS site than there was between March 2019 and February 2020. Of these, 59.5 million were to coronavirus-related pages.

                        Whether as an alternative to in-person services or a result of growing awareness of our health, an extra 41.1 million people looked up general health queries in 2020-21 compared to 2019-20.

                        The five most common coronavirus-related queries are:

                          The most common health questions outside of coronavirus

                          Coronavirus has dominated health headlines, but what other queries have we been researching? 

                          The 10 most common health questions January 2020-February 2021

                          Mental Health:

                          Since January 2020, mental health, weight loss and blood pressure are three of the most popular topics Brits have been looking for advice on. The top five queries for each can be found below:

                          How to deal with anxiety

                          According to official advice*, talking about your feelings with a friend, family member, health professional or counsellor can help you deal with anxiety. Calming breathing exercises, a healthy diet, getting enough sleep and taking regular exercise may also be beneficial.

                          Weight:

                          How to lose weight

                          Official advice*  is to make realistic, long-term changes to your diet and physical activity to lose weight steadily until you reach a healthy body mass index (BMI). Eating less and exercising more is recommended over fad diets, which can be difficult to maintain over time.

                          Blood Pressure:

                          What is normal blood pressure?

                          Blood pressure measures the force your heart pumps blood around your body in millimetres of mercury (mmHg). According to the NHS*, ideal blood pressure is considered to be between 90/60mmHg and 120/80mmHg. 

                          High blood pressure is 140/90mmHg or higher and low blood pressure is classed as 90/60mmHg or lower.

                          The most searched conditions

                          Since January 2020, the 10 most looked up conditions in the UK are:

                          The NHS provides comprehensive medical treatment, but you can still decide to take up private health insurance. Compare health insurance to find the best policy for you, and read our health insurance guides to find out all the information you need to know.

                           *You should always seek the help of a healthcare professional for medical advice.

                          The world’s most mindful parks

                          Getting away from the stresses of modern life can be the perfect tonic for your mental health. With many of us having been stuck inside for over a year now, the constant strain of your screen, Slack messages, emails and video calls can really get you down, with our usual escapes unavailable to pick us back up again. 

                          In fact, one in six people in the UK claim to suffer from a mental health problem, with depression thought to be the second most common cause of disability worldwide. 

                          More health insurance providers have counselling, rehabilitation services and  cognitive behavioural therapy available through their services, always “make sure to check your health insurance policy covers psychotherapy first, then contact your insurer” states Dr. Alexander Lapa, a psychiatrist from Ocean Recovery Centre.

                          Fortunately, one thing COVID-19 hasn’t impacted negatively is the environment. The world is home to some truly stunning national parks, with nature and wildlife as far as the eye can see. 

                          We look at which national park is best for your health, taking into account the amount of green space, low number of visitors, peaceful rivers and lakes, air pollution levels, species of plants and animals, and mindful activities on offer, as well as spas and wellness centres. Put your boots on, get outside and soak up the good vibes. Your health will thank you for it.

                          Swiss National Park is the best for your mental wellbeing 

                          The Swiss National Park in Switzerland comes out at the top of our list. With only 150,000 visitors every year, you can be sure to enjoy plenty of peace and quiet as you take in the stunning mountain views and icy vistas. If it’s more active relaxation you’re after, the park offers an incredible 71 workshops and a further 83 spa and wellness classes. 

                          Air pollution is also incredibly low here, with a score of 11 out of 100 meaning the air is truly fresh. 

                          Banff National Park in Canada is number two, with its 664100 hectares of unparalleled mountain scenery nestled in the heart of the magnificent Canadian Rockies offering 844 different plant species and nine boat tours on offer to help you escape the daily grind. 

                          Rounding up the top three is Fiordland National Park in New Zealand. The incredible fiords here are so clear it looks like the sky is all around you, with snow-capped mountains and three beautiful lakes creating an idyllic hideaway sure to put your mind and body at ease. 

                          Psychiatrist, Dr. Lapa, commends the benefits of natural beauty spots detailing research on ‘ecotherapy’.

                          “The Japanese have been practicing Ecotherapy as it’s commonly known for years, with something called Shinrin-Yoku which means forest bathing. Not only does forest bathing provide mental benefits, but it also provides benefits to your bodily functioning too. The trees emit essential oils which have been shown to boost our immune systems, reduce blood pressure and more. Those locations which require exercise will also offer a little bit more to mental health too. When we exercise, endorphins are released and interact with receptors in the brain The endorphins that are released when we exercise interact with the brain receptors and they relieve stress on the body.”

                          The top 15 national parks for mental health 

                          Workshops, spas, hiking and boat tours can all help your mind unwind 

                          Putting your mind on something else is a great way to take it off anything that might be worrying you, and some national parks are full of activities to help you refocus your thoughts. 

                          Swiss National Park comes out on top again here, with 71 workshops, 83 spa treatments, 14 hiking routes and 75 boat tours giving you ample opportunity to feel distracted and divine. 

                          Cinque Terre National Park in Italy is second. While this beautiful coastal area only offers eight classes and two spa treatments, it more than makes up for it with 48 hiking routes and 34 boat tours. What better way to take in the stunning scenery? 

                          Goreme National Park in Turkey is third. This breathtaking landscape is entirely sculpted by natural erosion, leaving behind some truly remarkable sights that you won’t believe aren’t man-made. With 25 hikes and 10 boat tours on offer, you’ll be able to take them all in from every unbelievable angle.

                          The national parks with the most mindful activities 

                          Choose the right national park for you

                          Different people find different ways to unwind, and our selection of national parks has something for everyone. 

                          Bohemian Switzerland National Park in the Czech Republic is best for air quality, with a score of 0 out of 100 on the pollution scale. The stunning architecture comprises numerous castles as well as Europe’s largest sandstone arch, all of which can be enjoyed while inhaling the purest of air.

                          If it’s wildlife you’re after, look no further than the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania. There’s 62,645 animals living there of all shapes and sizes, all of which can be seen from a safe distance on one of the park’s 881 safari tours. 

                          Finally, if sitting by the water helps you unwind, there’s only one park worth considering. Yellowstone National Park in the USA has 600 lakes and 1000 rivers to enjoy, as well as the odd grizzly bear that’s best enjoyed from far away.

                          The top parks for each preference 

                          Why getting outside can be great for your health 

                          It’s estimated that one in four of us will suffer some kind of mental health problem during our lives, while one in five will sadly consider suicidal thoughts to combat them. 

                          Giving your mind space, calm and tranquility can really help you relax, especially after what has been an especially stressful year. With health insurance, every little bit helps when it comes to saving money, and our national parks are a great way to improve both your mental and physical wellbeing. 

                          We’ve all been trapped inside for too long. Now the rules are relaxing, make the most of the great outdoors and see what it can do for you. 

                          Now could be the perfect time for health insurance

                          After over a year of delayed NHS appointments and Covid backup, it could take a long time for things to get back up and running. With private health insurance, you could skip the queues and get the cost of any treatment covered by your provider. Not only could this mean you’re seen much faster, but it will also ensure you’re seen by dedicated experts in a clean, safe environment. 

                          Compare our health insurance quotes today to see how affordable fast, specialist medical care could be.

                          Mental health during Covid-19

                          The pandemic has had a devastating effect on people’s mental health, with 24% of UK adults feeling lonely and a staggering 62% feeling stressed or anxious. 

                          The uncertainty of what was coming next led to 53% of people developing anxiety, with many of us who’d previously been in full time work with busy social lives suddenly feeling isolated and lost. 

                          As we start to see hope on the horizon, it’s important to give yourself some time to adjust. Self-care has never been more important, so whether that’s catching up with friends, meeting your family or simply heading outdoors and soaking up the atmosphere, make some time for yourself and don’t do anything you feel uncomfortable with. 

                          Our minds have been put under unprecedented levels of stress recently. They deserve some special attention.

                          Methodology

                          We researched 30 of the most beautiful national parks according to National Geographic, gathering information from the park’s official sites and other reliable sources. We used a weighted rank, scoring each park for the amount of green space, rivers, lakes, species of plants and animals, hikes, boat tours, classes and workshops, spas and wellness centres at each park. We also scored the park's for low visitor and air pollution levels, totalling their score to reveal the most mindful parks overall. Separately we summed up the number and variety of mindful activities at each park to reveal the best parks for mindful activities. 

                          Commentary on mental health benefit and ecotherapy courtesy of Dr. Alexander Lapa, psychiatrist for Ocean Recovery Centre.

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