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You could get a better standard of medical care with comprehensive health insurance. Find a policy that could cover treatment for illness or injury.

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Last updated: 26 October, 2020

What is comprehensive health insurance?

Comprehensive health insurance pays out for private medical treatment for health conditions.

Comprehensive health insurance gives you access to treatment which you can’t get free on the NHS. You can also get your treatment faster, and usually in a nicer setting than an NHS hospital.

Each insurer has different rules on what they’ll pay out for. You need to work out what symptoms and types of treatment you’d like to cover before you apply.

Comprehensive health insurance, UK wide, covers more conditions and treatments than other policies.

What does comprehensive health insurance, UK wide, cover you for?

When you take out health insurance, you can choose different levels of cover. The highest level is called comprehensive health insurance.

Basic health insurance is the cheapest kind of policy. It only pays out for inpatient treatment, which is when you need to stay in a hospital bed for treatment or tests. It may also cover related costs.

Medium health insurance covers inpatient and outpatient treatment. That means you’ll get private medical attention, even if you’re not staying overnight in hospital. It’s a middle ground in terms of cost.

Comprehensive health insurance is the most expensive type of health insurance policy. It covers inpatient and outpatient treatment. Comprehensive medical insurance can also pay out for more sicknesses and injuries.

Your policy could offer cover for things like:

  • Treatment for cancer, such as chemotherapy

  • Access to a private room if you stay in a hospital

  • Optical and dental care

  • Physiotherapy

  • Mental health care

  • Alternative therapies, such as acupuncture.

What’s not included in comprehensive medical insurance?

Each company has different comprehensive policies. And every policy has different rules on what private healthcare they pay out for and what’s excluded.

Some comprehensive medical insurance providers include cover for non-standard treatments. Others let you add them as extras, but charge a higher premium.

Many policies don’t give you cover for emergency healthcare, either.

Why would I need comprehensive health insurance when we have the NHS?

Comprehensive health insurance offers some benefits that you don’t get with the NHS.

For example, a comprehensive medical insurance policy means you can benefit from:

  • A wider choice of tests and treatments, some of which aren’t available on the NHS

  • Shorter waiting times

  • Private rooms and more comfortable hospital stays – you might even get your own television and en-suite

  • More control over when and where you’re treated.

Can I cover my partner when I buy comprehensive sickness insurance too?

Yes. When you buy comprehensive sickness insurance, you can get a single policy or a shared policy.

If both you and your partner are taking out comprehensive medical insurance, then you might find it simpler to have a shared policy. It means you’ll both have the same cover and be liaising with the same provider.

The types of comprehensive medical insurance you can get are:

  • Individual health insurance – just for you

  • Joint health insurance – for you and your partner

  • Family health insurance – for the whole family

  • Child health insurance – just for your little ones.

How to buy comprehensive sickness insurance

First, decide treatments and symptoms you want your comprehensive health insurance policy to cover.

You can then find a comprehensive medical insurance policy online, using our broker. The broker can get you quotes and offer advice on choosing the best policy.

Once you’ve got several quotes, check they offer the cover you need. It’s more important to get the right cover than it is to get it cheaply. But, see which ones offer what you need, and then choose the one with the lowest monthly price.

How to work out which health care insurance plan is best for you.

How much does comprehensive health insurance cost?

Every provider and policy differs in price. But the kind of factors that might affect the price of your comprehensive health insurance, UK wide, are:

  • Your age – the younger you are, the cheaper your comprehensive medical insurance will be

  • Your medical history – your general health may be taken into account

  • Your lifestyle – whether you smoke, exercise and drink alcohol can impact the price of your policy

  • Where you live – policies are higher priced in certain locations, like London Which policy you choose – the more cover you want, the more it’ll cost.

Can I get cheap comprehensive health insurance?

When you take out any kind of insurance, the most important thing is to get the right level of cover for your needs. If you don’t, you’ll be paying a monthly premium and then when you make a claim you might not be able to.

There are some steps you could take to reduce the price of your comprehensive health insurance. For example, you could:

  • Increase the voluntary excess. The voluntary excess is a fee you pay when you make a claim. If you agree to raise this, you may be able to reduce the cost of your monthly premiums. However, you need to make sure you could afford the excess if you needed to claim.

  • Get less cover. You could choose a basic or medium health insurance policy. This would be cheaper, but wouldn’t cover you for as much.

  • Reduce your hospital list. When you claim, you’ll be able to choose from a list of hospitals as supplied by your comprehensive health insurance provider. If you agree to reduce the list to a smaller number of hospitals, you may be able to lower your premiums.

  • Go for a six-week option. Some comprehensive health insurance policies have a six-week clause. This means that you can only claim if the NHS is unable to treat you within six weeks. These policies are cheaper.

What happens if I have a pre-existing condition?

Most policies restrict their payouts for pre-existing conditions. A pre-existing condition is usually one which you’ve had treatment for or symptoms of in the last five years.

Examples could include:

  • Diabetes

  • High blood pressure

  • Heart disease

  • Asthma

  • Osteoarthritis

  • Strokes

  • Cancer

  • Back pain you needed surgery for.

Can I still use the NHS even if I have comprehensive medical insurance?

Yes, of course. Your rights to use the NHS don’t change. If you fall ill or get injured, you can either use the NHS or claim on your comprehensive health insurance.

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