How to get health insurance when you are older

You can still get health insurance as you get older, but it can be more expensive and difficult to find. Here is where to find it and how to cut the cost.

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As you get older, and the chances of being injured or becoming unwell increase, health insurance becomes more expensive. There are ways, however, to keep costs under control.

Can you still get health insurance when you are older?

Yes, you can take out health insurance at any age because some insurers do not have age limits. Your policy will usually run for as long as you pay the premiums.

Some health insurers have a maximum age you can take out their cover, which is usually between 65 and 80, but others come with higher age limits or no age limits at all.

There are also policies specifically targeted at older customers, such as over 50s policies. You can find a policy using our over 50s health insurance comparison or talk to a health insurance broker to get quotes and advice.

Does it cost more?

Health insurance usually costs more when you are over 50 - this is because older people are more likely to suffer medical problems and claim more frequently as a result. This costs the insurance company more, so they charge higher premiums.

This means that if you are in your 70s, you could pay as much as three times more for health insurance than someone in their 30s.

Even if you already have a policy, it usually gets more expensive as you get older because the cost of the premiums is not fixed. Health insurance premiums are usually reviewed annually and can go up every year.

How to cut the cost of over 50s health insurance

The good news is that there are ways to for older people to get cheaper health insurance, including:

  • Proving you live a healthy lifestyle, for example by using the gym regularly

  • Choosing a policy that only covers the most important conditions and treatments you require

  • Limiting the number of hospitals and clinics covered by your policy

  • Contributing more towards the cost of a claim by paying a higher excess

  • Opting for a six-week plan which will only pay for treatment that the NHS cannot provide within that time frame

Here is how to cut the costs of your health insurance

How does health insurance work?

You pay a monthly premium for a policy that can payout to cover the cost of private treatment for illnesses and injuries. Like other insurance policies, you may have to pay an excess to claim.

Here's more on how health insurance works

What does it cover?

Different health insurance policies will cover different conditions and types of treatment. Typically, you can expect cover for outpatient treatment, including consultations and tests, and day-patient or in-patient stays. There may, however, be additional benefits - for example, dental cover, physiotherapy or psychiatric care.

Some insurers do not cover treatment for certain illnesses and conditions, but others may do so at extra cost.

Older people are more likely to have pre-existing conditions or ongoing chronic conditions like diabetes or high blood pressure. Chronic conditions are not usually included while pre-existing conditions are often excluded until you are symptom-free for a specified number of years.

  • It is also important to note that health insurance doesn’t cover emergency medical treatment. 

Where to get health insurance

You could use our comparisons to find a health insurance policy that covers everything you need. They show what each insurer's policies include for older age groups.

If you are older and have more complex health problems it may be worth consulting a  health insurance broker who can help you select the most appropriate and best value cover for you.

Here is how to choose a health insurance policy