Private Health Insurance

Get medical treatment faster, choose where and when you're treated and benefit from specialist recovery and aftercare with private health insurance.

What is private health insurance?

Private health insurance, often called private medical insurance (PMI), covers the cost of being treated privately for "acute medical conditions" that start after your policy begins.Private medical insurance is designed to work in conjunction with the NHS. While comprehensive policies provide excellent coverage, there will still be instances where the NHS should be your first port of call.

Why you might need private health insurance cover

It's no secret that the NHS is facing significant issues with lengthy waiting times for everything from routine operations to GP appointments. Private health insurance enables you to be seen faster and ultimately on the road to recovery sooner.

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How does private health insurance work

With private health insurance, you pay a monthly premium, and if you require treatment for an eligible condition, you can claim through your insurer and opt to be treated in a private hospital.

Primarily there are two types of health insurance to choose between, treatment-only and comprehensive policies.

  • Treatment-only policies

    Treatment-only policies require you to be diagnosed via the NHS before switching to a private hospital for your treatment. While a good option for those with smaller budgets, you could still wait for a considerable time for tests, scans and your diagnosis.
  • Comprehensive policies

    Comprehensive policies typically include "outpatient cover", which enables you to be diagnosed and treated privately. If you opt for a comprehensive health insurance policy, you'll be referred by your NHS GP for tests and from that point on, everything will take place privately.

Benefits of private health insurance

Private health insurance has many benefits, with the speed of treatment perhaps being the most valuable.

Reduced waiting times

Waiting times for private medical treatments are typically far shorter than via the NHS, maximising your chances of recovery and avoiding unnecessary suffering.

Specialist treatments

With private health insurance, you'll have access to cutting-edge treatments and drugs that may not be routinely available via the NHS.

Choice of hospital

All private medical insurers give you access to their networks of private hospitals in the UK, and you have the freedom to choose where your treatment takes place.

Appointment flexibility

Unlike the NHS, where you're often given minimal appointment choices, private medical insurance gives you more flexibility about when your treatment happens.

Private rooms

If you're admitted to hospital for treatment, you'll stay in a private room, often with an ensuite bathroom, "hotel-like" facilities and relaxed visitation rules.

Recovery and aftercare

Your health insurance will also cover the cost of a set number of follow-up appointments after your initial treatment, giving you the best chance of a successful recovery.

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What does private health insurance cover?

As we've already outlined, health insurance is designed to cover the cost of private treatment for acute medical conditions you suffer after taking out your policy. Pre-existing conditions, meaning those you've suffered from in the past five years, will be excluded, as well as chronic conditions, such as asthma or diabetes.

What is an acute condition?

An acute condition comes on rapidly, requiring short-term treatment and care. Acute medical conditions are those for which a relatively swift recovery is expected following treatment.

Examples of acute conditions:

  • Treatable joint pain
  • Broken bones
  • Hernias
  • Cataracts
  • Cancer

Note: depending on the policy you opt for, some of the above may or may not be covered, so please check with us or your policy documentation for more detail.

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Quickly compare the UK's leading health insurance providers and find the best policy for the best price.

Inpatient and day-patient treatment vs outpatient

The critical difference between basic and comprehensive health insurance is whether outpatient cover is included. Here we explain the key differences between these types of treatment.

Inpatient and day-patient treatment

Inpatient and day-patient treatments are those where you need to be admitted to hospital either overnight or for a day. If you need a bed during your visit, you'll either be an inpatient or a day patient.

Outpatient treatment

Inpatient and day-patient treatments are those where you need to be admitted to hospital either overnight or for a day. If you need a bed during your visit, you'll either be an inpatient or a day patient.

Core cover vs comprehensive

What is typically included in "core cover"?

  • Private hospital fees- the costs associated with being admitted to a private hospital.
  • Consultant fees - surgeons, anaesthetists and specialist fees.
  • Virtual GP services - 24/7 access to private GP services via phone or video call.
  • Post-treatment consultations - when they follow on from an eligible treatment.
  • Post-treatment scans and tests - following an eligible treatment.
  • NHS cash benefit - if you opt to be treated via the NHS rather than privately.
  • Private ambulance - typically for transfers, not emergencies.
  • Mental health support - usually a helpline you can call around the clock.
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What does outpatient cover add?

By including outpatient cover (which most people do), you enhance your policy and unlock many more private treatment and diagnosis options. Here's what's typically included:

  • Pre-treatment outpatient consultations - either paid in full or up to an annual limit.
  • Pre-treatment diagnostic tests and scans - includes MRI, CT and PET scans.
  • Outpatient physiotherapy - most but not all policies
  • Outpatient treatments - typically for minor conditions or surgery.

Other ways to enhance your policy

Finally, there are several ways you can further customise your policy to suit your specific requirements. Your options include the following:

  • Cover for alternative therapies such as acupuncture and chiropractic treatment
  • Cover for routine dental, hearing and optical appointments
  • Mental health cover
  • Extended hospital list
  • Worldwide travel cover
Nicholas has been excellent throughout the whole process of initial contact to finalisation, of a comprehensive package that completely met our needs.

What isn't covered by private medical insurance?

While what is and isn't covered will vary between policies, there are some general exclusions you'll find with all health insurance providers. These include; pre-existing conditions, chronic conditions, routine pregnancy, self-harm and suicide, emergency treatment, intensive care, fertility or IVF treatment, cosmetic surgery, and treatment for alcoholism or other substance abuse.

While these are the most common exclusions, your insurer and policy may have different ones you should be aware of, so please ask us if you'd like more detail.

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Do you need private health insurance advice?

Private medical insurance is a relatively complicated product; to the untrained eye, it can be easy to miss or overlook critical aspects. At Globacare, all of our advisers have many years of experience and can quickly help you compare the best policies and find the right one for you. The service we provide is completely free, with no obligation to buy.

Why do people choose us and keep coming back?

We work hard to provide the highest levels of customer satisfaction, and it's one of the main reasons that many of our clients have been with us for years. Here's what you can expect from us:

  • Free advice from health insurance experts
  • 5-star rating from over 365 reviews, with customers consistently recommending us to family and friends
  • We're independent and work with all the leading insurers
  • A single point of contact, both before you buy and after
  • Help with claims if you ever need it
  • Honest and trustworthy advice from a friendly team
  • We can help with other products such as life and income protection
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Frequently asked questions