What is health insurance?
Health insurance gives you access to private healthcare and helps cover the cost. This can be anything from physiotherapy to treat an injury, to major heart surgery and cancer treatment.
Health insurance is sometimes called medical insurance, private medical insurance or private health insurance. They’re all the same thing.
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The benefits of health insurance
How does health insurance work?
You pay monthly health insurance premiums. When your GP refers you to a specialist, you make a claim with your insurer. You’ll be able to choose who treats you, and at which hospital.
1 – Choose your health insurance plan
Choose your insurer and your excess amount. This is the amount you agree to pay towards your treatment if you make a claim. The higher your excess, the lower your premiums.
2 – Pay your premium
This is the cost of your health insurance plan. It’s usually taken as a monthly Direct Debit.
3 – See a GP when you’re unwell
This can either be your NHS GP or a private GP, like Vitality GP. If you need to see a specialist or get treatment, they’ll refer you.
4 – Contact your insurer and make a claim
When you contact your insurer, they can find a consultant for you. They will ask about your symptoms and when they started. They will assess your claim. When it’s approved, you can receive treatment.
5 – Your bill is paid
Once you’ve received your treatment, the hospital will send your insurer the invoice. In some circumstances you may need to pay your excess. For example, if your treatment cost £1,000 and your excess is £250, the insurer will cover £750, and you’ll pay £250.
What does health insurance cover?
Private medical insurance helps cover the cost of private medical treatment. This includes hospital stays, medicines, physiotherapy and surgical procedures.
Health insurance in the UK doesn’t usually cover chronic or pre-existing conditions.
Most health insurance plans cover:
✓ Acute conditions
These are conditions where symptoms develop quickly and treatment is short-term. Examples include hernias and joint injuries.
✓ Private hospital stays
✓ Specialist consultations
Our core health cover includes the above, but also includes:
✓ Weight loss surgery
✓ Corrective surgeries
✓Discounts and rewards for healthy living
✓Mental health support
What’s not covered?
Policies differ between insurers, but usually the following aren’t covered:
✕ Chronic conditions
Conditions where symptoms appear slowly and can worsen over time. For example, diabetes.
✕ Pre-existing conditions
✕ Any treatment you receive outside the UK
✕ Emergency treatment or visits to your NHS GP
✕ Pregnancy, childbirth and related conditions
✕ Cosmetic treatment
✕ Organ transplants
✕ Any treatments or practices that are experimental, unproven or unregistered
✕ Any treatment for learning and behavioural problems, or dementia.