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AXA Health insurance – does it offer good value for money?

Here's everything you need to know about AXA health insurance including pros and cons, added perks and important things to look out for

A photo of Grace Lynch, the author

By Grace Lynch

Published on: 20 November 2023

14 min read

AXA Health insurance – does it offer good value for money?

AXA Health is one of the biggest and best-known health insurance providers in the UK, but this doesn’t mean they’re going to be the right choice for everyone. There are a lot of pros and cons to think about with AXA health insurance, so you should definitely do your research before buying a policy.

One of the main reasons that UK consumers like AXA Health is the fact that you can access care with over 34,000 specialists. AXA also throw in some appealing extra perks for their customers like free new-born baby cover and discounts with popular gyms like Nuffield Health.

My main suggestion would be to think about what features of health insurance are most important to you and if you feel like AXA Health will offer you good value for money. Here I’m diving deeper into who AXA Health are and how their policies work to give you all the information you need to make informed decision about your health cover.

QUICK SUMMARY – AXA Health insurance – does it offer good value for money?

AXA is a popular insurance provider in the UK known for selling policies like health insurance and life insurance as well as other financial products like pensions. They definitely have the strength of a brand name behind them, but can they offer you the best value for money?

  • AXA health policies include some features in such as access to more than 34,000 specialists and unlimited cover for specialist fees and outpatient surgeries.
  • You could also grab some extra bargains with an AXA health policy, by taking advantage with benefits like 40% off gym memberships, free virtual GP services and free health cover for any new-born baby (until your policy renews for the next year)
  • There are some cons to consider with AXA health insurance and AXA won’t be the right choice for every person. It’s worth speaking to a health insurance specialist for advice if you’re unsure of which insurer is the best choice for you.

AXA Health have been selling health insurance to UK consumers since way back in 1938 (originally known as the London Association for Hospital Services). While they originally only sold policies to high earners in London, they soon expanded to covering whole UK.

They rebranded to AXA PPP healthcare in 1999 before simplifying this to AXA Health in 2020. AXA is a household name in the UK and most of us will have seen adverts for various products they sell. I personally most associate AXA with pensions, even though they are well known for their insurance.

AXA does offer a decent health insurance policy with features like:

  • Good level of cancer support (including treatment not yet available on the NHS)
  • Option for individual, family or business health cover depending on what you need
  • Choices available to cut costs e.g. choosing a 6 week wait option (you use NHS services if they can offer the treatment needed within 6 weeks)
  • Extra discounts and services (40% Hussle Gym and Nuffield Health memberships and free online GP services)

I will admit that if you’re looking for a lot of extra benefits and rewards AXA might not be the right choice and it may be better to look at a provider like Vitality who is known for their comprehensive Vitality Rewards scheme. AXA does however offer decent core coverage and is well suited to family health insurance cover if that’s what you’re looking for.

We all want slightly different things from our health insurance policies, so I can’t say you should definitely choose AXA Health over a different provider. Ultimately, which health insurance provider feels ‘right’ will be different for every person.

You should take the time to do some research and work out what’s most important to you to cover with your health insurance and which providers have the best prices. It may be helpful to check price comparison sites or maybe even speak to a health insurance specialist to figure out who’s offering the best prices for what you need.

If you realise that AXA isn’t quite right for you, there are a good range of alternatives available like:

AXA health insurance is unlikely to be the best option for every person who is interested in health insurance, but there are certain types of customers that it works well for.

Through our MPO research, we’ve found that AXA policies tend to work well for younger applicants compared to other insurers. The pricing for policies works well for younger applicants and there are decent range of benefits that may be appealing.

Of course, applicants who are older may find AXA to be a good choice for them too – it all comes down to personal preference and the type of cover you need. If you aren’t sure which insurer will work best for you, you might find it helpful to get advice from a health insurance specialist.

There isn’t one set answer to the question of how much AXA health insurance will cost every month, as the price will vary slightly depending on your own situation. There are a few main factors that AXA Health will want to know about before deciding how much you pay, such as:

  • How old you are
  • Your postcode (medical treatment costs can vary in different areas)
  • The level of cover needed
  • If you want to add on any additional benefits
  • Amount of excess paid when claiming
  • Claims history (if you are renewing your policy)

Budget is a big concern for most UK consumers, particularly with the current cost of living crisis. If you’re thinking about AXA health insurance but you’re worried it’s going to be too expensive, there are luckily a few simple ways to cut some costs.

Some of the easiest ways to lower the cost of AXA health insurance are:

  • Choose reduced cancer cover: while full cancer cover might be appealing it can be a little more expensive. If you choose NHS Cancer Support when you apply, you will use the NHS for any cancer care and treatment rather than your health insurance.
  • Reduce your overall level of cover: think carefully about what benefits you need before you apply and don’t pay for extra benefits that you realistically are unlikely to use or claim for
  • Go for the guided option: AXA, like many insurers, allows you to choose a cheaper ‘guided’ option for your health insurance. With this cover, you can still access the same level of care but will be limited to a choice of 3 recommended specialists when you claim (not the standard full hospital list)

To be honest, whether an insurance policy is ‘worth’ the money you spend will always come down to personal opinion. If you’re trying to work out whether AXA health cover will be worth it for you, there are a few simple things to think about:

  1. Does AXA offer a good enough level of cover for the health insurance you need or are other insurers better?
  2. Are you happy with the number of specialists and hospitals available with your chosen plan?
  3. Are you likely to take full advantage of all the features and benefits included in your policy?

I would say that overall AXA Health policies do provide good value for money, due to the quality of healthcare available and the extra benefits on offer. You can receive benefits like:

  • Up to 40% off Nuffield Health and Hussle Gym memberships
  • FREE online GP access 24/7 with AXA Doctor at Hand
  • Cover children’s speech therapy (children under 14)
  • Unlimited outpatient surgeries cover
  • Up to £2,000 pay out for NHS hospital stays (£50 per night)
  • Comprehensive cancer cover with access to specialist drugs and therapies
  • Option to add on extra benefits like travel cover, mental health cover and additional therapies cover
  • Recently announced menopause support available for AXA health customers

You should always assess your own situation and how much you would be happy to spend before committing to a policy like health insurance though. If you’re not sure if AXA is the right provider for you, it can be helpful to shop around and check quotes from other providers to see if they offer similar benefits for a better price.

Before buying a policy from AXA, you need to make sure that you understand how health insurance policies work and if there are any important things you need to know about AXA.

AXA health insurance is actually fairly simple compared to some other providers, with one ‘core’ cover option and the ability to add extra benefits to tailor the cover to what you need.

You can add your partner or children and build an AXA family health insurance plan to give you peace of mind that your loved ones can also access private healthcare services. For any AXA policy, there are two main choices that you will be given when you apply, which is if you would like immediate access or a 6 week wait option.

  • Immediate access means that (as you might expect) you can access advice and support from AXA health specialists as soon as your own doctor has diagnosed you*
  • 6 week wait is a popular option if you want health insurance but have a tighter budget. These policies cost slightly less because you agree to use NHS services, if the NHS can treat you within 6 weeks of diagnosis.

Note:* This is standard for most health insurance policies, as generally you won’t be covered for your initial appointment to discuss your symptoms (known as the ‘primary care’ stage of treatment).

One thing that can be tricky with health insurance is working out which type of health insurance will work best for you. There are policies available for individuals, couples, families and even businesses, so you can choose what feels right for you.

AXA allows you to add your partner or children to your own individual health insurance plan, to build your own policy so it works best for what you need. Other policies available through AXA are designed for businesses and you can choose between:

  • AXA Small Business Health Insurance: This works well for smaller businesses that are looking to provide an attractive employee benefit and support their workers’ health and wellbeing
  • AXA Corporate Health Insurance: This is designed for bigger companies who want cover a larger number of employees (250+ employees)

Note: If you’re unsure if AXA is the best provider for you or which policy type you need, it can be helpful to ask for advice from a health insurance specialist.

Type of policyAXA Private Medical Insurance
Policy optionsAXA Personal Health insurance
AXA Business Health Insurance
Range of policiesIndividual health insurance
Couples health insurance
Family health insurance
Small business health insurance
Corporate health insurance
What is included in my policy?With AXA health insurance, you are covered for:  

Any charges for private hospital and day patient units (in patient and day patient)
Specialist fees (NO yearly limit)
Cancer treatments (in patient and day patient)
Hospital accommodation benefit (full cover when a child under 16 receives treatment)
£100 per night for a parent to stay in a nearby hotel when a child under 16 receives treatment (up to £500 maximum)
NO yearly limit for surgery (outpatient) CT, MRI and PET scans at an approved hospital or scanning station (following a specialist referral)
Up to £750 towards additional therapies e.g. acupuncture or physiotherapy
Up to £300 for nurse or care assistant services in the 90 days following discharge from hospital
IV chemotherapy or antibiotics administered by a nurse at home for cancer patients
24/7 health and wellbeing helplines
Working Body (members over 18 can self refer to a physiotherapist for muscle, bone or joint pain)  
Is there anything AXA health won’t cover?AXA health insurance will not cover you for:  

Pre-existing medical conditions
Treatment of chronic medical conditions
Pregnancy
Childbirth
Dental treatment
Fees for services usually carried out by a dentist, optician or GP
How long does AXA health insurance cover you for?Your policy will cover you for 1 year from the date that your policy starts.  
AXA Health will get in touch before the end of your policy term to ask if you would like to renew for another year.
Where can I claim for medical treatment with AXA Health?You will be able to claim for private medical treatment within the UK that is provided by an AXA approved specialist.   You may be able to claim for planned and pre-approved medical treatment abroad with specific policies.
Levels of cover availableStandard core cover with the option to add extra benefits to increase the level of cover.    
You can add benefits like:  

Travel cover (covers you while abroad)
Mental health cover (unlimited in or day patient psychiatric treatment and outpatient CBT cover)
Additional therapies cover (up to 10 sessions of specialist treatment such as physiotherapy)  

You can also reduce your level of cover by choosing the ‘guided’ option which can be cheaper (you will only be given the option of 3 recommended specialists when you claim).
When will I pay for AXA health insurance?You can choose between monthly or annual payments for your AXA health insurance policy.  
You can pay by Direct Debit each month and if paying yearly you could pay by credit card, cheque or bank transfer if you prefer.

Cancer is a main concern for so many UK consumers (myself included) who are looking for health insurance cover.

I know that if I was applying for a new health insurance policy, I’d want to make sure that they had a suitable level of cancer cover as I have a family history of cancer. I know many people in the UK will be in this exact situation, which is why I think it’s important to look at the cancer care and support available when assessing a health insurance provider.

I’d say that AXA offers a decent level cancer cover plus some appealing extra benefits that some consumers may find useful. Some of the main features of AXA health cancer cover are:

  • Quick access to cancer specialists (once you’ve been diagnosed on the NHS)
  • 24/7 access to healthcare professionals on their Cancer Support phone service
  • Covers the cost of any drugs recommended by your specialist (doesn’t include outpatient treatment)
  • option to receive chemotherapy treatment at home so you’re more comfortable
  • ability to call for cancer assessments without needing a GP referral (if you suspect you have breast, skin or prostate cancer)
  • You’re given your own dedicated cancer care manager who will manage your case so you don’t have to re explain everything every time you need to claim
  • Cover for wigs (up to £400 per year) and prosthetics (up to £5,000)  during active cancer treatment
  • Cover for cancer monitoring and follow ups, and also covers palliative care if needed

One notable downside with AXA’s cancer cover is that it’s not available to customers who’ve had cancer in the past (before they bought an AXA policy).

They do however have their NHS Cancer Support option, where you would use the NHS for cancer treatment or pay for it yourself. with this cover they might however pay out for the costs of specific cancer drugs if the NHS care doesn’t fund this.

More information – AXA – Health insurance cover for cancer

One thing that many people don’t realise is that health insurance isn’t designed to cover the cost of treatment for pre-existing conditions. This refers to any medical condition you have had within 5 years of applying for your policy.

It’s important to be aware that AXA won’t pay out for pre-existing conditions or for chronic (ongoing) conditions that are diagnosed during your policy. This might feel frustrating, but health insurance in general isn’t designed for this and that’s exactly why health insurance is intended to work alongside NHS care and not to replace it completely.

ProCon
Insurance provider with a good reputation and well established historyDoesn’t pay out for pre-existing or chronic medical conditions (same as other health insurance providers)
Decent core health cover with the option to add on extra benefits or reduce cover if neededHealth insurance can be confusing to understand if you haven’t bought it before no matter what provider you choose
Includes extra perks like 40% gym discounts and access to online GP servicesWill usually only pay out for treatment following a diagnosis with your own GP

The last thing you want is to be having a worrying time with your health and then be struggling to work out how you contact your health insurance provider. many insurers have several ways to get in touch and AXA is one of the simpler ones to contact with two main phone numbers.

If you bought your health insurance through Health-on-Line, you will also need to contact AXA Health if you have any issues or questions about your policy, This is because Health-on-Line and AXA PPP merged to form AXA Health (all 3 brands were previously owned and run by AXA anyway).

AXA Health insurance policies

Tel. 0800 302 9133

Opening hours: 8am – 8pm Monday to Friday and 9am – 5pm Saturdays

Health-on-Line health insurance plans

Tel. 01202 544 444

Opening hours: 8am – 6pm Monday to Friday

The claims process is one of the key things to ask about when you apply for a health insurance policy, so you fully understand how it works if you ever need to make a claim.

Some insurers have a frustratingly complicated way of claiming, with separate processes depending on the type of claim you are making, AXA luckily isn’t one of those insurers and most claims will follow the same procedure:

  1. Speak to your GP about symptoms, get diagnosed and get an open referral for specialist care
  2. Call AXA who will check if your claim is valid based on your policy and level of cover
  3. AXA will use their Fast-Track service to arrange an appointment for you with your chosen specialist OR will give you a list of 3 recommended specialists to choose from (guided option)
  4. Have your treatment and AXA will contact the provider directly to settle the bill

The only time you may experience a different process is when claiming for muscle or joint pain – and this is because AXA makes it easier for you! For pain in your muscles or joints, you don’t need to contact your own GP first for a referral. Simply use AXA’s Working Body service, which will arrange for you to speak to a qualified physiotherapist over the phone.

While no one buys an insurance policy intending to cancel it, sometimes this is necessary and insurance providers need to have a system in place to allow you to do this.

Here’s what you need to know if you want to cancel AXA health insurance policy:

  1. You’re entitled to cancel your policy whenever you want to and for any reason
  2. There’s no option currently available to cancel online (you will need to call AXA health or write to them in the post)
  3. If your employer pays for your AXA health insurance you will need to speak to them about cancelling your cover before contacting AXA

You should be aware before cancelling your policy that you won’t receive any money back if you pay monthly, unless you’re cancelling within the initial 14 day cooling off period. You will receive some money back if you pay annually and cancel part way through the year.

Annoyingly with AXA, they do charge a £20 admin fee upon cancellation as well as deducting the cost of any claims that year. I thought it was important that this should be made clear, as it is something that’s buried in small print in policy terms and conditions.

AXA Health insurance contact number (UK cancellations)

Tel. 0800 454 080

Opening hours: 8am – 8pm Monday to Friday and 9am – 5pm on Saturdays and Bank Holidays

Post:

AXA PPP Healthcare,
Philips House,
Crescent Road,
Tunbridge Wells,
Kent,
TN1 2PL

It can be very upsetting or frustrating to realise your insurance policy or provider isn’t really living up to expectations. In this situation, you are absolutely entitled to make a complaint if you would like to.

My advice would be to speak to the insurer themselves first, as they will usually have a complaints procedure in place. As much as they won’t like to receive complaints, they understand this will happen occasionally and will usually do what they can to make things right.

If you feel your complaint has been badly dealt with or you don’t’ agree with the outcome, you can speak to the Financial Ombudsman Service for advice and support. They are an independent organisation who work to help consumers who experience issues with financial services businesses like insurance companies.

AXA complaints contact details

Tel. 0800 068 2479

Tel. 0800 068 2494 (corporate health insurance)

Email: Submit an email complaint through AXA Member Online


Post:

AXA PPP Healthcare,
Philips House,
Crescent Road,
Tunbridge Wells,
Kent,
TN1 2PL

Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) contact details

Tel. 0800 023 4567 (or 0300 123 9123)

Tel. 0207 964 0500 (overseas)

Email – complaint.info@financial-ombudsman.org.uk

I’d always recommend reading the reviews for any insurance provider before buying a policy from them and it’s usually best to use an independent review site such as TrustPilot for this.

Using an independent site guarantees all reviews will be shown and not just the more flattering ones, which is a risk when looking at an insurer’s own website.

AXA Health Insurance (TrustPilot score) – 4.2 out of 5.0 stars (with 8,858 reviews)

% of 5 star reviews – 63% of reviews rated AXA Health 5.0 out of 5.0 stars

% of 4 star reviews – 10% of reviews rated AXA Health 4.0 out of 5.0 stars

% of 3 star reviews – 5% of reviews rated AXA Health 3.0 out of 5.0 stars

% of 2 star reviews – 4% of reviews rated AXA Health 2.0 out of 5.0 stars

% of 1 star reviews – 18% of reviews rated AXA Health 1.0 out of 5.0 stars

Note: These figures are from 20/11/2023 and AXA Health’s score may change based on further customer reviews.

There are a few options for buying private health insurance from AXA. You can:

  • Apply for AXA Health insurance directly, either over the phone or online
  • Explore prices and apply through a price comparison site
  • Get help and advice from a health insurance expert

Feel free to choose the option that suits you best. In my opinion, the easiest way to apply is with the help of a specialist. They can swiftly compare policies, finding you the lowest prices and the benefits that work best for what you need.

If you’d like more information about health insurance, you can reach out to our reliable health insurance partner at 0800 009 6559 or by clicking here.

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