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Martin Lewis Private Health Insurance Review

Should you trust Martin Lewis' views on private health insurance? Here's our thoughts on Martin Lewis' health insurance advice

A photo of Grace Lynch, the author

By Grace Lynch

Published on: 27 July 2023

10 min read

Martin Lewis Private Health Insurance Review

Let’s face it, the NHS isn’t in a good place at the moment which is why so many people are now looking into private health insurance. It’s possible at some point in the future we might all end up with at least some private health cover, especially if the situation doesn’t improve.

9 out of 10 times when consumers are looking for trusted guidance and support for insurance services, they want to know what Martin Lewis has to say. Martin Lewis is regarded as one of the leading experts for personal finances and products like health insurance, but even he doesn’t have all the answers.

So, why do people care what Martin Lewis thinks and what he says? Most of the time it’s because consumers believe that they should, and Martin Lewis’ face and name is often very closely linked with financial consumer advice.

Realistically, Martin Lewis is a financial journalist with strong views and a good understanding of personal finances, which means people listen to him and trust what he has to say. We’re not suggesting that everything he says is wrong, but he doesn’t have all the answers and can’t represent the views of every consumer.

QUICK SUMMARY – Martin Lewis Private Health Insurance Opinions

In this guide, we’re pretty much giving our opinions on Martin Lewis’ opinions. As much as Martin Lewis is highly trusted, he’s also just a person sharing his views on a particular topic – in this case private health insurance. The main things he’s had to say about it in the past are:

  • It’s not for everyone (you should only buy health insurance if you think you can afford it)
  • If you’re not sure what policy is right for you, you should get some advice from a health insurance expert
  • Price comparison sites can be useful but not in every situation (they won’t explain much about policy features)
  • Take the time to do some research and make sure you fully understand your policy and what you’re covered for

This is a very fair question, especially if you’re thinking about trusting what he has to say or basing whether you buy health insurance on his guidance.

Martin Lewis facts:

  • He started the free financial advice site MoneySavingExpert.com for just £100 back in 2003
  • He has received a CBE for services to consumer rights and broadcasting and his charitable contributions
  • Martin Lewis founded his own charity the MSE Charity which grants funds to UK non-profit organisations who help with financial education

He’s a very high-profile financial journalist who is often interviewed on TV and radio shows. He even has his own financial advice TV show ‘The Martin Lewis Money Show’ on ITV which he co hosts with Angellica Bell.

Martin Lewis’ Guide to Life Insurance – How Much? | This Morning

Should I trust Martin Lewis’ opinion on private health insurance?

We’re pretty clear in our view that Martin Lewis is opinion is just that – an opinion. It’s a well-researched opinion and we’re not here to slate Martin Lewis or say that everything he says is wrong. We just suggest doing your own research too, so you’ve got the full picture.

Martin Lewis does work hard to provide free financial resources for millions of UK consumers and clearly does his homework before publishing advice. This is something that we also pride ourselves on and Martin Lewis and MoneySavingExpert.com did pave the way for websites like MPO to exist.

He’s also been involved in several high-profile campaigns like:

  • PPI campaign: the most famous being his fight against mis sold payment protection insurance (PPI).
  • Bank charges campaign: Martin Lewis has fought against unfair bank charges and provided resources to help consumers recover money that’s been taken unfairly
  • Energy bill campaigns: Martin Lewis is constantly campaigning against rises to energy bills which would be harmful for UK consumers

One thing that’s admirable about Martin Lewis is that he always gives a frank and honest opinion on financial services products and how they work. He’s never going to pretend to like a product if he doesn’t, even if the opinion is a little controversial.

Should I always follow Martin Lewis’ advice?

Honestly no, I wouldn’t always follow Martin Lewis advice. He does make some good points and there are certain things that I would agree with that he says. He does have a lot of experience in discussing insurance policies like health insurance but realistically he’s just sharing his own thoughts on the topic.

Will Martin Lewis’ advice save me money on my health insurance policy?

Some of the things Martin Lewis says might save you some money when you’re considering buying health insurance or renewing your cover. There are a few useful tips mixed in with the guidance on MoneySavingExpert.com.

The main things have been said on MoneySavingExpert.com that would help you save money on health insurance are:

  1. Try using a price comparison site like MoneySuperMarket (for full transparency MoneySuperMarket does own MoneySavingExpert.com).
  2. Look for a policy that includes extra rewards and benefits. Vitality policies are the best example of this with big discounts on gym memberships and other attractive perks. Sometimes you’ll end up saving so much in discounts, you save more than you’re paying out for your policy.
  3. Talk to health insurance specialist if you’re struggling to find the right cover. Ask family and friends if they’ve ever used a specific broker that they would recommend. you can also check the AMII website for a full list of health insurance brokers.
  4. You can haggle with your insurance provider to try and get a better price. This might seem a little unbelievable but trust us it can work (though not every time).
  5. Compare prices across the market and switch to a new provider if they’re offering the same benefits for less.

Do I need to look at other opinions about health insurance?

The most important opinion on health insurance is your own. However, you’re not going to have an opinion on health insurance unless you look around and do a bit of research. This is where it can be useful to look at what other people have to say.

I wouldn’t rely solely on what other people think when deciding whether to buy health insurance policy. I certainly wouldn’t rely on only Martin Lewis’ opinion. Have a good look around and see what other opinions you can find online.

What has Martin Lewis said about private health insurance?

Martin Lewis and his website MoneySavingExpert.com generally support health insurance as a good idea for UK consumers.

He does also make it clear that private health insurance might not be for everyone though. The fact is that private health insurance:

  • Can be more expensive if you’re older
  • Will cost more for smokers
  • May not be affordable for people with a lower budget

The truth is he’s right about this, health insurance can be expensive and not everyone will want or need health insurance. While private health insurance is great, it’s not something that everyone can afford. You should always consider how much you can afford to pay and if it’s worth it for you and your family.

Martin Lewis private health insurance: 5 need-to-knows

Here are some of the main things that you should know about private health insurance before you buy based on the guidance found on MoneySavingExpert.com. While Martin Lewis didn’t write this particular guide, it’s on his website so it’s safe to assume that he agrees with what is being said.

Though health insurance policies only tend to last for one year, you’re still committing to paying for this for an entire year of your life. You should make sure you have all the facts before making any decisions.

1. You can change your policy so you’re only paying for what you need

Providers will sell basic health insurance plans that you can customise so they suit you. You can add on helpful optional extras like enhanced outpatient care.

People aren’t always aware that they can also limit their plans to save money. Choose a lower excess, go for a less extensive hospital list or choose a six week wait option and you should pay less.

2. Don’t choose a higher excess than you can afford

It’s tempting to choose the highest level of excess because this will cut your monthly costs down. You need to remember the whole point of health insurance is that is there to support you if you need to make a claim.

If you’re claiming for expensive care and then have to pay thousands of pounds in excess you’re not really saving that much money.

The only time we’d suggest going for a higher amount of excess is if you’re only bothered about claiming for huge medical procedures that could cost hundreds of thousands of pounds. In that situation, paying £1000 towards your treatment is still saving a significant amount.

3. Make sure you understand your policy

Don’t get caught out because you don’t know what you’re actually covered for. It can be frustrating to submit claims that get rejected and it’s just a waste of time on both ends.

Study your policy documents carefully so you have a good understanding of the things you’re allowed to claim for. Most of the time you won’t be able to claim for things like pre-existing medical conditions or conditions that require ongoing care (chronic conditions).

4. The claims process isn’t always going to be the same

Insurers tend to follow a similar structure for how they process claims but it’s still worth checking what you need to do with your own insurer.

With most health insurance policies you would need to:

  • Get a referral from your own GP
  • Contact your insurer to start your claim (you’ll need to provide some details here about what you’re claiming for)
  • Your insurer will check they can pay out for this claim
  • You choose a specialist from a pre approved list you agreed to when you bought the policy

5. You don’t need to talk about your medical history (but you could save if you do)

There’s two main options when you buy a new health insurance policy:

  1. Moratorium underwriting: you don’t have to answer any health questions and most people go for this option because it is quicker and it’s cheaper to begin with. The main thing people get caught out with is that claims can take longer if you need to prove you haven’t had this condition before.
  2. Full medical underwriting: this is where the insurer looks at your entire medical history. It can take longer to get the cover you need but your claims will normally be processed quicker. You can only save bit of money if the insurer chooses to exclude your medical conditions (not allow claims for them).

The NHS is really struggling at the moment, and we’ve all seen the effect of this. Something as simple as a nurses’ strike can lead to the operation you’ve been waiting to have for months being pushed back even further.

We completely get why so many people now are looking at private health insurance. It’s a scary thought that you might have to wait a ridiculous amount of time for treatment that you desperately need.

Private health insurance:

  • Helps you skip long NHS waiting lists
  • Gives you access to private medical care without having to pay sky high costs for it
  • Has flexible policies so you can choose the right amount of cover for how much you can afford
  • Will usually include things like cancer cover as standard (something that many of us Will be concerned about the cost of paying for if we chose to go private)
  • Will normally offer extra benefits that you can add such as mental health cover or dental cover if these things are important to you

At the minute you don’t need to have private health insurance, unless you want it. Martin Lewis makes this really clear in everything that he says and that is published on MoneySavingExpert.com. Often the NHS will be able to provide the care you need without you needing to pay.

How to buy Martin Lewis Private Health Insurance?

You can’t buy Martin Lewis private health insurance because it doesn’t exist. Martin Lewis isn’t an insurance provider or an insurance broker – he doesn’t sell health insurance he just talks about it.

He does have some useful tips though the best ways to buy health insurance which we do agree with:

  1. Use a price comparison site – this can work for some people, if they have a good idea of what they want and just want an idea of price.
  2. Speak to a health insurance expert – this is the option we would lean towards. Unless you’ve got a solid idea of exactly which policy and provider you want, it’s normally helpful to get some advice.

We’ve spent a lot of time explaining Martin Lewis’ views and our thoughts about them. Here’s what we think about private health insurance over at MPO.

  • It’s useful and can certainly help you save money if you want to get private medical care
  • There’s a good range of choices available on the market, which is good because it means you’re not stuck with only one option for an insurance provider
  • What works for one person might not work for someone else, you need to think about which provider and policy would be the best fit for you
  • It can be a bit complicated to understand and compare policies, which is why we write our guides to try and make things a little easier for you
  • Not everyone can afford health insurance and that’s OK – don’t buy a policy if you don’t think you could afford it long term
  • We’d suggest talking to a health insurance specialist or broker for full advice about health insurance and your own situation

Martin Lewis talks about many other financial products and insurance policies. Below is a list of more of our Martin Lewis guides, so you can read more about his thoughts and decide on your own opinions about these products.

More health insurance guides

Here are some more guides about health insurance to give you more information about how it works and what it’s used for:

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