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What is the average cost of private health insurance UK?

We've done some research to work out the average cost of private health insurance in the UK and how to save money on your health cover

A photo of Daniel Sharpe-Szunko, the author

By Daniel Sharpe-Szunko

Published on: 5 May 2023

7 min read

What is the average cost of private health insurance UK?

Honestly, I think we’re all a bit worried at the moment about the rising costs of products and services in the UK. When this is paired with the ever increasing NHS waiting times and the higher cost of private healthcare, it can all feel a bit overwhelming.

We all want what’s best for our health and the health of the people we care most about. With the NHS struggling massively, more and more consumers are turning to private medical care to avoid long waiting lists. Private health insurance is a good option when looking for private healthcare at a more reasonable cost than if you tried to pay for it all yourself.

You may still be concerned about how much you can expect to pay for a policy like private health insurance, which is understandable. No one wants to commit to something that’s unaffordable long term and we’ve taken the time to work out how much (on average) these policies will cost.

QUICK SUMMARY – what is the average cost of private health insurance UK?

Private medical insurance is useful in reducing the cost of private healthcare, but it may not be affordable for everyone. We’ve done some research to work out just how much health insurance might cost, to help give you an idea of if this is something you would be able to afford.

  • The cost of private health insurance will be affected by factors like your age, where you live and how many times you have claimed (if you already have a policy).
  • There are some simple ways to help reduce the cost of your policy such as removing policy benefits that you don’t need or shopping around for better deals.
  • If you’re looking for a fair price for health insurance, you can compare quotes using price comparison websites or talk to a health insurance specialist for some extra help.

We’ve checked prices with all the biggest health insurance providers in the UK and worked out that the average cost of health insurance is…. £60.09 per month.

This works out at about £721.08 per year, which is a significant amount of money. It’s hard to say if this is an affordable amount as it this depends on each person’s situation.

What is the average cost of health insurance by age?

Your age is going to play a major role in how much you pay for your health insurance policy, whether this feels fair or not. It can definitely feel frustrating to pay more simply because you are slightly older.

Fortunately, any increase in price year on year shouldn’t be massive, and if you stick with the same provider you may be able to benefit from things like no claims discount to help balance out any price increases.

Here’s the average cost of private health insurance in the UK based on your age. This would be for a policy with £250 policy excess (the amount you pay towards a claim).

Age of applicantAverage cost of policy (per month)
20 years old£33.27
30 years old£42.12
40 years old£53.74
50 years old£69.28
60 years old£102.04

How do insurers decide how much you pay for health insurance?

Health insurance can feel a bit confusing and difficult to understand, especially surrounding how it’s priced. Most people won’t know exactly what factors will affect how much they pay for their health insurance policy.

Luckily for you, we’ve put together a list of all the 5 main things that insurers will look at when working out the cost of your private health insurance policy.

1. Your age

it’s frustrating that age is something that will be assessed when deciding the price of most personal insurance policies. It can feel like you’re being punished for getting older, but this isn’t what the insurers are trying to do.

Although it might feel a bit unfair, it’s unlikely that this is going to change anytime soon. I personally can’t see insurance providers completely disregarding age at any time in the near future.

The fact is all of us will likely face more health issues as we get older and we’re more likely to get diagnosed with new medical conditions. A health insurance provider will look at your age when assessing how likely it is that you will need to claim on your health insurance policy.

2. Where you live (post code)

Again a little bit frustrating, as the price of cover can be wildly different depending on what area of the UK you live in. This is because in certain areas of the UK (mostly South England) the cost of medical treatment is higher.

We’re not suggesting that you move halfway across the country so you can get a better deal on your health insurance. It’s just something that we think it’s important that you’re aware of. Some providers will have specialised lists that cover hospitals in areas like London because of how expensive the treatment costs can be in those areas.

Note: Freedom health insurance is the main provider that we know of that doesn’t look at your post code when you apply for cover. If you live and a more expensive area they could be a better option for you than other providers.

3. How many times you’ve claimed

If you’ve already got a health insurance policy, your provider will look at your claims history when deciding on the cost for the next year. The insurer is going to look if you’ve claimed already and how many times, which is pretty similar to other types of insurance as well e.g. car insurance

The good news is that health insurance often also includes features like a no claims discount in the same way that policies like car insurance do.  You might even be able to protect your no claims discount to reduce any impact on the price of your cover if you do need to claim.

4. If the insurer looks at your medical history

It can be a bit daunting to apply for policies like life insurance or health insurance if you have a medical condition. It’s easy to be put off and assume it’s going to be way too expensive or not accessible.

If you’re worried about paying more for health insurance because of your medical history, you can opt for what’s known as moratorium underwriting. This might sound a bit complicated, but it just means that the application process won’t involve any medical questions.

The other option is full medical underwriting, where the insurer uses your medical history to work out how much you should pay for your policy. Though this does sound like it would be more expensive for you, this actually isn’t the case. If the provider chooses to exclude (not pay out for) your medical condition they’ll normally reduce the cost of cover to make it fair.

5. How much cover you want (and your policy excess)

You’re pretty much always going to pay more for a higher level of cover. If you want all the best benefits and the highest level of cover available, you should expect to pay more than the average amount for your health insurance policy.

Will I pay the average price for my health insurance policy?

It’s really hard to say whether you’re likely to pay the average price or a bit more for your health insurance. the cost varies from person to person and is based on all of the factors that we’ve mentioned above like your age, where you live and your claims history.

Your best bet for finding a low price is to compare what all the providers are offering. There’s two main options for doing this:

  1. Price comparison website – this is a quick and easy option for working out the price of various policies. These websites won’t always give you the full picture though as they’re fully focused on price and not the policy features. Some insurance providers may not be on comparison websites so you could miss out on better prices.
  2. Get advice from a health insurance specialist – a specialist health insurance broker will have access to prices and policies across the market and will also be able to explain more about how the policies work if you’re unsure.

Health insurance can really vary in price and one good thing about these policies are they’re very flexible. you can add and remove benefits to fit the price that you pay to your own budget.

If you want to pay more for a higher level of cover, this is up to you. There are a few things you should think about before buying a more expensive health insurance policy:

  • Does the provider have a good reputation and offer good value for money? You can check independent review sites like TrustPilot to get an idea of what other customers think
  • Are you paying more because there are benefits included that you don’t actually need? It’s worth thinking carefully about if there’s any features that you can remove from the policy to lower the cost
  • Does the provider offer additional rewards and benefits? Providers like Vitality have comprehensive reward schemes included with their products that can save you some money overall because of the discounts that are available

How much you decide to pay for your health insurance is completely a personal choice. Our main suggestion would be to focus less on the price and more on the level of cover you need and the policy features and benefits that are most important to you.

If you want a higher level of cover, chances are you’re going to have to pay a little bit more for it than for a standard policy. You should try and be sensible though, and not commit to paying more than you can realistically afford.

If you want to save money on your cover, there are a few simple things you can do like:

  1. Improve your health and lifestyle
  2. Agree to a 6 week wait option (you will be treated by the NHS if they can treat you within 6 weeks of your initial doctors appointment)
  3. Pay a higher amount of excess when you claim
  4. Choose a more limited list of hospitals that you can claim for treatments at
  5. Limit or remove your outpatient cover (covers any care where you do not have to stay in hospital either for the day or overnight)
  6. Compare quotes from other providers to see if any offer better deals
  7. Choose a provider that includes discounts or rewards with their policies
  8. Take off any benefits that you don’t really need from your policy
  9. Take advantage of ‘switch and save’ schemes where you can get a discount for moving to a new insurer when renewing your cover
  10. Get some advice from a health insurance specialist

The easiest way to find the lowest price for the health insurance you’re looking for is to get some help from a health insurance expert. A health insurance specialist will be able to find the best prices and discounts for health insurance policies and make sure you choose the best provider for your own circumstances.

If you need health insurance advice, you can speak to our trusted health insurance providers on 0800 009 6559 or by clicking here.

More health guides

For more information about health insurance and healthcare in the UK, here are more of our top MPO guides.

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