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Health insurance can offer peace of mind that you'll receive treatment quickly and often skip NHS waiting lists.

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Paying into a Private health insurance premium will allow you to bypass lengthy NHS waiting lists and be treated in a private hospital, typically at a time and location of your choosing.

Sound good? So why don’t more people do this?

The main barrier to private health insurance is the belief that it’s too expensive – in some cases this is true, if you are looking for a truly comprehensive policy then you really do get what you pay for, but there are ways of accessing private care in a more accessible and affordable way.

Budget health insurance

Many insurers offer different levels of cover, with many offering budget or economy plans in order to attract ordinary families to take out insurance.

A budget plan will typically cover private hospital treatment, however there may be more limitations to your plan than with a more comprehensive policy, such as a limited choice of location or consultant.

Some budget plans will offer a waiting option – if treatment is available on the NHS within a relatively short time frame (usually 4-6 weeks), you’ll be expected to take this option rather than have the treatment privately. Choosing to defer treatment will help to reduce your premiums.

There a wide array of insurance plans available from different providers so if you are considering health insurance it would be wise to seek independent advice from a specialist health broker who can explain what many of the policies offer, assisting you in making the right decision.

Affordability factors

How much you will actually pay for your health insurance will depend on a number of factors including your age, current health status, whether you are a smoker and what type of plan you choose.

Typically, cover will be much cheaper for younger, healthier people so often time is of the essence if you are considering taking out an insurance policy.

Cutting costs

As previously mentioned, the older you are the more you will pay (because you will be seen as more of a risk to your insurer) so taking out a policy while you are young will ensure that your premium is lower.

Smoking can see premiums soar so giving up will not only improve your health, but also help to save money too. Typically insurers will want you to be smoke-free for at least 12 months so don’t expect to give up on Monday and get health insurance on Tuesday – you’ll need to exercise willpower and patience in order to reap the benefits.

Seek advice from a specialist health insurance broker – they’ll discuss what options each provider has, and what limitations you are willing to consider.  The more flexible you can be with your policy should have an impact on how much you pay.


The above post is intended to be informative but does not constitute advice – financial, legal or otherwise. Any opinions given are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the views of