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Health Insurance Guide

Download the Health Insurance PDF Guide here - see our other free PDF guides here

Guide Contents

What is health insurance?
Why you might need private health insurance
What are the different types of health insurance plans?
Shopping around for your health insurance cover
Health Care Insurance, How to Apply
Health Insurance FAQs - Questions and Information
UK Health Insurance, where can I go to get more help?


What is health insurance?

Health insurance is a term used to describe those types of insurance which are designed to cover and assist with the costs of personal health care. The most common type of health insurance is known as Private Medical Insurance (PMI) a form of insurance which provides cover against unexpected or costly personal health care expenses.

Private medical or health insurance is available to:

  • Companies - who wish to provide cover for their employees,
  • Individuals - who pay directly to the insurer.

The insurance is paid in the form of premiums due monthly, quarterly or annually in advance, usually payable by direct debit, credit card or cheque. Most insurers provide insurance for 12 months at a time in the form of a contract which is renewed annually. Premiums are usually reviewed annually and increased in line with inflating medical costs and the age of the person insured.

Private health insurance is provided by non-government funded private sector medical and insurance companies. These are separate to the UK's National Health Service (NHS) which is a publicly funded health care system, paid for by the revenue the Government gets from public taxes.

Private health insurance provides access to health care options not always immediately available through the public system.

Private health insurance exists parallel to the NHS, and is used by about 8% of the population, generally as an add-on to NHS services. In contrast to the NHS which provides health care regardless of age or medical condition, private health insurance can be restricted for those with conditions such as AIDS/HIV or other chronic conditions. Other exclusions can also apply to private health insurance policies depending on who they are purchased through.

Although private medical and health insurances don't replace the health services offered by the NHS they can give peace of mind by providing cover for the unexpected, when you need it. This booklet looks at the different types of private health insurance available for individuals, along with things to consider, to enable you to make an informed decision about which type of cover might be right for you.

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