Health insurance reimburses some or all of your healthcare expenses, such as the cost of an operation in a private hospital or National Health Service (NHS) prescription charges.
People buy health insurance to have:
- access to healthcare at a time that is convenient for them
- direct care from a consultant
- a choice of advanced treatment options
Health insurance works alongside the NHS and you will not lose your entitlement to NHS treatment when you have health insurance.
You can get health cover for you and your family by buying it yourself as an individual, or your employer might provide this to keep you healthy at work and to get you fit for work sooner if you become unwell.
Things to consider
- what would happen if I was diagnosed with an illness?
- am I prepared to pay for part of my treatment?
- what will health insurance not cover me for?
Health policies cover
- day-to-day healthcare costs and visits to the dentist, optician, podiatrist, audiologist and other healthcare professionals
- cancer drugs for more information please see the ABI Statement of Best Practice for Sales of Individual and Group Private Medical Insurance (pdf 257kB)
- tests and treatment such as physiotherapy, or an operation to remove your cataract or mend your hip
- workplace health such as visits to an occupational health doctor and health checks
- read our ABI consumer guide on buying private medical insurance (pdf 1.15MB)
- talk to your insurer or find out more on their website
- talk to your employer to check if they already have health cover for you
- talk to a financial adviser through the Association of Medical Insurance Intermediaries
- go to our how to buy page and shop around for the best cover for you
- read our ABI statement of best practice for sales of individual and group private medical insurance (pdf 257kB)
- see the Government's consultation on the European Union (EU) Directive on patients' rights to healthcare in other European countries on the GOV.UK website
The consumer guide is designed to help individuals understand more about what private medical insurance in the UK is, why people buy it, and how it works, so they will be able to make an informed choice before they buy.
This guide is available in hard copy with a minimum order of 100. The cost is £15.00 per 100 copies. Payment can be made by most credit cards or the cost can be invoiced. A delivery charge will be applied.
Orders should be made in writing:
- by email to BusinessServices@abi.org.uk
- by post to:
Business Services Helpdesk
Association of British Insurers
One America Square
For more information, see:
ABI consumer guide: Are you buying private medical insurance? (pdf 1.15MB)