How much does private medical insurance cost?

The benefits of having private medical insurance are obvious, how much it will cost is not as straightforward as it is dependent on several variables. These variables are always different for everyone. Where you live, how old you are, your medical history and the product options you choose are the main factors that determine the cost of a health insurance policy.

Once you understand how health insurance works you will see why one size does not fit all, there are many options to choose from.

What is private medical insurance?

Private medical insurance (PMI) or health insurance is a policy that pays out for medical treatment privately when you need it. Health insurance is designed to cover you for acute conditions, with prompt treatment in a private hospital by a consultant or surgeon of your choice.

There are many benefits in having private medical insurance, but the main advantage is bypassing long NHS wait times and being able to choose who provides your treatment, and where you are treated.


The prices below are based on someone living in Warwickshire (near our headquarters), a non-smoker wanting a mid-range policy with an excess of around £200. The prices are based on an average across all the leading UK insurers and are per month.

25-year-old – £25-£30

45-year-old – £40-£45

65-year-old – £80-£85

What factors affect the cost of private medical insurance?

The reason why it is not easy to give an accurate cost for health insurance without speaking with you and obtaining further details is because there are lots of variables.

These variables are in two categories: your personal circumstances and the level of cover you would like.

Your personal circumstances


Insurers understand that the older you are the more likely you are to need medical advice and treatment, thus increasing the risk of a claim on the policy. As with all insurance policies, the premium is calculated on a risk ratio and will increase the older you are. Some insurers cap age-based pricing on joining after 80, so if you are 83 you will pay the same as someone who is 80 or 87 when you join.


As hospital charges can vary significantly from region to region in the UK, where you live can be a big factor in the price quoted. London hospitals are the most expensive when it comes to hospital and consultant charges. If you do live in London and need access here, there are often options to select a reduced list of London hospitals rather than all of them, which will work out cheaper.

If you don’t live in London, you can opt for a ‘local’ hospital list which will give you the most competitive premium. AVIVA Health offer a ‘signature’ list which only includes hospitals in Scotland and Northern Ireland. If this is where you live and you do not intend to travel for treatment it can work out very competitive.

Medical history

Although most insurers do not ask for your BMI or even smoking status (some do), your previous medical history can play a part in the calculation of premiums. If you are taking out health insurance for the first time you will most likely not have to declare any medical history, therefore your premium is not based on this. If you are switching your health insurance to a new provider, you will be asked certain questions regarding your medical history and the information you provide will determine the premium quoted. When switching providers, the premium will also be driven by the underwriting method chosen. You can read more on underwriting options here.

The level of cover you choose

The exact details of what an individual health insurance plan covers varies considerably from policy to policy. Standard policies cover surgery, consultations, nursing, and hospital charges. While comprehensive policies cover much more, including out-patient appointments, psychiatric treatment, and complementary medicine.

Health insurers have designed their products with two elements: core cover, which is the base policy, and additional benefit options for you to choose from, to either reduce or enhance your cover.

There is often a great deal of flexibility in how you build your health insurance policy, and this will determine how much you will pay for private health cover. Here are some of the benefit options you can choose which will affect the premium you will pay.

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Out-patient cover

Out-patient cover ranges from no cover up to full cover with options in between such as £500 or £1000. The limit is either a combined limit to include out-patient consultations and diagnostics, or with some insurers you can upgrade the out-patient diagnostics to full cover, which is separate to the limit for consultations.

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Excess options

An excess is the amount you will pay towards a claim, the higher the excess you choose the lower the premium will be. Excesses range from £0 up to £5000 and are usually paid once per year should you claim. VitalityHealth give you the option to pay your excess per claim which will reduce your premium.

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Guided option

Most leading insurers offer a ‘guided option’ which members can apply to their policy, resulting in lower premiums for their health insurance. With this option, the insurer offers you a select list of consultants and hospitals to choose from rather than the full list.

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Mental health cover

You can choose to extend your cover with this add-on which would give you access to in-patient and out-patient psychiatric treatment, including diagnostics, hospital charges and specialist fees, and up to 28 days in-patient treatment.

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Therapies cover

With the therapies add-on you will have access to treatment such as osteopathy, acupuncture, physiotherapy, or chiropractic care.

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Dental and optical cover

The dental add-on includes reimbursement for routine, major and accidental injury costs. While the optical benefit will reimburse you for the cost of glasses or contact lenses and eye tests.

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Travel cover

Some insurers offer both European and Worldwide travel cover as an additional benefit on your health insurance policy. There is also a winter sports upgrade option and cover for travel vaccinations available with some policies. The travel add-on covers you for all the usual travel related issues as well as cover for medical emergencies while you are abroad.

Indicative health insurance costs

Using these cover options, we have put together three plan examples and given indicative pricing for them. The premiums quoted are based on a 31-year-old living in Warwickshire who does not currently have health insurance.

Basic health insurance




  • In-patient cover only
  • Core cover including comprehensive cancer
  • Guided option
  • Moratorium underwriting
  • £500 excess
Mid-range health insurance




  • In-patient cover
  • Reduced out-patient cover
  • Core cover including comprehensive cancer
  • Regional hospital list including some London hospitals
  • Moratorium underwriting
  • £250 excess
Comprehensive health insurance




  • In-patient cover
  • Full out-patient cover
  • Core cover including comprehensive cancer
  • Mental health cover
  • Dental and optical cover
  • Therapies cover
  • Extended hospital list including all London hospitals
  • Moratorium underwriting
  • £0 excess

Is private medical insurance worth the money?

We are often asked whether it is worth having private medical insurance and if it would be better to self-fund private treatment. While minor procedures and occasional consultations with a specialist may work out less than having an annual health insurance policy, finding the money for surgery and cancer treatment is a different matter. Not forgetting the fact that nobody can ever know what is around the corner.

Here are some examples, based on median national costs taken in February 2021:

Cataract surgery


Hip replacement


Gall bladder removal


Knee replacement


Single round of chemotherapy


It is not just the cost of self-funding that can make a health insurance policy seem more attractive, it is the access to breakthrough treatments it provides. Often insurers will pay for experimental cancer drugs and treatments not available on the NHS. You will also be able to access immediate advice and referrals at the click of a button through the digital GP services polices include.

At Morehealth we have an in-depth understanding of the health insurance market and the available products. We also know how to ensure you never pay too much for health insurance.

Our friendly advisors are available to discuss your options. We offer a free, no obligation quote.

Call us now on 0800 028 5540

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What factors affect my premium the most?

The main factors affecting health insurance premiums are your age, postcode, and medical history.

Can I get cheaper health insurance?

It is always possible to get cheaper health insurance, even with the same level of cover you currently have. Our advisors can review your policy to check you have the right cover for you or compare the market for a cheaper option.

Is it cheaper to pay the annual premium upfront?

Some insurers offer a discount for paying annually upfront, so it is always worth asking us.

Is it cheaper to have a joint policy if I want cover for myself and my partner?

Yes. Most insurers will offer reduced premiums for covering a couple on a joint policy. This does mean that annual increases are based on overall claims on the policy rather than individual claims.

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