AXA Health

AXA Health were founded before the NHS in 1940 by doctors and hospitals working together. Having started out as the Association for Hospital Services the AXA Health business is still very much shaped by clinicians today.

When it was first established the Association for Hospital Services was a health insurance plan for middle income earners in London. It became the Private Patients Plan (PPP) in 1961.

They were one of the first UK health insurance providers to introduce clinically led support through claims to its members with the introduction of Health at Hand in 1997. Since joining the AXA group in 1999 AXA Health have continued to develop their clinician led support services with the introduction of dedicated heart and cancer nurses in 2009, and Doctor at Hand in 2015, enabling its members to access a private GP via video or phone from anywhere in the world.

The AXA brands: AXA PPP healthcare, Health-on-Line and AXA ICAS became AXA Health in 2020.

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AXA Health insurance review

AXA Health’s main private medical insurance product is called Personal Health. The policy covers a wide range of conditions as an in-patient or day-patient on specialist referral, and there are three levels of out-patient cover to choose from. There are several additional options you can choose to enhance the cover such as extended cover, mental health, and travel cover.

AXA Health have two other private medical insurance products; AXA inSpire and the Health-On-Line Health for You plan. The main difference between these products and the Personal Health plan is the hospital lists. Both offer good access to a restricted number of hospitals and in return lower premiums than the Personal Health plan.

The cover itself is largely the same as the Personal Health plan for each of these products with some minor differences. For example: the guided option is not available on the AXA inSpire or Health-on-Line Health for You policies. The Extended cover option is not available to add on either. Travel cover is available on all three of these plans.

AXA Health are in the process of bringing all their health brands together under the AXA Health name. The transition is expected to be complete by Spring 2022, until then the AXA inSpire and Health on-Line Health for You plans are still available to purchase.

AXA Health - key benefits

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AXA Doctor at Hand – unlimited online, video or telephone consultations with a private GP. Appointments are available 24/7, usually on the same day, last for 20 minutes and the GP can provide specialist referrals and arrange prescriptions to be delivered to your home.

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Health at Hand – 24/7 access to nurses; midwives; pharmacists and counsellors to answer health questions, discuss symptoms and assist with medication queries.

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Extensive hospital list – access to over 250 hospitals within the AXA Health directory of hospitals, with more than 36,500 recognised consultants and other practitioners.

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Access to the latest approved cancer drugs – even licenced drugs not routinely available on the NHS.

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Second opinion service – available when you select out-patient cover.

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Free cover for new-borns – available until your renewal date.

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AXA Health - core cover

Here is a summary of what is included in every AXA Health Personal Health plan:

Benefit Details
In-patient and day-patient treatment Hospital fees including operating-theatre costs, nursing care, specialist fees, consultations, diagnostic tests, MRI, PET and CT scans, and physiotherapy are covered in full.
Out-patient treatment There is no limit for out-patient surgery and MRI, PET and CT scans at a scanning centre or hospital from the AXA Directory of Hospitals are covered in full.
Extra support Additional benefits under the core cover include:
  • A nurse to administer antibiotics by intravenous drip at home.
  • Ambulance transport to another medical facility if you are receiving eligible private in-patient or day-patient treatment.
  • A cash payment of £50 a night, up to £2,000 a year when you have in-patient treatment on the NHS that would have been covered by the plan.
  • Oral surgery for several procedures, paid in full.
Cover for children The core cover includes the following benefits for children:
  • Hospital accommodation for one parent, while your child is receiving eligible treatment.
  • Surgery to correct prominent ears for a child aged 14 and under.
  • Laser treatment to improve the look of a port-wine stain on the face of a child aged 14 and under.
  • Six sessions of speech therapy needed for a child aged 14 and under because of a delay in their development.
  • Free cover on your plan for new-borns until your renewal date.
Cancer cover The core cover includes comprehensive cancer diagnosis and treatment no matter what path it takes. Full cover is provided for specialist consultations and diagnostics including MRI, PET and CT scans. Chemotherapy and radiotherapy are covered in full and there is support from a dedicated cancer nurse.

The cover provides access to the latest approved cancer drugs and treatment including licenced drugs not routinely available on the NHS.

In addition, there is cover for external prosthesis up to £5000 per year and wigs and head coverings up to £400 per year when you are having treatment to kill cancer cells. A hospice donation of £100 per night is paid when you are being cared for as an in-patient or at home.
Digital GP Unlimited online, video or telephone consultations with a private GP. Appointments are available 24/7, usually on the same day, last for 20 minutes and the GP can provide specialist referrals and arrange prescriptions to be delivered to your home. More on digital GPs.

AXA Health - benefit options

In addition to the AXA Personal Health core plan there are further options to choose from to enhance or reduce your cover:

Standard out-patient The standard out-patient option includes up to three specialist consultations a year with unlimited diagnostics and practitioner charges when referred by a specialist. This includes dieticians, nurses, orthoptists, speech therapists and audiologists.
Full out-patient The full out-patient option includes unlimited specialist consultations, diagnostics and practitioner charges when referred by a specialist. This includes dieticians, nurses, orthoptists, speech therapists and audiologists.
Therapies The therapies add-on includes cover for out-patient treatment by physiotherapists, acupuncturists, homeopaths, osteopaths, and chiropractors. Cover is for up to ten out-patient sessions when referred by a GP, or through the AXA Health Working Body team for physiotherapy.

Further sessions can be covered (providing AXA Health agree them first) when your specialist refers you.
Mental health cover As an in-patient or day-patient
Psychiatric treatment, including accommodation, specialist fees, diagnostic tests, and drugs, are paid in full at a hospital or day-patient unit.

As an out-patient
Cover is in full for specialist consultations for psychiatric treatment and psychiatric treatment by psychologists and cognitive-behavioural therapists, providing your specialist oversees treatment.
Dentist and optician cashback This add-on provides cover for:
  • Dentist’s fees – 80% of costs, up to £400 each year.
  • Optician’s fees – 80% of the cost of prescribed glasses and contact lenses, up to £200 each year.
  • £25 a year towards the cost of an eye test.
Extended cover (cannot be taken out with the Guided option) To enhance your plan further this optional extra includes cover for visits to a private GP for consultations, up to £500 a year. It allows you to use hospitals outside of the AXA Health Directory of Hospitals.

It also includes planned treatment overseas, up to the cost of the UK equivalent (when agreed by AXA Health in advance).
European or worldwide travel cover The travel cover add-on covers you for travel-related hassles like lost baggage, delays, and lost passports. There is also an adventure Sports upgrade; cover for activities such as bungee jumping, paragliding and off-piste winter sports.

With the worldwide travel cover you will also have cover for emergency dental treatment and business travel.
Protected no claims discount AXA Health offer the option to protect your no claim discount by paying extra.

AXA Personal Health - Guided Option

As with most leading insurers AXA Health offer a ‘guided option’. By negotiating with a number of specialists they have been able to bring the cost of treatment down. If you choose the guided option, you will be treated by specialists chosen by AXA Health. With the Guided Option, AXA Health pass on some of the savings in the cost of treatment, therefore reducing the premium you will pay.

The Guided Option is only available on the AXA Personal Health policy.

You can read more in our guides section.

Guided options explained

NHS cancer option

There is the option to remove the cancer cover from the AXA Health policies therefore reducing the premium you will pay. This would mean that any diagnosis and treatment for cancer would be under the NHS. If you have received treatment for cancer in the last 5 years it may mean that AXA Health would only allow you to have this option, this would be determined at the quote stage and based on your medical history.

Under the NHS cancer option AXA Health will pay for the cost of a licenced cancer drug that the NHS will not pay for, the cost of administering the drug is also covered.

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. AXA Health offer the following excess options:

£0, £100, £250, £500 when you select standard out-patient cover.

£0, £100, £250, £500, £1000, £2500, £5000 when you select either zero or full out-patient cover.

The excess is only paid once per year if you claim and not per claim, so multiple claims can be made without paying the excess again. Excesses can only be changed at renewal and subject to ongoing claims status at that time.

Underwriting options

As with most health insurers AXA Health have three options you can choose from for how your policy is underwritten:

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Moratorium underwriting

You do not need to disclose your medical history; a moratorium period of two years is in place for any condition for which you have experienced symptoms or received treatment for in the last five years.

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Continued medical exclusions

You will need to answer a few questions regarding your medical history in the last five years and some questions on specific health conditions. The underwriting will transfer from your previous insurer rather than being re-underwritten. This option is only available to those with an existing health insurance policy with another insurer.

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Full medical underwriting

You will disclose your full medical history which is submitted to AXA who will then apply underwriting terms accordingly.

You can read more in our guides section on underwriting. Our expert advisors can use their knowledge to assist you in choosing the right underwriting, considering your medical history and future medical needs.

Underwriting explained

What is not covered

As with most leading health insurers, AXA Health policies are for cover for acute conditions and flare ups of chronic conditions. Chronic conditions, in terms of ongoing monitoring and maintenance are not covered by health insurance policies. Read more on chronic conditions here.

Private medical insurance does not cover accident and emergency situations or rehabilitation and convalescence. Most leading health insurers do not cover treatment overseas. Self-inflicted injury and professional sports related injuries are also not covered on a health insurance policy.

With regards to treatment of medical conditions you have had, or had symptoms of, before you join AXA Health, these will be excluded unless you have switched from another plan and have underwriting for continued medical exclusions.

In many cases pre-existing conditions can be covered, dependent on the status of the condition at the time of joining, and the time that has passed since you last received treatment or experienced symptoms. This is something our expert advisors can assist you with when selecting the best policy and underwriting for you.

AXA Health do apply some general exclusions and limitations as below:

  • Treatment of chronic conditions
  • Cosmetic treatment
  • Alcohol, drug, and substance abuse
  • Pregnancy and childbirth
  • Infertility and assisted reproduction
  • Gender re-assignment
  • Learning and development disorders
  • Organ or tissue transplant
  • Preventative treatment and screening tests

Member rewards

AXA Health offer a member reward of 50% off PureGym when you take out one of their health insurance policies.

We compare cover with leading leading health insurers such as AVIVA Health, AXA Health, Bupa, and VitalityHealth.

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Summary of AXA Health Personal Health policy

AXA Health offer flexibility in their health insurance products, their core offering is substantial with good cover for families and cover for children. There is slightly less flexibility in out-patient cover options, if you do not add one of the two out-patient add-on’s you will not have the full diagnostics cover, only MRI, PET and CT scans. This means tests such as an endoscopy, X-ray and blood tests will not be included unless you add out-patient cover.

There are however lots of optional extras to enhance your health insurance policy including travel cover, one of only two providers with this option.

With AXA Health having three different products, there are options for having lower premiums based on reduced hospital lists. If the hospital list is suitable for where you live this can significantly reduce your health insurance premium.

Clinical led support is a key focus within AXA Health meaning members can have good access over the telephone to heart and cancer nurses, midwives, and counsellors, along with Doctor at Hand, which provides unlimited virtual GP consultations. There are also pathways for faster access to advice and treatment such as Working Body for musculoskeletal conditions, and a Fastrack Appointments service for getting an appointment with a specialist more quickly.

The AXA Health cancer cover is very comprehensive and includes access to the latest approved cancer drugs and eligible treatment. AXA Health will pay for treatment using licenced drugs that are not routinely available on the NHS. The cancer cover is unlimited and covers the whole cancer journey, including end-of-life care.

However, if you have previously received treatment for cancer, you may not be eligible for the cancer cover option. There is also the option to remove the cancer cover option if you prefer to rely on the NHS, thus reducing your premium.

AXA Health offer a ‘price promise’ on the first-year renewal. This freezes your renewal premium at the same price you paid when you took the policy out in the previous year, providing you have not made a claim.

AXA Health offer the option to add no claims bonus protection for a slightly increased premium. This can prevent claims-based renewal increases in the year following a claim. Not all insurers offer this add on and it is a good option for those wanting to manage future premium increases.

AXA Health - hospital lists

AXA Health have three hospital list options based on the product you choose: the ‘Directory of Hospitals’ for Personal Health policies, the ‘Specified Hospital’ list for the inSpire policy and ‘Our Hospitals’ for the health-on-line Health for You policy. Click on the links below to see the hospital lists in detail.

AXA Health Personal Health hospital list Health-on-line hospital list AXA Health inSpire hospital list

AXA Health - policy documents

Click on the links below for the full policy terms and conditions and brochures for the AXA Health and health-on-line products.

AXA Health Personal Health brochure AXA Health Personal Health policy brochure AXA Health inSpire brochure AXA Health inSpire policy brochure Health-on-line policy brochure Health-on-line policy terms and conditions

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Health insurance guides

Below are our helpful guides that provide further information about how medical insurance works and the various options available. Should you prefer to speak to one of our expert advisors we are always available on the telephone to help.

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