Private Medical Insurance, The Costs Explained

Mark Benson

Mark Benson

Money Savings Advice Private medical insurance costs

Demand for private medical insurance has grown in recent years, but many people are still unclear as to the cost of private medical insurance. There are many factors to take into consideration, and there is no one size fits all solution. We will now take a look at some of the more frequently asked questions regarding the cost of medical insurance.

As the NHS continues to be stretched, we have seen a significant lengthening of some waiting times. Therefore, it is no surprise to learn that more and more people are now looking towards private medical insurance, and private hospitals are using this as a means to finance the best facilities in their industry.

Continue reading to get all the details.

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What Is the Average Cost of Private Medical Insurance in the UK?

If you search the Internet, you will see various articles covering the average cost of private medical insurance. While the average figures tend to be anywhere between £1000 and £1500 per year per person, the problem is that there is no one size fits all solution.

There are numerous factors to take into consideration which might have a significant impact on your premiums.

What Factors Affect the Cost of Private Medical Insurance?

There are numerous factors to take into consideration, such as age, smoking habits, alcohol consumption, general lifestyle and your BMI. Going forward, there will be a greater focus on your lifestyle and your BMI with those of a healthy disposition likely to attract reduced premiums.

Does Smoking Affect My Insurance Premiums?

If you smoke, then you can expect to pay a higher premium for your medical insurance cover. The industry is reliant on scientific data which suggests that those who smoke tobacco cigarettes have an increased risk of ill health. When calculating insurance premiums, this is part of a statistically factual exercise based on medical research.

I Have Stopped Smoking, Will My Premiums Fall?

This is an interesting question because many people assume that as soon as they stop smoking their medical insurance premiums will fall. Unfortunately, the medical insurance industry will class a smoker as someone who has used tobacco products in the past 12 months.

Therefore, even if you stop smoking today, it may be another year before you see any impact on your premiums.

Will My Location Impact My Medical Insurance Premiums?

Unfortunately, akin to the fact that your postcode will impact your car insurance premiums, it is the same with medical insurance premiums. So in effect, the general health of your community is in some shape or form impacting your premiums.

Will My Excess Impact My Private Medical Insurance Premiums?

Yes. If you have a relatively high excess, then this will reduce the potential liability for your private medical insurance provider. As a consequence, this will help in keeping your premiums down.

On the flip side of the coin, if you have a relatively low excess, then you can expect to pay relatively high premiums.

Is Private Medical Insurance Worth It?

For many people, private medical insurance ensures that they receive the relevant treatment as soon as possible - normally much quicker than going via the NHS. To give you an example, average premiums are between £1000 and £1500 per year, but in 2018 the cost of various treatments via private healthcare was as follows:-

  • Knee replacement £11,000
  • Hip replacement £11,000
  • Cardiac pacemaker insertion £5000
  • Skin lesion removal £1000

While there will be some variation in the cost of individual treatments between hospital, area, etc. this gives you an idea of the cost of treatment compared to policy premiums.

Should I Join My Works Medical Insurance Scheme?

Many companies will offer paid private medical insurance as a means of attracting employees. In this instance, where your employer foots the bill, this is classed as a “benefit in kind”, and you may, therefore, be liable to additional tax.

However, this type of cover will give you peace of mind so even with the potential tax liability it is worth considering.

Should I Join My Works Voluntary Health Insurance Scheme?

While many companies offer a prepaid private medical insurance package, you will also find that some companies have access to low-cost health insurance rates. The better rates tend to be achievable through larger employers due to the potential volume of business their employee base can provide.

As you would be paying the premiums, there would be no additional tax liability - this would not be classed as a “benefit in kind”.

Is Family Private Medical Insurance Worth It?

The ability to receive medical attention as and when required, with minimal delays, can be priceless in many circumstances. When looking towards family private medical insurance, you will see many discounted offers the more family members you cover. If affordable, it is probably worth considering even if just for peace of mind going forward.

How Does Private Medical Insurance Work?

The process is simple; you would visit your GP if you suspect you have a medical condition/health problem. Upon diagnosis, you should advise your GP that you have private medical insurance at which point they will refer you to a specialist.

It is then simply a case of contacting your insurance provider to confirm whether the treatment you require is covered by your policy. Assuming your policy covers the treatment required, then your insurance provider will cover the cost directly with the specialist.

Is It a Legal Requirement to Have Private Medical Insurance Cover?

No, unlike many other countries the U.K. has the publicly funded NHS which all citizens are entitled to use when required. There have been suggestions that those above a certain income bracket may require private insurance in the future, but there are no firm plans in the pipeline.

Does Private Medical Insurance Cover Me Overseas?

Traditional private medical insurance does not provide any overseas cover. However, your provider will likely offer additional options such as overseas cover, but this would increase your premiums. It is worth checking your traditional/overseas cover as we approach Brexit and the U.K.’s exit from the E.U.


The cost of private medical insurance in the U.K. will vary depending on issues such as age, general health, lifestyle, etc., so it is definitely worth taking professional advice. As the NHS comes under more and more pressure, we have seen greater numbers of companies and individuals looking towards private medical insurance.

How Can Money Savings Advice Help You With Private Medical Insurance?

Here at Money Savings Advice, we have partnered with some of the UK’s leading Private Medical Insurance companies. They have already helped thousands of people get the best PMI cover, and, they can do the same for you.

Choosing an independent adviser means they won’t recommend a policy unless they are sure it is in your best interests. Their advice is also regulated by the FCA, which gives you an additional layer of protection.

If you would like to speak to one of these brokers, then click on the below and answer the very simple questions.


Money Savings Advice Author Mark Benson

Mark Benson

Mark has been writing professionally for over ten years for the financial sector. Having started in the financial world as a stock-broker in central London and then moving to equities trader Mark is one of our senior financial writers who has a vast knowledge of multiple financial sectors.

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