Private Health Insurance Premiums Explained

Mark Benson

Mark Benson

Money Savings Advice Private health insurance premiums

When looking at private healthcare insurance, it is important to balance the costs against the services available. Therefore, the starting point is to understand which factors influence an individual private health insurance premium. This will allow you to compare and contrast different offers to see which ones provide the best value for money.

There are many different factors which will impact private healthcare insurance premiums, some of which will surprise you!

There are also common misconceptions regarding private health insurance cover which we will address in the questions and answers below.

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Will My Age Impact My Healthcare Insurance Premiums?

Yes. Statistically, the longer we live, the more chance of developing ailments and suffering injuries. You will find that a significant element of insurance premium calculations relate to statistical data covering the UK population and certain age groups.

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Is There an Upper Age Limit for Private Healthcare Insurance?

There is an upper age limit for new private healthcare insurance policies which can vary between 65 and 75 with different companies. We have seen many new companies entering the market in recent times, and it is fair to say it is getting more competitive.

As a consequence, those at the older end of the spectrum, who were perhaps feeling ignored in years gone by, should see greater flexibility in the future.

Will My BMI Impact My Private Health Insurance Premiums?

We know that the UK is currently going through an obesity crisis, and your body mass index (BMI) will have an impact upon the level of premiums you would be expected to pay. When you take a step back and look at this from a distance, medical condition such as diabetes and even heart issues are very strongly linked to your weight.

So, if you plan to take out private health insurance over the next 12 months, it may save you some money if you went on a health kick.

Is There Really a Postcode Lottery for Private Health Insurance Premiums?

Yes. Unfortunately, the premiums calculated for your private health insurance (all things being equal) would vary from postcode to postcode. This is because the healthcare insurance companies will take into account your local population and any common ailments/medical conditions.

The impact of your postcode won’t necessarily be huge on your premiums, but it will certainly be a consideration.

Will I Pay More as a Smoker?

Yes. The smoking of tobacco products is linked to an array of medical conditions, many of which can be expensive to treat. As a consequence, if you smoke tobacco products, you should expect to pay higher premiums.

How Do Insurance Companies Treat Those Who Have Recently Stopped Smoking?

As a rule of thumb, if you have used tobacco products in the last 12 months, you would be classed as a “smoker” when it comes to private healthcare insurance premiums. As a consequence, you should expect to pay higher than normal premiums.

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Will the Use of Electronic Cigarettes Impact My Insurance Premiums?

Electronic cigarettes have for some time now been seen as the “less unhealthy” alternative to tobacco products. However, if you’re expecting a reduction in your premiums as a consequence of switching from tobacco products to electronic cigarettes, you may be disappointed.

The jury is still out with regards to electronic cigarettes, and because they involve the inhaling of nicotine, many healthcare insurance companies will treat them as a quasi-tobacco product. This may change in years to come if scientific evidence is able to backup the “less unhealthy” boast.

Will a Pre-Existing Condition Impact My Healthcare Insurance Premiums?

In some circumstances, it may not be possible to obtain healthcare insurance if you have a pre-existing condition. There will be some insurers who will simply exclude that condition and any potential complications relating to it from any cover.

Interestingly, we are starting to see the emergence of specialist healthcare insurance companies who will allow you to cover pre-existing conditions, but there will often be a cap on the maximum cover.

Your Level of Premiums Will Reflect the Level of Cover Required

While you will see various levels of private healthcare cover available through different companies, they can be split into three groups. These are basic cover, medium cover and comprehensive cover.

Your choice of cover will have a huge bearing on your premiums; therefore, you need to try and match your budget with your requirements. It is worth noting that additional treatment required, which is on your policy excluded list, can be covered on a pay-as-you-go basis.

Individual, Joint or Family Healthcare Cover Will Affect Your Level of Premiums.

It goes without saying, premiums relating to an individual, joint or family healthcare cover plan will vary hugely. As a rule of thumb, you’d expect to pay less for the joint cover compared to 2 individual policies.

You would also expect to pay less for a family of four compared to 4 individual policies. As you see, when you start researching, the level of premiums for different types/levels of cover will vary from provider to provider.

Can I Negotiate My Healthcare Insurance Premiums?

By all means, try to negotiate the best terms for your private healthcare insurance premiums - but you may struggle. More and more people are now looking towards insurance brokers who have contacts in the healthcare insurance industry and work closely with many parties.

Aside from the fact that their knowledge could prove invaluable for you when choosing the correct policy, very often they will be able to negotiate improvements on published rates. Never underestimate the power and influence of an insurance broker!

Will My Healthcare Premiums Increase Annually?

As the cost of consultants/specialists, medical equipment and treatment/drugs continues to rise, so we can expect healthcare premiums to follow suit. That said, many experts are forecasting a significant increase in competition amongst healthcare insurance companies.

So, on the one hand, you have the real cost of delivering healthcare increasing year-on-year, but there may be competition on margins which could keep insurance premium increases in check to a certain degree.


There are numerous factors which will influence the cost of your private healthcare insurance premiums. Issues from your age to your location, pre-existing conditions to the level of cover required and any history of specific medical conditions in your family could have an impact on your monthly payments. However, one annual payment, as opposed to 12 monthly payments, could lead to a significant saving.

Quick Private Medical Insurance FAQs

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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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