What is health insurance?Health insurance gives you access to private healthcare and helps cover the cost. This can be anything from physiotherapy to treat an injury, to major heart surgery and cancer treatment.
Health insurance is sometimes called medical insurance, private medical insurance or private health insurance. They're all the same thing.
Vitality’s health insurance plan
The benefits of health insurance
Fast access to high-quality healthcare
This means you're diagnosed and treated quickly.
Specialist treatment and drugs
Some treatments in the UK aren't always funded by the NHS. Private health insurance can help pay for the costs of specialist drugs and treatment.
Choice and privacy
Health insurance offers easy access to hundreds of private hospitals in the UK. You can choose where you are treated, and who by.
How does health insurance work?You pay monthly health insurance premiums. When your GP refers you to a specialist, you make a claim with your insurer. You'll be able to choose who treats you, and at which hospital.
1 – Choose your health insurance plan
Choose your insurer and your excess amount. This is the amount you agree to pay towards your treatment if you make a claim. The higher your excess, the lower your premiums.
2 – Pay your premium
This is the cost of your health insurance plan. It’s usually taken as a monthly Direct Debit.
3 – See a GP when you're unwell
This can either be your NHS GP or a private GP, like Vitality GP. If you need to see a specialist or get treatment, they'll refer you.
4 – Contact your insurer and make a claim
When you contact your insurer, they can find a consultant for you. They will ask about your symptoms and when they started. They will assess your claim. When it’s approved, you can receive treatment.
5 – Your bill is paid
Once you've received your treatment, the hospital will send your insurer the invoice. In some circumstances you may need to pay your excess. For example, if your treatment cost £1,000 and your excess is £250, the insurer will cover £750, and you’ll pay £250.
What does health insurance cost in the UK?
- Current health
- Lifestyle factors (for example whether you smoke or not)
- What your chosen excess is – the higher your excess, the lower your premium will be.
Get a health insurance quote
What does health insurance cover?
Private medical insurance helps cover the cost of private medical treatment. This includes hospital stays, medicines, physiotherapy and surgical procedures.
Health insurance in the UK doesn't usually cover chronic or pre-existing conditions.
✓ Acute conditions
These are conditions where symptoms develop quickly and treatment is short-term. Examples include hernias and joint injuries.
✓ Private hospital stays
✓ Specialist consultations
✓ Diagnostic tests
✓ Cancer treatment
✓ Oral surgery
Our health insurance includes the above, but also includes:
✓ Weight loss surgery
✓ Corrective surgeries
✓ Discounts and rewards for healthy living
✓ Mental health support
✓ Menopause support.
What's not covered?
✕ Chronic conditions
Conditions where symptoms appear slowly and can worsen over time. For example, diabetes.
✕ Pre-existing conditions
✕ Any treatment you receive outside the UK
✕ Emergency treatment or visits to your NHS GP
✕ Pregnancy, childbirth and related conditions
✕ Cosmetic treatment
✕ Organ transplants
✕ Any treatments or practices that are experimental, unproven or unregistered
✕ Any treatment for learning and behavioural problems, or dementia.
Why choose our health insurance?
Full Cover Promise
If you're admitted to hospital, we'll pay your consultant and anaesthetist fees in full. We promise to pay for this as long as the treatment is eligible, and the consultant is recognised by us. We’re the only health insurer in the UK to offer this guarantee as part of our Core Cover1.
Online doctor appointments
Access video appointments and a 24/7 medical helpline with
Vitality GP. Get direct referrals to a consultant, private prescriptions and more.
5 Star rated health insurance
Our health insurance has been rated 5 Star by Defaqto. This means it’s verified as a trusted product.
Rewards for healthy living
Get discounts to help make healthy living easier, and be rewarded for getting active. Plus, you could get an Apple Watch.
Related health products
Tailor your health insurance with cover options.
Worldwide Travel Cover
Cover for up to £10 million emergency medical expenses, lost luggage, and more.
Health insurance FAQs
How is private medical insurance different from the NHS?
Anyone with health insurance can still use all services offered by the NHS.
Is it worth getting private health insurance in the UK?
- Can afford to pay monthly premiums (our health insurance starts from £35 a month)
- Want quick access to healthcare
- Want to ensure you are protected from any sudden, large private medical bills.
What does private healthcare cost in the UK?
You can manage the costs of private healthcare with private medical insurance. By paying a monthly premium, you can access private healthcare more affordably.
Do I need to have a medical before I take out health insurance?
- Give the insurer your personal details
- Pick your level of cover
- Answer some basic questions.