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What is health insurance and how does it work?

Your questions answered

Yes. They’re all different ways of describing the same thing. But there are different types of private healthcare, such as private medical insurance – which covers the cost of eligible treatments or conditions – and healthcare cash plans, which provide cash payments to help with some routine healthcare costs.

We provide private medical insurance. We also give you rewards for getting active and staying healthy.

Let’s say you develop a condition which needs medical attention. With us, you could get a private GP video consultation within 48 hours, giving you extra peace of mind in the event of an unexpected health issue. Our Vitality GPs can even refer you for onward treatment, meaning you don't have to visit your NHS GP to access private treatment.

The Vitality GP will always let you know if they’re not able to help tell you how best to proceed. This may mean they refer you to your NHS GP or to get in touch with VitalityHealth.

Once you get a GP referral, it normally only takes a few days to get access to a consultant, specialist or hospital treatment. You then have the flexibility and freedom to fix appointments and treatment dates at a time to suit you. You normally get a choice of hospital and a room of your own, too.

Private medical insurance is for curable (acute) conditions only. These respond quickly to treatment and return you to the state of health you were in before, or lead to a full recovery.

See full details on our Core Cover and Cover Options.

It doesn’t usually cover treatment of long-term (chronic) conditions, where the main aim is to keep the symptoms under control – that would make premiums much more expensive.

Private medical insurance also won’t cover any pre-existing conditions you may have when you take out a plan.

There are some standard treatments and conditions that we don't cover. These are:

  • Any regular monitoring or treatment of long- term (chronic) conditions, like diabetes or allergies
  • Any treatment you receive outside the UK
  • Emergency treatment or visits to your NHS GP
  • pregnancy, childbirth and most related conditions
  • Cosmetic treatment
  • Organ transplants
  • Any treatments or practices that are experimental, unproven or unregistered
  • Any treatment for learning difficulties, delayed speech disorders and other developmental problems
  • Also, our plans are designed to cover new conditions that arise after your cover begins.

For full details on what’s covered in your plan, check your welcome pack or our terms and conditions.

The insurance premium is what you pay in order to be covered by a plan - e.g. health insurance. You’ll normally pay for your insurance premium by monthly or annual direct debit. Your premium is reviewed once a year and can change, depending on things like your age and whether you make a claim. Your insurance premium also includes Insurance Premium Tax (IPT) charged at the prevailing rate.
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