Doctor holding stethoscope

Is private healthcare affordable in the UK?

The UK’s National Health Service ensures that all British citizens have access to quality healthcare. The aim of the NHS is to ensure that no citizens need to pay for healthcare, but some people will choose to go private. The UK’s private healthcare operators offer customers a variety of benefits that allows them to stand out from the free service from the NHS.

While certain people may wish to pay for the benefits of private healthcare, it is not always possible due to the price of the service. In this article, the IMC team take a look at the costs and how easy it is to find affordable private healthcare in the UK.


Reasons to go private

As mentioned, private healthcare is far from a necessity in the UK. Despite this, many people view the standard of private healthcare as higher than that offered through the NHS and many private hospitals go above and beyond to deliver a higher level of service to their patients.

NHS waiting lists can be long and patients are often shuffled between different doctors and consultants when awaiting treatment. To ensure that you see the same medical professional with each appointment and that you have a private room with a tv, radio and en-suite if you’re in hospital overnight, you may be considering private healthcare.


The providers

We’ve discussed the major private healthcare providers in England in a previous article. While many people considering going private may think that each provider is very similar, there are nuances to the services offered within private sector healthcare.

Particularly in London, specialist hospitals offer private wings for an extra level of care. The likes of Moorfields Eye Hospital or The Portland Hospital for Women and Children offer specialist care and services that would not necessarily be available through healthcare provided by the NHS.

Whether you’re looking specifically for paediatricians, cancer specialists or physical health and fitness, there will be an affordable private healthcare provider best suited to your needs.


The cost

The average yearly premium for private health insurance in the UK is £1,435. Of course, this amount will fluctuate based on a variety of factors including your age and any pre-existing health problems you may have had.

The cost of your health insurance will also depend on your location, as well as any habits that may be detrimental to your health. If you regularly drink alcohol or are a smoker, you can expect to pay more for your health insurance than you would if you didn’t.

All forms of insurance require policyholders to pay an excess when making a claim and private medical insurance is no different. Private healthcare excesses are usually paid on a per year or per claim basis depending on the insurance company. Most insurers will give you some flexibility on the excess you choose, both how much you pay and whether or not you will pay per year or per claim – the more you’re willing to pay as an excess, the cheaper the overall insurance cost will be.

You can also choose not to have medical insurance, but to pay for individual procedures to be performed privately. The cost of these individual private healthcare treatments can range from around £750 for a CT scan to over £15,000 for a knee replacement. These treatment costs are high, but will only require a one-off spend rather than the monthly fee of an insurance policy that may never have to be used.


For more information on private sector healthcare and health insurance plans, get in touch with the friendly IMC team today.

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