March 7

Why is health insurance so expensive in the UK?



As the NHS continues to struggle and waiting lists become lengthier than ever, more and more people are turning to the more sustainable, on-tap healthcare solution: private care.

Still, only around 10% of the UK population is currently paying for private medical insurance. Which begs the question, why aren’t more doing so?

For some, it’s out of “loyalty” to the NHS.

Although in our opinion, the most loyal thing you can do for the NHS right now is using an alternative source of healthcare. Thereby relieving the burden and allow someone who really needs it to access the care instead.

But for most people, the reason that they shy away from private healthcare is an issue of cost.

It’s hardly surprising. When you take a look at some of the costs you could expect to pay for private treatment.

Typical condition insured

Average cost of treatment

Alzheimer’s disease diagnosis




Cardiac arrest


Coronary artery bypass graft



£30,800 per year

Gallbladder removal


Heart attack


Heart failure


Intensive care

£1,932 per night

Kidney transplant


Liver failure


Liver transplant




Yes, the costs are high. However, considering how many years of training doctors put into their qualifications, you can begin to understand why costs in medical care can seem so high.

On top of the cost of procedures, you’ve got staffing, modern technology and medicine expenses to think about too. An awful lot goes into turning a sick person into a healthy one, and the fees simply reflect the level of qualified care you receive.

Your bank balance could take quite the hit!

If you do choose to go buy private healthcare and you opt to “self-insure” (pay cash for your procedure), then you can see from the table that your savings are going to take quite a hit.

As well as the procedures themselves, you’d be shelling out for private appointments with consultants and, if a hospital stay is required, fees upwards of £300 per night.

Private healthcare ain’t cheap. (Neither is state-funded healthcare, for that matter; you just don’t see the bill at the point of service!)

It is, however, worth it. That’s because with private healthcare you’ll enjoy:

Specialist referrals
Ask your GP to refer you to a private expert or specialist consultant for a second opinion or more specialised treatment.

Shorter waiting times
Get seen within a week of your GP’s referral and have tests arranged within a matter of days.

Your choice of surgeon and hospital
You should be able to select your preferred surgeon and hospital and choose the times and places that you’re treated.

A comfortable experience
You avoid awkwardness and uncomfortable moments as you receive care in a private room, away from an open ward. And with a higher staff-to-patient ratio, you’ll get what you need, when you need it.

The scans you want when you want them
NHS scans can get delayed or might not even be permitted in the first place, but private medical protection would cover the cost of a private scan. 

Specialist drugs and treatment
Expensive drugs or treatments that haven’t been approved by NICE or SMC won’t be available on the NHS. But if you need them, you get them when you go private.

Physio when you need it
Waiting lists for physiotherapy run as long as four months if you wait for NHS treatment. You’ll get quicker access to the sessions you need with private care.

So how do you get this exceptional healthcare and avoid draining your bank account at the same time?

Research done by the Association of British Insurers reveals that the medical insurance industry is currently paying out more than £7 million in claims every day. Plus more than £1bn per year in consultant fees.

Compare that with the average premium for a 35-year-old non-smoker at around £500-1000 per year, and you start to see that there is an affordable way to guarantee great care without the waiting times.

 And that way is by taking out private medical insurance.


Always talk to an adviser when buying Private Medical Insurance.  They will match your requirements to the many different policy options and get you the best deal.

In the private medical insurance arena, these people act more like pension or mortgage advisers than your typical insurance salesperson. And they’re always going to be on your side.

Request a call using the secure form below

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