AXA Health insurance review: Benefits and key features

9 min Read Published: 08 Mar 2023

Axa Health logoAXA Health can be traced back to 1938 where it started life as the London Association for Hospital Services, a private health insurance scheme aimed towards higher earners in the London area. By 1960, it had grown to approximately 121,000 members and in 1998, Guardian Royal Exchange Assurance acquired what was then known as PPP healthcare for £435 million. A year later, Guardian Royal Exchange Assurance was acquired by Sun Life and Provincial Holdings, who were part of the AXA Group and the name AXA PPP Healthcare was born. In October 2020 AXA PPP Healthcare underwent a further rebrand and dropped PPP from its name to simply become AXA Health.

1 min summary - AXA Health insurance review

  • Axa Health insurance gives customers access to more than 250 hospitals and over 34,000 specialists
  • Hospital list includes top London hospitals
  • Axa ‘Personal health' policy is rated 5 stars by independent financial comparison service Defaqto
  • Multiple ‘add-on' benefits including travel option that covers medical treatment abroad and a mental health option that has unlimited in-patient and out-patient cover
  • Get an instant online quote* and receive £100 cashback when you take out any private healthcare policy – Offer ends 31st October 2023 (See how Axa Health compares to the likes of Bupa, Vitality and Aviva).

Below, we take a look at AXA health insurance in detail explaining how the policy works, which options are available and roughly, how much it is likely to cost.

We also explain the best way to buy AXA health insurance (and it isn't by contacting AXA directly). If you are still trying to understand how private health insurance works and whether it is something you actually need, check out our article ‘Is private health insurance worth it?'

AXA Health key benefits

  • No annual limit on out-patient surgery
  • Cover for diagnostic surgery, CT, MRI and PET scans
  • Free cover on the plan for new-born babies (until your renewal date)
  • Access to more than 250 hospitals and over 34,000 specialists
  • A cash payment of £50 per night (up to £2,000 a year) when you have in-patient treatment free on the NHS

What type of health insurance can you buy from AXA Health?

AXA Health provides health insurance for individuals, families, small businesses and they also provide corporate cover for larger businesses. In this article we will focus on individual health insurance however if you are interested in family health insurance, then check out our article ‘Which is the best family health insurance policy that covers my children?'

How much does AXA Health insurance cost?

It really depends on how comprehensive you want the cover to be. AXA Health starts by providing a ‘core' health insurance policy, which is fairly basic, however, you can tailor your cover by adding a multitude of cover options, each one incurring an additional cost.

It is difficult to give an exact cost, as every quote will be unique to the policyholder, however, a healthy 30 year old can expect to pay between £20 and £30 per month with the option to build extra cover into the quote. Below we explain the extra cover options in more detail as well as how much you could expect to pay.

What does AXA Health insurance cover?

Some health insurance providers have three levels of cover which can broadly be described as basic, intermediate and comprehensive cover. AXA Health does it slightly differently as they provide one type of cover, called ‘core' cover, which can then be tailored to include extra cover options which we explain below.

Core cover

AXA's core cover provides treatment for a wide range of conditions. It includes the cost of surgery, specialists’ fees and drugs. It is important to note that out-patient drugs are not covered by the core plan. We look at additional cover options later in this article and explain how they work.

Immediate access or 6 week option

When obtaining an AXA Health insurance quote you will be asked whether you want immediate access or alternatively you can select a ‘6 week' option. Immediate access is more expensive and means that that if you need to use the plan you would be covered straight away.

Choosing the 6 week option is cheaper but will mean that you would need to use the NHS if they are able to treat you within 6 weeks. This applies to hospital treatment including surgery, diagnostic procedures or cancer treatment including radiotherapy and chemotherapy. The reason this option is cheaper is that it is likely that you will receive treatment by the NHS for serious conditions such as cancer. Selecting this option will be good for those that want to keep costs down.

Out-patient options

There are three options to choose from, standard out-patient, full out-patient or no out-patient cover. We've summarised each option below.

Standard Out-Patient option

  • Receive up to three specialist consultations per year
  • No annual limit when referred by a specialist for diagnostic tests
  • No annual limit when referred by a specialist to a dietician, orthoptist, speech therapist or nurse

Full Out-Patient option

  • No annual limit on specialist consultations
  • No annual limit when referred by a specialist for diagnostic tests
  • No annual limit when referred by a specialist to a dietician, orthoptist, speech therapist or nurse

No outpatient option

If you choose this option, your core cover will only provide cover for out-patient surgery, CT, MRI and PET scans.

Guided option

AXA has negotiated with a number of specialists in order to bring down the cost of the treatment that it provides. You can choose the ‘guided' option which means that you will be treated by AXA's chosen specialists. By selecting this option, you'll qualify for reduced premiums as AXA pass some of those savings onto you.

NHS Cancer Support

The AXA Health core cover includes cancer cover and care during the active treatment of cancer. It provides you with full cover for treatment, chemotherapy and radiotherapy, licensed cancer drugs and unlimited out-patient cancer treatment after diagnosis.

You have the choice of reducing the cost of your cover by selecting the NHS cancer support option which will mean that you will not be covered for the treatment of cancer and instead will need to be treated by the NHS.

It is important to note that the NHS cancer support option does provide additional services such as access to nurses that can provide additional emotional support for you and your family. NHS cancer support also provides cover for licensed cancer drugs that are not available on the NHS.

Dentist and Optician Cashback

  • Cover for 80% of your dentist’s fees (up to a maximum of £400 each year)
  • Cover for 80% of your optician’s fees. Can be used towards prescribed glasses or contact lenses (up to a maximum of £200 each year)
  • Covered for the cost of eye tests (up to a maximum of £25 per year)

Travel option

  • Cover for emergency medical expenses abroad (can select European or Worldwide)
  • Cover for lost baggage and passports as well as personal accident cover and cover for skiing (off-piste not covered)
  • If worldwide travel is selected, it will include cover for emergency dental treatment and business travel
  • You can select an ‘Adventure Sports' upgrade which covers additional activities such as paragliding and bungee-jumping

Extended Cover

  • Visits to consult a private GP is covered up to a maximum of £500 a year
  • Cover for using AXA Health recognised specialists
  • Cover for planned treatment up to the value of the equivalent UK treatment
  • Receive up to five consultations a year with AXA's Doctor@Hand GP service where you can speak to a doctor using your smartphone or laptop
  • More choice of hospitals meaning you are covered to use hospitals outside AXA's directory of hospitals

Mental Health option

By taking out the mental health option you will receive the following:

As an in-patient or day-patient:

  • No annual limit on specialist fees for psychiatric treatment
  • Cover for psychiatric treatment, diagnostic tests and drugs, at a hospital or day-patient unit in one of AXA's hospitals (selected from its directory). The cover also includes accommodation

As an out-patient:

  • No annual limit on specialist consultations for psychiatric treatment
  • No annual limit on psychiatric treatment by psychologists and cognitive-behavioural therapists (as long as your specialist oversees treatment)

Therapies option

  • Provides additional cover for out-patient treatment by therapy providers such as chiropractors, osteopaths, physiotherapists, acupuncturists and homoeopaths
  • Receive up to 10 sessions a year when your GP refers you (or when you have therapist treatment through AXAs ‘Working Body' team)
  • No annual limit on fees

Axa Health excess options

Your excess is the amount you choose to pay towards your private health treatment. The more you pay, the less you'll pay in premiums. You can choose 4 different excess options.

  • £0
  • £100
  • £250
  • £500

AXA Health insurance cost and where best to buy it?

Below we have provided a breakdown of the costs of AXA Health. We have provided the basic cost for core cover based on a healthy 30-year-old non-smoker. We have then listed the additional options and provided the additional cost or relevant reduction that would be applied for selecting each option. Further down we explain the best way to buy AXA Health.

Axa Health insurance cost breakdown

30 year old non smoker with £500 excess
Core cover £24.71
Immediate access + £5.72
Standard out-patient option + £5.00
Full out-patient option + £15.51
Guided option – £3.94
NHS cancer support – £0.49
Dentist and Optician cashback option + £10.32
Travel option (European cover) + £12.03
Travel option (European cover + adventure sports upgrade) + £16.04
Travel option (Worldwide cover) + £16.68
Travel option (Worldwide cover + adventure sports upgrade) + £21.66
Extended cover option + £8.00
Mental health option + £2.94
Therapies option + £2.78
Reduce excess to £250 + £2.83
Reduce excess to £100 + £5.08
Reduce excess to £0 + £8.47

As the table above demonstrates, health insurance is rarely straightforward and so you will be required to make a lot of decisions when building your tailored quote. The dentist/optician cashback option and also the travel options are expensive in comparison to the other cover options and so should probably be avoided if you are looking to keep costs low.

Below we have provided an example of the cost of AXA Health insurance if you include a few of its most popular cover options

AXA Health insurance cost including additional cover options

30 year old non smoker with £500 excess
Core cover £24.71
Immediate access + £5.72
Standard out-patient option + £5.00
Mental health option + £2.94
Reduce excess to £250 + £2.83
Total £41.20

Often, the best way to buy health insurance is to speak to an independent health insurance specialist as they will be able to guide you through each option and help you to understand the cost and explain the benefits of each option. Another reason to speak to an independent specialist is that they will be able to let you know if an alternative provider is cheaper, or perhaps if an alternative provider offers a more comprehensive plan for the same cost. Additionally, they can help you to complete the application forms, as well as chasing the insurance company on your behalf, speeding up the application process.

We have partnered with Assured Futures*, one of the UK's leading private health insurance specialists in order to provide you with the most comprehensive quotations at the cheapest possible price. For a limited time, customers that take out a new healthcare policy before 31st October 2023 will qualify for £100 cashback.

They have access to the whole market meaning you can be confident that the policy you buy is the cheapest policy available on the market. All you need to get started is to click on ‘Get health insurance quote'*. You can choose to build your own quote or alternatively request that an adviser from Assured Futures call you back.

How to reduce the cost of your AXA Health insurance

Here are six quick tips on how to reduce the cost of your AXA Health insurance quotes

  • Pay annually – you can save 5% on your subscription by paying your annual insurance in one go
  • Choose the NHS option for your cancer cover – selecting this option (or if AXA is unable to offer cancer cover due to a previous medical condition) with bring down your premiums
  • Take the 6 week option – selecting this option will bring down the cost of your cover. You will be treated by the NHS if treatment is available within 6 weeks. If the wait is longer, you'll be treated privately
  • Increase your excess – increasing the excess you are willing to pay (should you make a claim) will bring down the cost of the cover
  • Protect your no claims discount – AXA will reward you for every year that you don't make a claim, up to a maximum of 80%
  • Let AXA Health choose the specialists by selected the ‘guided' option – AXA has negotiated with certain specialists in order to bring down the cost of the treatment and so by choosing to use those specialists, you'll qualify for reduced premiums as AXA pass some of those savings onto you

What is not covered with AXA Health insurance

Below is a list of things that are not covered on the AXA Health insurance policy. All of these are standard exclusions and would apply to most (if not all) insurance companies.

  • Treatment of existing medical conditions that you had prior to joining. (unless switching from another plan and have ‘continued' medical underwriting – check out our article ‘How to compare the best health insurance policies'
  • Pregnancy and childbirth
  • Treatment of chronic conditions, such as diabetes or asthma.
  • Cosmetic treatment (AXA has an enhanced ‘family cover' which covers limited cosmetic treatment for birthmarks and prominent ears)
  • Some specialist's fees will not be covered in full so you will need to speak to AXA to check before you claim


If a link has an * beside it this means that it is an affiliated link. If you go via the link, Money to the Masses may receive a small fee which helps keep Money to the Masses free to use. The following link can be used if you do not wish to help Money to the Masses – Assured Futures