AXA Health insurance review: Benefits and key features

10 min Read Published: 17 Jun 2024

Axa Health logoIn this article, we explain how AXA health insurance works, the options that you can choose and how it compares with other private medical insurance. We also explain what is included, how it compares to other private medical insurance policies and what AXA health insurance costs.

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?'.

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 a 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 July 2024
  • See how Axa Health compares to the likes of Bupa, Vitality and Aviva

About AXA Health

AXA Health can be traced back to 1938 when 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.

AXA Health is a leading health insurance provider and was awarded the Best International Private Medical Insurance at the 2019 Cover Excellence Awards. AXA Health also won the ‘Best Health & Wellness Offering' at the 2023 Cover Excellence Awards.

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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)
  • 24/7 online GP service by video or phone with a GP or Advanced Nurse Practitioner
  • Access to more than 250 hospitals and over 36,500 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 insurance 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.

Below we have provided a breakdown of the costs of AXA Health insurance by age allowing you to gauge the rough cost of buying basic health insurance with AXA – your price will be specific to how you answer the questions on the application. The monthly premiums are based on AXA's core cover with no outpatient cover and we haven't selected any options that would either increase or reduce the monthly premiums. There are number of options that AXA health insurance offers that may reduce or increase your monthly premiums and we list these below this table. AXA offers a 5% discount to those health insurance customers who choose to pay annually.

Monthly cost of AXA health insurance

Insured person's age Monthly premium¹ for AXA health insurance
30 years old £40.34
40 years old £48.58
50 years old £64.64

¹ The monthly premium is correct as of 16th May 2024 and assumes that the applicant is a non-smoker in good health and willing to pay a £500 excess. It includes no outpatient cover or additional benefits and does not reflect any cost-reducing options. Paying annually will reduce your costs by 5%.

You can reduce the cost of your AXA health insurance policy by choosing the ‘Guided Option' which means that in the event that you are referred to see a specialist, AXA will choose the specialist for you. Although this may take away your ability to choose a specialist, people often find it useful to be guided to a relevant medical person for their needs. A 30-year-old person would usually save around £5 per month by choosing the Guided Option. You can also reduce the cost of your AXA health insurance cover by selecting ‘NHS Cancer Support' which will mean that if you require cancer treatment, this would be provided through the NHS but you would still be able to access support through AXA. Choosing the NHS Cancer Support option could mean that you can save around £4 per month on the cost of your AXA health insurance as a 30-year-old.

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 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 July 2024 will qualify for £100 cashback.

Cost of AXA health insurance optional benefits

Additional benefit Monthly cost²
Dentist and optician cashback £14.64
Excess reduced to £250 £5.05
Excess reduced to £100 £9.09
Excess reduced to £0 £15.15
Extended cover £11.30
Mental health cover £5.26
Outpatient cover – Standard £8.94
Outpatient cover – Full £27.76
Travel cover – European £11.36
Travel cover – European with Adventure sports £15.17
Travel cover – Worldwide £17.22
Travel cover – Worldwide with Adventure sports £22.37

² The monthly cost is the amount a 30-year-old non-smoking person would pay in addition to the standard monthly premium for core cover for each additional benefit.

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 compared to the other cover options and so should probably be avoided if you are looking to keep costs low.

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) will bring down your premiums
  • Increase your excess – increasing the excess you are willing to pay (should you make a claim) will bring down the cost of the cover
  • Reduce your outpatient cover – this is the limit on how much AXA will pay for outpatient consultations and treatment and a lower limit could reduce your costs
  • 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 selecting 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

How does the AXA health insurance no claims discount work?

A no-claims discount (NCD) is measured across 17 steps with AXA health insurance that ranges from 0% to 80% and you can choose to protect your NCD so that it won't change. AXA health insurance premiums are reviewed at the renewal stage each year and can change based on the claims you or any person insured on your policy make during the year running up to your renewal date. It is helpful to understand that any claims settled by you that are not paid by AXA or amounted to a claim amount less or equal to your excess amount will not impact your NCD. And even for claims that AXA paid out for, you can choose to repay the amount that your claim costs to avoid any change to your no-claims discount.

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.

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)

Dentist and Optician Cashback Plus

  • Cover for 100% of your dentist’s fees (up to a maximum of £500 each year)
  • Cover for up to £10,000 each year for dental accidents (up to £2,500 per incident – maximum 4 incidents each year)
  • Cover for 100% of your optician’s fees. Can be used towards prescribed glasses or contact lenses (up to a maximum of £300 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, delays 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 means 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

What is not covered by 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 before 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
  • Treatments and services that would normally be carried out by a GP
  • Treatment of chronic conditions, such as diabetes or asthma
  • Preventative treatment or tests without symptoms
  • 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


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