Health insurance gives you access to a range of private medical treatments if you suffer an illness or injury. Most health insurance plans allow you to choose where you get treated, provide access to a wide range of treatments and perhaps most importantly of all, enables you to skip NHS queues and get seen quicker. In this article, we look at what age you can buy health insurance as well as how much it costs.
What age can you buy health insurance?
The age at which you can buy health insurance, also referred to as private medical insurance, varies depending on the health insurance company you choose. Age limits vary between 18 and 99, with policies becoming more expensive as you get older. You need to be 18 to apply for UK health insurance, however, some policies allow adults to add children to their policy by converting it to a 'family' plan. For more information about family plans, check out our article 'Which is the best family health insurance policy'.
We have provided two tables below that confirm the minimum and maximum age requirements for the top 6 health insurance providers in the UK.
Minimum age you can buy health insurance in the UK
|Health Insurance Provider||Minimum Age Requirement|
Maximum age you can buy health insurance in the UK
|Health Insurance Provider||Maximum Age Requirement|
Health insurance costs by age
The cost of health insurance is determined by a number of factors, including your age, the excess you choose and how comprehensive the cover is. In this article we will focus on how your age can impact the cost of health insurance, however, if you want to understand how the excess and type of health insurance affects the cost of the cover, then read our article 'How much does private health insurance cost?'
Below we have provided the cheapest health insurance quotes for a range of ages, from 18 to 60
|Age||Basic Health Insurance||Intermediate Health Insurance||Comprehensive Health Insurance|
Costs based on a health insurance excess of £250
As you can see from the table above, the older you are, the more expensive health insurance becomes. This is because you are more likely to claim on a health insurance policy the older you get. So, in order to answer the question 'What age should you get health insurance', it really depends on what is affordable and what you consider to be good value. For some people, £30-£40 per month is a small price to pay to beat the NHS queues and have a say in how and when they are treated.
It is worth noting that health insurance premiums are reviewed each year and so unlike other 'fixed' insurance products such as life insurance, there is no real benefit to taking out the cover when you are younger, as the price isn't fixed and will increase year on year.
Do you need health insurance?
Buying health insurance is a personal choice and so there is no right or wrong answer when it comes to whether you need it and the best age to buy it. For a lot of people it simply comes down to cost and so you may want to read our article 'Is private health insurance worth it' where we explain the cover in more detail as well as provide a handy list of alternatives to health insurance. In order to understand whether you need health insurance, you need to be absolutely clear on what it covers. We explain health insurance cover in more detail in our article 'What does health insurance cover?'
Health insurance provides cover for the following:
|What is included with Health Insurance||Details|
|Outpatient Treatment||Minor treatments and surgery that does not require an overnight stay|
|Inpatient Treatment||Treatment that requires an overnight stay|
|Accommodation||Overnight stay in a private hospital|
|Nursing Care||Ongoing care while you recover|
|Medication||Drugs during and after your stay to enable recovery|
|Additional Care||Some policies provide additional care such as access to 'Virtual GP's'. This varies by insurer|
Health insurance does not provide cover for the following:
|What is not included with Health Insurance||Details|
|Pre-existing conditions||Pre-existing conditions where you have had investigations, tests or treatment in the past 5 years are usually not included|
|Emergency care||If you require immediate emergency treatment then you would need to be treated by the NHS at your local A&E and so your policy would not cover you for this|
|Chronic conditions||Long term conditions such as diabetes and Crohn's Disease are not covered|
|Treatment overseas||You would need to refer to your travel insurance policy in order to receive private treatment abroad|
|Pregnancy||Prenatal care is not covered|
|Drug Abuse||Treatment for drug-related issues (including overdose) is not covered|
The best and cheapest way to buy health insurance
You should ensure that you search the whole market when buying a health insurance policy to find the best and cheapest quotes for you and your circumstances. The premiums quoted above are only indicative. Online comparison sites can only provide you with a simplified quote, whereas an independent health insurance specialist can provide you with a personalised quote. We would recommend speaking to Assured Futures*, an independent health insurance specialist whose advisers are fully qualified to give advice on the best policy for you based on your private healthcare priorities, budget and medical history. Being independent means they have your best interests at heart and they promise to beat any like for like quote (and if they can't, you'll qualify for a £50 voucher)
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 or take advantage of any exclusive offers - Assured Futures