Can you continue health insurance after leaving a job?

4 min Read Published: 14 Nov 2023

Can you continue health insurance after leaving a jobYes, it is possible and private medical insurance is a sought-after and valued benefit that many employers are choosing to pay for as part of an employee's benefits package. Leaving a job will involve considering whether you can continue the health insurance you have enjoyed. In this article, we will describe how to port health insurance benefits with you if you leave your job; the benefits of doing so and how it could help you maintain health cover for pre-existing conditions.

What is employer health insurance?

Employer health insurance provides you with access to private healthcare for employees in the form of private GP services, specialist consultations, medical diagnostic testing as well as private medical treatment.  Employer's health insurance, often referred to as group health insurance is an insurance scheme that is paid for by the business and provides health cover for employees named in the scheme. It can also extend services such as mental health support and bereavement counselling to the employees' families.

Can you continue health insurance after leaving a job?

Yes, you can continue health insurance from a group scheme and port it to individual health insurance but the terms and conditions of the cover may be slightly different. Group health insurance schemes assess the health of employees that join the scheme differently from how an individual application for health insurance is assessed. This aspect of getting health insurance often tempts leaving employees to port their health insurance with them when they leave the employer's scheme.

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Porting employer's health insurance to individual health insurance - how it works

One of the key motivations for continuing your employer's health insurance if you leave your job or are dismissed or made redundant is to continue to be covered fully for health conditions that you have already suffered. Usually, your health insurance will be offered after your health has been fully assessed. The outcome of this can be that you:

  • won't be covered for pre-existing health conditions
  • will be covered fully for pre-existing health conditions after 2 years
  • will be covered except for specific health conditions that will be excluded

Health insurance that covers you for all pre-existing conditions without any exclusions is the most desirable outcome - you will usually be in a position where your employer's health insurance provides you with this level of cover if you have been a member of the scheme for the moratorium period which varies between 2 and 5 years.

How to convert your group health insurance to individual health insurance

There are a few different ways to start the process of porting your health insurance from the group scheme to an individual cover. You won't usually be offered the same terms and conditions of the cover provided through your employer's group scheme but as I described earlier, the key request would be to start your individual health insurance cover on the same medical terms as you had within your group scheme.

You can choose to speak to the person who administers your employer group health insurance scheme to exercise a continuation option. If you would rather not have this conversation with your employer then you can contact the insurance company directly to discuss continuing your cover on a personal basis.

The health insurance provider will then provide you with a quotation for your individual private health insurance which you can tailor to your specific needs and if you are happy with the terms and conditions, you just need to set up a payment method for the cover to continue. Do remember that group health insurance rates are more favourable than individual health insurance rates because they benefit from economies of scale.

Reasons to consider continuing group health insurance if you leave your employer

The concession is that it may be possible to continue the health insurance policy that you already have in place, as part of your existing employer's group medical scheme, on an individual basis once you leave your job.

While admittedly the monthly premium will rise, as you will no longer benefit from the group discount applied to your company's scheme, perhaps most importantly you can maintain the level and type of cover you have enjoyed to date without the need for underwriting. Underwriting is the process whereby an insurer assesses an insurance application. This usually involves the insurance company contacting the applicant's GP to discuss their medical history and possibly putting the applicant through a series of medical tests.

If you were to leave the firm and then subsequently look into taking out replacement cover any new contract will unlikely cover any existing medical conditions you may have, or at least not for a period of time known as the 'moratorium period' (often 2 years). However, if you obtain a quote from the insurance company that provides your soon-to-be ex-employer's scheme they will usually provide an individual policy on the same basis, without underwriting, which covers existing medical conditions - but only if there is no break in the cover from the date of leaving the employer’s scheme to the date of taking out a new individual policy.

How to get private health insurance

The health insurance market can be difficult to navigate - whether you're continuing your employer's health insurance or you just want to buy health insurance for yourself and your family. Although most good health insurance providers will offer core benefits like diagnostics, consultations and treatment, many offer extra benefits. These can include private phone and video GP services that you and your family can access 24 hours a day, 7 days a week; access to therapies like physiotherapy and osteopathy without using your excess and perks and discounts for health assessments and gym membership.

To understand your options, it is almost always best to speak to an independent specialist who will guide you through your options and source the best cover at the best price based on your priorities. You can arrange to speak to a health insurance specialist who will, at no cost to you, search the market for the best health insurance options. They often have access to bespoke rates as well as enhanced options, not available to a direct customer.

We have partnered with expert health insurance advisers* who will take the time to explain the options in simple terms so that you can choose the best health insurance. You're not obliged to go ahead with any of the health insurance quotations presented to you with but as a Money to the Masses reader you will receive £100 cashback if you buy your health insurance this way - offer ends 30th April 2024.


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