What is health insurance?

What is health insurance, how do I choose a policy and how much does it cost?

A health insurance policy is designed to meet some or all of the costs of private medical treatment, from consultations with diagnostic scans and tests through to treatment. Should you or a loved one get ill you have peace of mind that they will have access to the very best treatment at a time and place that is convenient to you.

Health insurance, or private medical insurance (PMI) as it is sometimes known, may be provided by a company to their employees or it can be purchased on an individual or family basis.

Most health insurance policies offer a range of benefits and cover options to ensure customers can find the right policy to meet their needs and budget.

Health insurance typically covers

Hospital admissions for In-patient and Day-patient treatment.

In-patient and Day-patient therapy.

Diagnostic tests including MRI, CT and PET scans.

Health & Wellbeing support services including mental health benefits on an optional basis.

Out-patient treatment may be included or offered on an optional basis.

Cancer care may be included or offered on an optional basis.

How do I choose a health insurance policy?

It is important to understand the cover a policy provides. Many health insurance products have options or levels of cover designed to meet different customers needs. This can determine the type of benefits offered or may involve limits being applied on certain benefits. Key things to consider when comparing policies might include:

  • Can you choose who and where you are treated? Are you limited to certain hospitals and healthcare providers by the insurer?
  • Is cover for out-patient treatment and investigations required and is it included on the policy?
  • Are the benefits and benefit limits suitable for your needs?
  • What are you not covered for?
  • How much do you want to spend?

How much does health insurance cost?

Health insurance premiums will vary considerably based upon the needs and the lifestyle of those looking for cover. Premiums for individuals/families are typically calculated based upon the following:

  • The ages of the people on cover.
  • What part of the country you live in.
  • If anyone on cover is a smoker.
  • The policy level of cover chosen.
  • Any benefit limit options or optional benefits chosen.
  • Any excess or Shared Responsibility options selected.

Company health insurance premiums will be affected by some of the above but also by the underwriting option chosen, company size and other factors.

What is not covered?

There are certain treatments and conditions that are not usually covered by health insurance policies. It is important to understand that health insurance is not designed to be a replacement for the NHS, but rather to complement it. The terms and conditions of the health insurance policy will detail what is not covered and these typically include the following:

  • Pre-existing conditions.
  • Long-term chronic conditions.
  • Fertility problems, pregnancy and childbirth.
  • Cosmetic treatment.
  • Self-inflicted injuries.

It is important to read the full policy terms and conditions of any health insurance policy carefully to understand what is and what isn't covered under the policy.

What is the difference between health insurance and a cash plan?

Unlike health insurance, which covers treatment of unforeseen medical conditions, cash plans contribute towards the cost of routine healthcare. So you don’t have to be ill to benefit. It’s an affordable way to recover the costs of essential, foreseeable healthcare.

Routine healthcare costs include:

  • Dental check-ups and treatment.
  • Sight tests, prescription glasses and contact lenses.
  • Physiotherapy, chiropractic treatment and osteopathy.
  • Money back on specialist consultations.

Eligible treatment costs are reimbursed straight back to you.

We are here for you

Existing members

Access 24/7 Remote GP Services, contact us using Live Chat, make and track a claim or send and receive secure messages all via the WPA Health app or My WPA Login.

Become a member

If you’d like to talk to someone about becoming a member, please give our UK team a call on

01823 625050

Group schemes

Whatever the size of your business we have a group scheme available. Call us on

01823 625247