Guide to UK Health Insurers

Market Leaders

Bupa

bupaLogo

Circa 36% market share
Main offices – Staines and Manchester

Target audiences for health insurance – Individual, Small-Medium Business, Corporate

Bupa (British United Provident Association) is probably the name most synonymous with health insurance in the UK.

Founded in 1947 (just one year prior to the NHS), Bupa is a not-for-profit organisation with no shareholders and all profits reinvested into the business.

Bupa have diversified over the years into travel insurance, care homes, health assessments and occupational health.

Cover options for businesses
Plan name(s)
Select
In/day-patient treatment
Yes
Option to cover specialist fees in full
Yes
Out-patient options
£1,000, Full cover
Therapies/complementary treatment
£250 or Full cover
Psychiatric/mental health as an in-patient
28 days or 45 days
Cancer treatment
Full cover
Optional cash benefit options
Yes
Dental & Optical cover options
No – separate Dental and Cash Plans available
Travel cover option
Yes – as separate policy
Virtual GP
Yes
Employee Assistance Programme
No
Hospital lists
Participating and Partnership
Excesses
Cover options for individuals
Plan name(s)
BBY (Comprehensive or Treatment Care)
In/day-patient treatment
Yes
Option to cover specialist fees in full
No
Out-patient options
£500, £750, £1000, Full cover
Therapies/complementary treatment
Up to £350
Psychiatric/mental health as an in-patient
28 days
Cancer treatment
Full cover, NHS Cancer Cover Plus, No cover (optional extra of cancer assist)
Optional cash benefit options
Included in core cover
Dental & Optical cover options
Yes
Travel cover option
Yes
Virtual GP
Yes
Hospital lists
Essential, Extended, Extended with central London
Excesses
£0, £100, £150, £200, £250, £500, £1000, £2000

AXA PPP

axa logo

Circa 33% market share

Main offices – Tunbridge Wells and Leicester

Target audiences for health insurance – Individual, Small-Medium Business, Corporate

Set up in 1938 and originally known as the London Association for Hospital Services.  In 1999 AXA PPP Healthcare was acquired and became part or the wider AXA Group, which is a household name internationally.  In March 2012 the company acquired Bournemouth-based specialist online Private Medical Insurance provider Health-on-Line and followed this with subsequent acquisitions of SimplyHealth and the Permanent Health Company (PHC) in 2015.

Cover options for businesses
Plan name(s)
Business Health Select
In/day-patient treatment
Yes
Option to cover specialist fees in full
Yes (with extended cover option)
Out-patient options
Standard, Enhanced, Full
Therapies/complementary treatment
None, Full cover
Psychiatric/mental health as an in-patient
None, Full cover
Cancer treatment
Full cover
Optional cash benefit options
No
Dental & Optical cover options
Yes
Travel cover option
Yes
Virtual GP
Yes
Employee Assistance Programme
Yes
Hospital lists
One hospital list covering all UK hospitals
Excesses
Cover options for individuals
Plan name(s)
Personal Health, Health for You, InSpire
In/day-patient treatment
Yes (Six week option)
Option to cover specialist fees in full
No
Out-patient options
None, Standard, Full
Therapies/complementary treatment
None, Full cover
Psychiatric/mental health as an in-patient
None, 30 days, Full cover
Cancer treatment
Full, NHS Cancer support
Optional cash benefit options
No
Dental & Optical cover options
Yes
Travel cover option
Yes
Virtual GP
With extended cover
Hospital lists
Personal Health, Health for You, InSpire
Excesses
£100, £250, £500

Aviva Healthcare

avivaLogo

Circa 13% market share

Main offices – Eastleigh and Sheffield

Target audiences for health insurance – Individual, Small-Medium Business, Corporate 

Founded as Norwich Union Healthcare in 1990 as the healthcare arm of Norwich Union.  A merger with CGU in 2000 saw it become known briefly as CGNU before becoming part of the Aviva Group.  Aviva is well-known and recognised globally and they have been operating in the individual, SME and large corporate health insurance space for some time.

Cover options for businesses
Plan name(s)
Solutions
In/day-patient treatment
Yes (six week option)
Option to cover specialist fees in full
No
Out-patient options
£0, £1,000, £1,500, Full cover
Therapies/complementary treatment
Included within out-patient limit
Psychiatric/mental health as an in-patient
None, 28 days, 45 days
Cancer treatment
Full cover
Optional cash benefit options
No
Dental & Optical cover options
Yes
Travel cover option
No
Virtual GP
Yes
Employee Assistance Programme
No
Hospital lists
Signature, Trust, Key, Extended
Excesses
£0, £50, £100, £150, £200, £250, £500
Cover options for individuals
Plan name(s)
Healthier Solutions
In/day-patient treatment
Full, Six week
Option to cover specialist fees in full
No
Out-patient options
None, £500, £1000, Full
Therapies/complementary treatment
Within out-patient cover limit
Psychiatric/mental health as an in-patient
None, 28 days
Cancer treatment
Full cover
Optional cash benefit options
No
Dental & Optical cover options
Yes
Travel cover option
No
Virtual GP
Yes
Hospital lists
Key, Trust, Extended, Signature, Speedy
Excesses
£0, £100, £200, £500, £1000, £3000, £5000

Vitality

Vitality Logo

Circa 11% market share 

Main offices – Bournemouth & Stockport

Target audiences for health insurance – Individual, Small-Medium Business, Corporate 

Previously known as PruHealth, Vitality entered the market in 2004 as a 50/50 joint venture between Prudential and South African insurer Discovery Group.   Their model is different to many and focuses heavily on making it cheaper and easier of people of lead a healthy lifestyle, and rewarding them for doing so.  In 2010, Discovery brought Prudential out of their share and acquired Standard Life Healthcare, whilst changing the business name from PruHealth to Vitality simultaneously.

Cover options for businesses
Plan name(s)
Business Healthcare
In/day-patient treatment
Yes
Option to cover specialist fees in full
Full cover as standard
Out-patient options
£500, £750, £1,000, £1,250, £1,500, Full cover
Therapies/complementary treatment
£350, Full cover
Psychiatric/mental health as an in-patient
None, £15,000, £20,000
Cancer treatment
Full cover
Optional cash benefit options
Yes
Dental & Optical cover options
Yes
Travel cover option
Yes
Virtual GP
Yes
Employee Assistance Programme
Yes
Hospital lists
Local, Countrywide
Excesses
£0, £100, £250, £500, £1,000, Vitality Linked xs
Cover options for individuals
Plan name(s)
Personal Healthcare
In/day-patient treatment
Yes
Option to cover specialist fees in full
Yes as standard
Out-patient options
None, £500, £750, £1000, £1250, £1500, full cover
Therapies/complementary treatment
None, Full cover
Psychiatric/mental health as an in-patient
None, 28 days
Cancer treatment
Full cover
Optional cash benefit options
No
Dental & Optical cover options
Dental – Yes / Optical No
Travel cover option
Yes
Virtual GP
Yes
Hospital lists
Consultant select, Local, Countrywide, London Care
Excesses
£0, £100, £250, £500, £1000
The remaining 7% market share is split between the following insurers

Cigna

cignaLogo

Main offices – Greenock

Target audiences for health insurance – Small-Medium Business, Corporate

Cigna is a US business with a global footprint of approximately 75 million customer relationships, following 200 years of trading. They are an established name in the UK health insurance market and have broadened their services to include dental insurance.

Cover options for businesses
Plan name(s)
Health Flex – Level 1, Level 2, Level 3
In/day-patient treatment
Yes
Option to cover specialist fees in full
No
Out-patient options
£1,000, £2,000, full cover
Therapies/complementary treatment
Full cover
Psychiatric/mental health as an in-patient
Full cover
Cancer treatment
None, Full cover
Optional cash benefit options
No
Dental & Optical cover options
Optical as standard, Dental under separate plan
Travel cover option
No
Virtual GP
Yes
Employee Assistance Programme
No
Hospital lists
Cigna Network, Full Network
Excesses
£0, £100, £250, £500, £1,000

Freedom Health

freedom logo

Main offices – Bournemouth

Target audiences for health insurance – Individual, Small-Medium Business

Founded in 2003, Freedom Health has established itself in the Private Medical Insurance market and has always strived to offer innovative products and excellent levels of customer service.  Their Essentials product provides a fixed cash amount for procedures, making it one of the more affordable products available.

Cover options for businesses
Plan name(s)
Elite
In/day-patient treatment
Yes
Option to cover specialist fees in full
No
Out-patient options
£0, £1,500, Full cover
Therapies/complementary treatment
£0, £750, £1,500
Psychiatric/mental health as an in-patient
None, 45 days
Cancer treatment
Full cover
Optional cash benefit options
No
Dental & Optical cover options
Yes
Travel cover option
No
Virtual GP
No
Employee Assistance Programme
No
Hospital lists
National list, London Extension
Excesses
£100, £250, £500, £1,000
Cover options for individuals
Plan name(s)
Essentials, Elite
In/day-patient treatment
Yes
Option to cover specialist fees in full
No
Out-patient options
None, £500, £1500, Full cover
Therapies/complementary treatment
None, £750, £1500
Psychiatric/mental health as an in-patient
None, 45 days
Cancer treatment
Yes
Optional cash benefit options
No
Dental & Optical cover options
Yes
Travel cover option
No
Virtual GP
No
Hospital lists
Standard, Plus
Excesses
£0, £100, £250, £500, £1000

Permanent Health Company (PHC)

2phc

Main offices – Rickmansworth

Target audiences for health insurance – Small-Medium Business, Corporate 

PHC have been a provider of specialist Private Medical Insurance plans for over 25 years.   Operating as an independent insurer for many years, in 2015 PHC were acquired by AXA, meaning they boast a greater degree of financial strength via their parent. Despite being underwritten by AXA PPP Healthcare, PHC still design and distributes its own products.

Cover options for businesses
Plan name(s)
HealthCover4Life – Plan 1, Plan 2, Plan 3, Plan 4
In/day-patient treatment
Yes
Option to cover specialist fees in full
Yes
Out-patient options
2 Consultations per year, Full cover
Therapies/complementary treatment
£500, £1,000, £1,500, full cover
Psychiatric/mental health as an in-patient
None, Full cover
Cancer treatment
None, Full cover
Optional cash benefit options
Yes
Dental & Optical cover options
No
Travel cover option
No
Virtual GP
Yes
Employee Assistance Programme
No
Hospital lists
National List, London Upgrade
Excesses
£0, £100, £200, £1,000

The Exeter

the

Main offices – Exeter

Target audience for health insurance – Individuals

Established in 1927, Exeter Friendly Society is one of Britain’s largest friendly societies with over 90,000 members.  Focused mainly in the individual/retail space and Private Medical Insurance, their range of services has expanded over the past few years to include Health Cash Plan,  Income Protection and Life cover.

Cover options for businesses
Plan name(s)
Health +
In/day-patient treatment
Yes
Option to cover specialist fees in full
No
Out-patient options
None, £500, £1000, Full cover
Therapies/complementary treatment
None, £500, £1000, Full cover
Psychiatric/mental health as an in-patient
None, 28 days
Cancer treatment
Yes
Optional cash benefit options
No
Dental & Optical cover options
No
Travel cover option
No
Virtual GP
Yes
Hospital lists
Essential, Standard, Extended
Excesses
£0, £100, £250, £500, £1000, £3000, £5000

WPA

wpa logo

Main offices – Taunton 

Target audience for health insurance – Individual, Small-Medium Business, Corporate

Founded in 1901, WPA (Western Provident Association) is a not-for-profit organisation and all gains are invested back into the business.  As well as Private Medical Insurance, WPA offers an NHS top-up product (similar to a health cash plan).  Whilst not a well-known name, WPA are well established in the UK market.

Cover options for businesses
Plan name(s)
Enterprise Flexible Benefits, Enterprise Health
In/day-patient treatment
Yes
Option to cover specialist fees in full
No
Out-patient options
£250, £500, £1,000, £1,200, £1,500, Full cover
Therapies/complementary treatment
£200, £400, £600, £1,200, £1,800, within out-patient limit
Psychiatric/mental health as an in-patient
None, 6 sessions, £750
Cancer treatment
None, Full cover (drugs only if not readily available on NHS)
Optional cash benefit options
Yes
Dental & Optical cover options
Yes
Travel cover option
No
Virtual GP
Yes
Employee Assistance Programme
Yes
Hospital lists
National List, Premium
Excesses
£0, £100, £150, £200, £250 (Shared responsibility also at £500, £750, £1000, £1,500, £3,000, £5,000, £6,000)
Cover options for individuals
Plan name(s)
Essentials, Premier, Elite
In/day-patient treatment
Yes
Option to cover specialist fees in full
No
Out-patient options
None, £1000, £1500
Therapies/complementary treatment
Within out-patient limit
Psychiatric/mental health as an in-patient
No
Cancer treatment
None, Full cover (subject to guidelines)
Optional cash benefit options
No
Dental & Optical cover options
Yes
Travel cover option
Yes
Virtual GP
Yes
Hospital lists
Standard, Premium
Excesses
£250, £500, £750, £1000, £1500, £3000, £5000

National Friendly

National Friendly

Main offices – Bristol

Target audience for health insurance – Individuals

National Friendly is the trading name of National Deposit Friendly Society, a British society providing numerous financial services. Formed in 1868 as the Surrey Deposit Friendly Society, they have broadened their horizons into Private Medical Insurance, Later Life Care, Savings, Investments and Life Assurance.

Cover options for businesses
Plan name(s)
Optimum
In/day-patient treatment
None, Yes (up to 1 million cover limit)
Option to cover specialist fees in full
No
Out-patient options
None, £2000, £5000
Therapies/complementary treatment
None, or within out-patient limit
Psychiatric/mental health as an in-patient
No
Cancer treatment
Yes (subject to guidelines)
Optional cash benefit options
No
Dental & Optical cover options
No
Travel cover option
No
Virtual GP
No
Hospital lists
Standard, Extended
Excesses
£0, £100, £250, £500, £1000

Engage Health Group has made every effort to ensure accuracy of this information, but inaccuracies could be present due to the velocity at which market dynamics and products change. 

Guide to UK Health Insurers
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