Joint health insurance in the UK explained

December 5, 2023
minutes read time

If you and a partner are considering medical insurance, you may benefit from exploring joint health insurance policies. They offer a unique way for two individuals to access private medical cover while providing benefits such as cost savings, ease of management and more.

What is joint health Insurance?

Joint health insurance is a policy designed to cover two individuals, commonly partners or spouses, under the same terms. This means that all benefits, exclusions and policy terms are shared, and there is only one monthly or annual premium to pay.

While this may offer several benefits, it’s also important to understand that joint health insurance policies will consider both individuals' age, lifestyle and medical history when calculating the cost, setting exclusions and determining what’s covered. In some cases, it may be beneficial for two individuals to purchase two separate policies instead.

How does joint health insurance differ?

While the distinction may seem obvious, couples must understand how a joint policy would differ compared to purchasing individual policies.

  1. Structure and coverage - Joint policies are created with the combined needs of two individuals in mind. This means that both parties must agree on the same conditions and ensure they benefit and address their health concerns in the same policy.

  2. Cost breakdown - Joint health insurance policies may have a different premium calculation method, factoring in the health risks and needs of two people. This can sometimes result in more attractive rates or, in some cases, specific stipulations on coverages.

Eligibility criteria for joint health insurance

Joint health insurance may not be available to everyone. However, if you’re not eligible, you may find individual health insurance offers you what you need. Here’s who may be considered for a joint policy:

  1. Married couples - If you’re legally married in the UK, you are eligible for a joint policy.
  1. Civil partnerships - If you’re in a legally recognised civil partnership, you are eligible for joint health insurance.
  1. Cohabiting partners - Some providers may offer joint policies for long-term cohabiting couples regardless of their legal relationship status.

What does joint health insurance cover?

Joint health insurance coverage is very similar to personal policies, with the main distinction being that the terms are based on two parties instead of one.

Your coverage will depend on many factors, such as the policy level you choose, your provider, both policyholders' medical history, and more. To help you understand what cover may be available, we’ve listed some examples below:

  1. Hospitalisation and surgical costs - Expenses related to hospital stays and surgery, such as rooms, procedures, nursing care, anesthesia, operating room costs and other associated expenses.
  1. Outpatient care - Treatments that do not require an overnight stay in hospital, such as doctor consultations, minor procedures, diagnostic tests, x-rays and blood tests.
  1. Inpatient care - Treatments that do require an overnight hospital stay, such as surgeries, complex procedures and recovery.
  1. Specialist consultations - Consultations with specialists, such as cardiologists, orthopaedic surgeons, gynaecologists, neurologists, and others where required. 
  1. Alternative therapies - Some policies may include cover for alternative therapies, such as acupuncture, chiropractic and homeopathy.
  1. Mental health - Costs related to mental health cover, such as therapy sessions, and consultations.
  2. Cancer - Support and treatment related to cancer, such as diagnostic tests, chemotherapy, radiotherapy, surgeries and more.
Couple with matching achor tattoos, interlocking index fingers

Joint health exclusions and limitations

As with all private health insurance policies, you will find exclusions and limitations. What these are depends on factors unique to you and your provider, with some common examples being:

  1. Policy limits - Your policy may include limits on certain treatments. This may be a monetary value, such as £500, or a limit on the number of treatments you can receive within a 12 month period.

  2. Pre-existing conditions - Health issues or conditions that the policyholder had prior to taking out the insurance are often excluded unless otherwise specified in the policy. Please visit our blog about pre-existing conditions and health insurance to learn more.

  3. Chronic conditions - Long-term health conditions which cannot be cured but can be managed, such as diabetes or asthma, may be excluded from your policy.

  4. Cosmetic surgery - Procedures done for aesthetic reasons rather than for medical necessity are typically not covered.

  5. Injuries from hazardous activities - Injuries resulting from activities deemed dangerous or risky, such as skydiving or rock climbing, may be excluded.
  6. Drug and alcohol abuse - Treatments for conditions arising from drug or alcohol misuse might not be covered.

  7. Dental and optical treatments - Unless specified in the policy, routine dental and eye care treatments might be excluded. Some policies may allow you to add this cover for an additional premium.

  8. Self-inflicted injuries - Injuries or conditions arising from self-harm or suicide attempts are often not included.

The benefits of joint health insurance VS individual policies

Joint health insurance offers many of the same benefits of health insurance, so instead, we’ve considered what the benefits may be compared to purchasing individual policies. How you benefit will depend on many factors, and the below serves as an example only:

  1. Cost savings - One of the primary advantages is the potential for savings. By purchasing a joint policy, couples may pay a lower premium compared to purchasing two separate policies. If couples purchase health insurance for many years into the future, the long-term savings may be substantial.

  2. Shared policy terms - One policy means that both parties have identical coverage and benefits, meaning there is no disparity or confusion between who is eligible for certain treatments, what limits are in place, the benefits available etc.

  3. Ease of management - Having a single policy means more streamlined payments, renewals, claims and other administrative tasks that may come up as a policyholder.

How do joint health insurance claims work?

Joint health insurance claims work similarly to individual policies. Precisely which steps you take will depend on your provider, but here’s an example of what may happen:

  1. Notification - If either policyholder wishes to use their policy for a private medical consultation or treatment, they’ll need to inform the insurance provider.

  2. Approval - The provider will assess the claim against the policy terms and make a decision on whether to approve the medical treatment.

  3. Reimbursement/Settlement - Depending on the policy terms, the provider may settle the claim directly with the medical facility, or reimburse you the cost after you’ve paid.

  4. Excess - Please note that if your policy has an excess amount, you may be liable for this payment towards the medical services.
Same sex couple feeding each other breakfast

How much does joint health insurance cost?

The cost of joint health insurance will vary from couple to couple. Everyone has unique policy needs, living locations and other factors that all get considered when pricing your policy. Here’s what providers may take into account when calculating your premiums:

  1. Age of policyholders - As a general rule, joint health insurance becomes more expensive the older the policyholders are.

  2. Medical history - If either party has past medical conditions, this may mean that they need to switch on protected underwriting terms, which may increase the cost.

  3. Current health status - Ongoing medical conditions may mean that they need to switch on protected underwriting terms, which may lead to higher payments.

  4. Location - Some areas in the UK may attract higher premiums, and as such, if you live in these areas and require treatment there, your premiums may be higher compared to areas with lower premiums.

  5. Excess level - If you make a claim, you may have to pay an excess amount. Opting for a higher excess amount will reduce your premiums and vice versa.

  6. Policy limits - If you opt for a policy with higher limits, you may pay a higher premium compared to policy with lower limits.

  7. Add-ons - Policy add-ons, such as dental and optical care, may be available to include for an additional premium.

  8. Hospital lists - Your policy may offer a choice between several hospital lists, which are a list of hospitals that you’re covered to receive treatment from. Some lists may lead to lower premiums than others, while others will attract a higher charge.

  9. Underwriting method  - The underwriting method, such as moratorium or full medical as opposed to continued medical underwriting terms may change how much you pay.

  10. No claims discount - If you have a history of not making claims, your provider may offer you a discount. However, this may not be available if you’re purchasing your first joint policy.

  11. Occupation - Certain occupations may provide you with a discount depending on the insurer. Your occupation may result in a decline from cover, so we would always recommend speaking to us or reading the insurers terms and conditions.

  12. Frequency of payments - Many providers will offer you the choice between monthly and annual payments. In some cases, you may save money by paying annually.

  13. Mental health coverage - If you’ve included mental health coverage that isn’t included as standard, your premiums may rise.

  14. Provider choice - Every provider has its own way of calculating premiums and assessing policy applications, which is why we always recommend that you compare your options across the market.

Compare joint health insurance across UK providers

When searching for joint health insurance policies, we recommend going through a comparison process. This will help you understand the different options available across multiple UK providers and, as a result, help you make the right decision for yourself.

To compare joint health insurance policies, you can utilise our free service, where an independent broker will undertake the comparison for you. They’ll also be able to answer any questions and guide you throughout the process. To start comparing, please complete the form below.

Compare private medical insurance policies

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Compare small business health insurance policies

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Compare corporate health insurance policies

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Compare private medical insurance policies

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Compare small business health insurance policies

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Compare corporate health insurance policies

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.