Medical insurance companies and providers

October 28, 2019
minutes read time

Medical insurance companies and providers

Medical insurance companies, also known as health insurance providers, offer policies that cover their policyholders for a range of health treatments, subject to the terms and conditions of that individual’s policy. The best provider for anyone looking for a policy is dependent on their medical history, needs and budget. We recommend that you utilise the skills of an independent broker who can contact, compare and negotiate the policies offered by the leading providers on your behalf.

What is a health insurance provider?

A health insurance provider is a company that sells policies to individuals, families or businesses that may cover them for a range of medical diagnostics, tests and treatments for a monthly or annual premium payment. Health insurance providers will have their own network of hospitals, staff and resources that may be accessed by anyone who purchases a relevant policy with them. On the other hand, some providers may directly own the facilities that their policyholders receive treatment at. Health insurance providers bridge the gap between the high cost of private healthcare and the demand for access to it by offering a solution at a manageable cost.

Who are the best health insurance providers in the UK?

The answer to who is ‘best’ health insurance provider will depend on the individual who is looking to purchase a health insurance policy. There are some key players in the UK health insurance industry that have demonstrated the quality of their service for many years, and these long-established companies may often be regarded as the ‘best’.

Simply put, the ‘best’ provider for you is one that can offer you the features, cover and monthly premium that best suits your prioritised list of requirements. Below are examples of some of the leading UK health insurance providers:

  1. AXA PPP
  2. Bupa
  3. Aviva
  4. Vitality Health
  5. The Exeter
  6. Freedom Health Insurance
  7. PHC
  8. WPA
  9. CS Healthcare
  10. Health-On-Line
  11. Cigna

To help you understand which provider is the ‘best’ for you, we’ve covered some of the common differences you’ll find between them.

What’s the difference between private health care providers?

When comparing health insurance providers, you’ll find that there are differences between all of them. These range from operational differences, policy options, access to facilities and many more. Here are 10 of the top differences between providers you may come across: 

  1. Hospital locations - every provider has a list of hospitals that their customers have the option to access for treatment. Some providers may offer the same hospitals, and others may be unique to a single provider. 
  2. Available treatments - for every medical condition, there may be multiple effective treatments to help the condition. Some providers may only cover a single treatment for a specific illness, whereas others may offer several options to their policyholders.
  3. Drug accessibility - you may find that each provider has their own unique offering for drugs that may be used during treatment. Some may offer newly emerging but expensive options, while others may only offer existing and cheaper drugs.
  4. Industry professionals - you may find that doctors, nurses and other medical staff work directly for a health insurance provider. In these cases, some providers may claim that they may offer more experienced medical staff than others.
  5. Members benefits - some health insurance providers offer a unique benefit scheme for their policyholders. These may come in the form of an aggregate points system, access to special offers and discounts or policy-specific benefits such as no-claims discounts.
  6. Premium - when comparing your policy options, you may find two very similar policies that have a notable difference in the premium being offered to you. We recommend that you go through a comparison process to understand the policies available to you.
  7. Underwriting - your selected underwriting method will determine how the insurer will cover you going forward for any pre-existing medical conditions you may have. Health insurance brokers will ask you questions surrounding your medical history so that they are able to advise you on the most appropriate method of underwriting that is available to you.
  8. Policy extras - some providers may either include in your policy or offer you the option to add additional cover for complementary therapies. For example, if you’d like to be covered for chiropractic, osteopathy and acupuncture treatments, some providers may be able to offer this as part of your policy. This may cause a rise in premium, so be sure to check the difference between a policy with and without complementary therapies covered.
  9. Inpatient and outpatient treatment - most health insurance providers will offer you a policy with inpatient treatment covered as standard. Outpatient cover on the other hand may be offered to you for an additional premium, subject to T&C.
  10. Levels of cover available - private health insurance providers offer variants to their policies opening up the market to people who want various levels of cover. As an example, some providers offer a 4-6 week NHS policy which states that if you are able to receive certain treatments from the NHS within 6 weeks of waiting, then it wouldn’t be covered by your policy. 

Need an independent broker to advise you?

Contact Equity Health

Health insurance providers and independent brokers/agents

For anyone looking to purchase health insurance, you also have the option to purchase a policy through an independent broker. An independent broker is someone who is able to sell health insurance policies from a range of providers. This means that they’re able to compare your policy options and advise you on the single best one depending on your needs. It can be a great way to make sure you’re getting the best deal, and it may be a quicker process than if you were to contact providers and compare the options yourselves. 

Your options for purchasing private medical insurance

In summary, your main routes to purchasing a health insurance policy are either directly through a provider or with an external broker. There are reasons why you may wish to use either, but we advocate that you utilise a broker as they’ll be able to compare and negotiate policies directly with a provider on your behalf. Learn more about this process in our how to get health insurance blog.

What health insurance providers do Equity Health partner with?

As an independent health insurance broker, we work whole of market and we’re able to compare your policy options between many health insurance providers. This helps us to find the most competitive quote for you while taking into consideration your needs and personal circumstances. 

We work with many of the leading UK health insurance providers which means we can compare and negotiate policies for you. Get in touch to discuss your health insurance needs and we’ll contact these providers on your behalf.

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