6 best ways to cut the cost of health insurance (and one reminder)
Health insurance can be expensive so it’s worth taking advantage of any ways that you can reduce the size of your premiums. Money-Mate makes health insurance cheaper or even free as it gives you back credit on every product you buy, allowing you to save enough to pay for a whole year’s premium over 12 months. If you don’t use Money-Mate for your health insurance, we have some other tips that may be relevant.
- Increase your excess
If you raise the first part of a claim that you pay this will often lower the annual premium. Generally, the higher the excess, the cheaper the policy becomes, although be careful to avoid raising the excess so high that your financial outlay ends up being excessive.
- Take out the extras
Carefully review what your current private medical insurance package actually covers and whether you can omit some features. A more basic policy will often cut down the cost and there’s no point paying for extras you won’t need.
Private medical insurance (PMI) plans are typically packaged as budget, standard or comprehensive. As you might expect, budget is the cheapest and most basic of the three. It generally covers in-patient treatment, but not tests, consultant fees or outpatient treatment. Standard plans also cover consultations and outpatient care, as well as tests, physiotherapy, and other treatments. Comprehensive cover is the ‘all-in package,’ with a complete range of benefits.
There are also plans available that just provide cover for specific illnesses, such as cancer or heart disease. These tend to only cover the cost of tests and treatment related to these conditions. This type of plan may be a good supplement to regular NHS treatment and could be much cheaper than a fully comprehensive policy.
- Waiting for treatment
Many insurers reward people with lower premiums if they’re prepared to wait. So, if you are waiting for NHS treatment beyond an agreed period of time your policy will allow you to go private. Typically this is six weeks. If your main concern is getting seen quickly and you aren’t that concerned about being seen in a private hospital or having a private room, this type of policy might suit you.
- Buy online
Logging on can often be much cheaper than going through a broker or face-to-face outlet. Some providers even offer discounts for Internet purchases.
- One annual payment
If you can afford to pay your premium as one annual payment you can often secure a discount from insurers – often 5-10%.
- Living healthily
Some insurers will also offer quite substantial discounts if you can prove that you live a health lifestyle, such as exercising regularly and eating healthily. Savings vary, but can be as much as 15%. It’s a good reason to join a gym and some insurers will even give you discounts for gym membership as part of a policy – win-win!
Health insurance is different to other forms of insurance. It is true that if you have stayed with the same company for several years the pricing of your package may no longer competitive. Therefore, switching could save you money, and where health insurance is concerned the savings can be substantial.
But when considering whether to switch it is important to bear in mind that a new insurer often won’t cover pre-existing conditions. So, if you have claimed for an illness this will probably be excluded from a new plan. The whole point of having health insurance is to protect you, so it may be better for you to stay with your existing provider even if the policy is more expensive, if by switching you leave yourself exposed.