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How To Change Your Private Health Insurance

Changing private healthcare insurance providers involves comparing healthcare policies from various insurance companies and opting out of your current plan, either mid-term or at renewal.

If you are facing rising health insurance premiums under a policy that doesn’t meet your medical needs, it may be time to switch private medical insurance (PMI) providers.

Many people toy with the idea of trading their existing health insurance policy for a new one, but struggle to follow through. Sound familiar?

With almost two decades of combined industry experience, the team at MyHealthPal have helped hundreds of UK individuals switch health insurance providers confidently. We offer a free, detailed assessment of your medical insurance needs from a range of leading UK health insurance companies, to find the best private medical insurance policy for you.

Whether you’re looking for a new health insurance provider for a family of four or just yourself, we’ve got you covered!

In this article, we’ll help you navigate changing health insurance providers to save money and get the health insurance cover you deserve, giving you peace of mind that you never thought possible.

Switching Health Insurance Providers Made Easy

Switching providers for health insurance is fairly straightforward, as long as you aren’t in the middle of receiving treatment following a major accident or for a serious illness like cancer.

Follow these hassle-free steps to switch health insurance companies:

1. Scour the private healthcare market

Explore your options when comparing insurance policies against your current provider. Find out what each health provider offers and where you can take advantage of new health cover options, features and plans.

Before you decide on a new provider, consider:

Your budget.

Your medical history (illnesses, injuries,claims etc.).

Your medical needs (e.g. are you currently receiving any treatments?).

Will your current treatment be excluded with a new provider?.

What is the customer service like? Do you wait forever when making a claim?

What perks does your current health insurance company offer that others may not include? These can be gym memberships or other discounts and bonuses.

Use online comparison tools or insurance brokers like MyHealthPal to scan the current healthcare market so you can make a more informed decision.

Note: Do NOT cancel your current health insurance plan without having a new provider lined up, there is some grace period if you have done this already though!

2. Get quotes

Once you’ve narrowed your search, get formal quotes from your chosen healthcare provider(s) to compare health insurance policies quickly.

Don’t rush this process. Take your time going through the finer details to ensure it covers everything you need, from the claims process to their hospital list and any exclusions.

3. Make the switch

When you’ve settled on a new health insurance scheme, it’s time to let your current provider know. Contact your insurance broker (or the insurance company directly) and inform them of your intentions to switch. Usually, you must give at least one calendar month’s notice and settle any outstanding balances.

Once this is complete, you can sign up with your new private medical insurance provider.

It’s worth mentioning that most insurers will allow you to “switch medical underwriting” (also called: CPME, or continued personal medical exclusions).

What this means is:

PMI providers will look to offer you 'no worse terms' providing you meet their individual switch declarations.

There won't be any additional exclusions on your insurance documents if the switch product is accepted.

If you have existing personal medical exclusions, these would transfer across onto the new policy. Your broker may be able to speak to the Insurer to review these terms, or there may be a better type of underwriting option such as a moratorium, which keeps historical treatment in review until you go clear of symptoms, treatment or advice for two years (typically).

Switching health insurance providers is trickier if you've made a claim in your current policy year or are in the middle of treatment. This must be discussed with your insurance broker and relevant healthcare insurance provider.

Note: Six-week private treatment policies mean you can use the NHS for inpatient or day-patient treatments within six weeks of referral. This reduces the need to claim on your private medical policy.

When is the best time to switch health insurance policies?

A health insurance policy is calculated annually, however it’s very common place to switch mid-term (at any time), you can cancel your direct debit and set up new cover, however you will need to give your old insurer some notice. There are only very few individual plans which lock you in for the full year; which we will assess as part of the review process.

These easy, actionable tips will allow you to switch health insurance in no time. If you’re keen to know the benefits of changing private medical insurance policies, scroll to the next section.

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What Are The Benefits Of Changing Private Healthcare Providers?

Opting for a new PMI policy offers many benefits, including cheaper health insurance policies, better medical cover options/plans, and improved customer service.

If that doesn’t cut it for you, here’s a breakdown:

Cheaper Insurance Prices

Save money.

Lower excess charges (deductibles).

Remove unessisary features you don't want to pay for.

Better Treatment Cover

Access to a wider range of services, such as wellness programmes, preventative care and specialised treatments and physicians.

Tailored policies that better align with your medical needs and conditions.

Increase cover benefit such as outpatient allowances, diagnostics and cancer treatment.

Improved Network

Access to a wider network of hospitals, medical facilities, healthcare practitioners, and specialists.

Better Customer Service

Get the support you need, whether it's pre-authorisations for hospital stays or general GP claims.

Additional benefits like telehealth services or virtual mental health counselling may also be available.

Updated Policy Features

Take advantage of the latest healthcare features, benefits, and perks that may have been unavailable on your old policy.

Additional perks like free gym memberships, counselling or wellness retreats may be readily available.

Now that we've covered the benefits of private healthcare, take a look at our bonus read, next.

Bonus Read: What Should You Look For In A Private Health Insurance Policy?

While there is no “one size fits all” solution, especially when it comes to individual medical care, there are a few key points to consider:

Cover

Assess your medical needs, and try to predict how much you are likely to use the policy in any annual period. Choose a health insurance policy that covers your specific requirements.

Prioritise the benefits most important to you. This could mean essential hospital coverage, access to specialist doctors, therapy treatment, or mental health services.

Next, consider the network of private hospitals covered by the insurer. Does it include sufficient cover in your area, or do you have to travel long distances to reach these facilities?

Be aware of any exclusions in the policy, such as pre-existing conditions or age limitations.

Cost

Compare monthly premiums from different providers. Remember, the cheapest option may not be the best in terms of adequate coverage.

Pay attention to the excess fees (deductibles). Higher deductibles typically mean lower premiums but you should clarify this with your insurer.

Consider any additional rules applies such as the ‘6 week rule’. This addition means that if the NHS can see you within 6 weeks, you have to use the NHS. Anything serious or potentially life-threatening is likely to carry shorter waiting times on the NHS, so in this situation your health insurance wouldn’t kick into play. If you only want cover for elective treatment like joint replacement, then this option could be ideal for you.

Reputation

Choose an insurance company with a long-standing reputation, offering exceptional customer service with financial stability. A strong track record ensures your medical needs are in safe hands. Look at online reviews (e.g. Trustpilot, Google Reviews) to get a sense of the company’s public perception.

As a quick guide, here are a few top-class private medical healthcare insurance companies in the UK:

WPA
The Exeter
BUPA
AXA Health
AVIVA
Vitality
SAGA

By considering these factors carefully, you can choose a private health insurance policy that meets your individual needs and budget.

Final Thoughts

We’ve addressed the pain points you may be experiencing with your current private medical insurer, from high premiums to poor customer service and coverage networks.

As you can see, the idea of trading in your existing policy for a new one isn’t as daunting and stressful as you might have first imagined. In actual fact, it’s quite the opposite!

Following the steps in this guide has empowered you to make the change - and if you need a little extra help, contact the MyHealthPal team today.

Frequently Asked Questions

Get Answers to Common Queries About Health Insurance Coverage

  • Why would you want to switch health insurance providers?

    There are several reasons why someone would want to switch health insurance companies. These include cost savings, access to a broader network of private healthcare facilities, dissatisfaction with your current company’s service and offerings, or just to find a better deal.

  • Can I choose the private hospitals where I am treated in the UK?

    Generally, there are three choices you can make when it comes to private healthcare treatments:

    1. Essential – allows you to stay in NHS private patient units or local private hospitals.
    2. Countrywide – allows nationwide treatment over and above the essential list.
    3. Extended hospital lists – gives you the widest access to private hospitals and clinics, including private London medical facilities.
  • Is NHS or private medical insurance better?

    If you have a private medical insurance policy, NHS will never be the same. Private healthcare eliminates the need for long waiting periods. While the NHS service is good, having to wait weeks (or months) to see a physician can be frustrating and stressful, especially when your health is on the line!

  • Is private healthcare worth it in the UK?

    Here are our top reasons as to what makes private healthcare insurance a worthwhile investment in the UK:

    • Faster access to medical treatment (forget the queues of the NHS!).
    • Varied choice of medical facilities, GPs, and specialists.
    • Private hospitals may offer additional benefits like private rooms.
    • Peace of mind knowing any unexpected medical event is covered.

“Ready to secure your health and peace of mind? Contact us today to explore your insurance options!”