Types of health insurance for UK expats
So you’ve just landed a high-paying job in the United Kingdom. You’ve arranged a working visa, booked a nice flat in London and paid for your flight ticket. During your flight, the passenger sitting next to you wouldn’t stop sneezing and by the time you’ve arrived at your flat, you feel your head throbbing and discover that you’ve got a very high fever. This is when having health insurance for UK expats becomes extremely useful, allowing you to get quality medical treatment in Britain without having to make full out-of-pocket payments.
In this article by Pacific Prime UK, we will go through the most common types of health insurance for UK expats.
1. National Insurance and Private health insurance
Since 1948, the UK has been providing free public healthcare to all its residence through the National Health Service (NHS). Residents pay National Insurance and tax contributions to qualify for free healthcare and public benefits.
On the other hand, private healthcare options are also available in the UK and they are the preferred choice for high-earning expats living in the UK, thanks to their much shorter queues, more updated medical equipment and better service. This is especially the case when the ‘winter pressure’ makes queues excruciatingly long in public hospitals. However, these private hospitals come with heavy medical bills. This has led many UK expats to purchase private health insurance so that they can rest assured that their medical risks are being covered for.
Next, we will look at the different types of private health insurance for UK expats, so that you get a better grasp of which private health insurance option is most suitable for you.
2. Local and International health insurance
The UK has long been an attractive destination for expats. London’s position as one of the world’s biggest financial hubs puts the UK in the spotlight for expats looking to further their careers abroad. Meanwhile, Britain’s beach-side cities like Sussex, Devon, and Brighton are ideal locations for expats looking for a nice cosy place for retirement. For many expats, however, regular flights back and forth from home to the UK may be necessary.
Local health insurance
Local health insurance only provides health insurance coverage while you are in the UK. The key advantage of local health insurance is that their premiums are not as expensive as their international counterparts. While it’s lower price-tag may be attractive for many expats, it may not be the most suitable insurance solution for you.
Imagine if you need to travel to Singapore for an important client meeting. You get sick in Singapore, finding yourself in a hospital you’re not familiar with while having to pay ridiculously expensive medical bills. This scenario demonstrates the short-comings of local health insurance, and why it is less suitable for expats.
International health insurance
International health insurance allows you to get coverage for medical treatment both in the UK and abroad, such as when you go home during your vacation break. Furthermore, international private health insurance plans usually allow members to choose any hospital, clinic or doctor they want. This means that you won’t have to worry about having your health insurance claims rejected because you went to the wrong hospital.
3. Individual, family and group health insurance
Now that we’ve figured out the different areas of coverage that a health insurance plan can cover, let’s take a look at the number of people they can cover for.
Individual health insurance plans
Individual health insurance for expats in the UK can vary greatly in the treatments they cover for. These benefits include:
- Inpatient benefits
- Outpatient benefits
- International coverage
- Dental insurance
- And much more
Family health insurance plans
If you are planning to relocate to the UK with your family, then getting a private family health insurance plan is an ideal way of making sure your children and spouse gain access to private healthcare when they need it. Like individual health insurance, benefits included in family plans can differ significantly depending on the insurer. These benefits can include:
- Hospitalisation care
- Outpatient benefits
- Prescription medication
- Dental care
- Vision treatment
- Preventative care (such as health check-ups or annual flu shots)
- International coverage
- And more
Group health insurance plans
Group and corporate health insurance are provided by your employer. If you are an expat who is moving to the UK for work, it is important to check whether your employer provides health insurance coverage for you. Business health insurance in the UK can cover for a wide range of issues including pre-existing conditions, wellness programs, and more.
4. Maternity, newborn and retiree health insurance
If you are planning to start a family in the UK, then getting maternity insurance and newborn insurance can be helpful in reducing the costs of delivering a child and caring for your newborn.
However, before getting a maternity insurance plan, it is important to know that they come with a waiting period. This means that you need to purchase the maternity insurance plan at least 10 months to a year before you can claim any benefits on it. For this reason, it is important that you plan ahead and get maternity health insurance in advance to ensure that the costs associated with delivering your child are being covered by the plan.
Maternity insurance only covers a baby for up to 30 days after his or her birth, or up to the point that he or she is discharged from the hospital. For this reason, purchasing newborn insurance can help reduce costs if your newborn needs medical attention after arriving back home.
Finally, getting health insurance will become all the more important as you grow older. Many retirees may require specialised treatment that isn’t readily available in UK public hospitals. For this reason, retiree health insurance should be seriously considered by all expats planning to retire in the UK. When getting health insurance for the elderly, there are age limits and exclusions for pre-existing conditions and chronic conditions, depending on the insurer. Make sure you check these conditions carefully when getting retiree health insurance in the UK.
Getting health insurance with Pacific Prime
When it comes to the details involved in finding the best private health insurance in the UK, this article has only touched the tip of the iceberg. With so many details involved and options available, many expats in the UK have chosen to consult health insurance brokers like Pacific Prime UK.
As health insurance brokers, Pacific Prime UK partners with top international insurers to help our clients find the most suitable health insurance solution for them at no additional cost. For more information, feel free to contact our team of experts or visit our website for a no-obligation, free quote today!
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