Can anyone recommend good private health care? - NRAS


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Can anyone recommend good private health care?

cpt13 profile image

I am looking for a private health policy that covers a pre-condition and covers some major hospitals. For example I live in London and I would prefer a policy that takes account of London only.

28 Replies

My BUPA doesn’t cover me for PECs for otitis media and some allergies. Some health insurers may allow you to add in pre existing conditions when you have been symptom free for 5 years. I’m not sure if this would be the case for something like cancer though. The pay outs for PECs may be restricted. My rheumatoid arthritis is covered for operations, physio and consultations pertaining to an op but not for routine clinic consultations, physio and steroid injections and treatment such as my infusion medication. Due to the chronic nature of RA even though it wasn’t a PEC for me, BUPA said they can’t cover routine arthritis clinics. I’m in Yorkshire and I took an option to reduce my annual membership fee by choosing lesser options for hospitals for treatment. It means I can’t go to every BUPA approved hospital, but my policy still has lots to choose from throughout the country. I hope you can find something that suits you in London.

Strangely enough NK..... cancer is often easier to get insurance for because it has been proved to be curable...whereas RA is regarded as you can’t get Rtx infusions on’s only available on the NHS in UKOf course you probably won’t get insurance cover (on a new policy) for a cancer for which you are being treated....but I was still covered for Private check ups etc having had breast cancer whilst I was insured.... that is not always the case with RA.

Also ....I have found if you self pay for Private treatment.....when you consider the monthly subscription to a company like BUPA...whether you need treatment or can work out cheaper. Consultant’s fees are fixed by insurance companies... whereas is if you self-pay they are discretionary.

I recently paid £ 755 for an MRI scan .....on looking back to an old BUPA bill it was £1200 for exactly the same scan....OK I was covered for it...but self pay was cheaper.

I gave up Private Insurance as when you get older & they think you will start falling apart.....the subscription really, really soars.....especially to use the big London teaching hospitals......their scale can double a subscription.....not to mention there are so many different scales/ options it is really difficult to decide at renewal which one to choose ....because they are very cunningly worded ...& it can turn out when a certain new condition arises you are only partially covered.

But it’s not all doom & gloom....after all - one doesn’t need Private treatment for every little twinge.......but it is comforting to know if you put aside a little sum each month you can get quickly get Private treatment you can afford.

You can use activequote . com or similar sites to get quotes, as not sure there is a massive difference between the big providers - BUPA, AXA PPP, Saga etc.

But I hope you have deep pockets, as what you are looking for is the most expensive option!

Why? Nhs is free

LoneEra profile image
LoneEra in reply to cathie

Because NHS wait times can be extremely long - and leaving something untreated can cause both physical and mental damage.

I had an 18 month wait for my first rheumatology appointment - at age 25 and in absolute agony. My parents paid for a private consult and I was seen within 3 days and started treatment.

If someone wants to look after themselves by paying for healthcare, they shouldn’t be made to feel bad for doing so.

medway-lady profile image
medway-lady in reply to cathie

The NHS is not free we pay National Insurance. Or paid depending on how old we are. I paid NI for many years and the Council gave its employees private health care as well. My point is I've had both private and NHS even recently and it is worth the money if you can afford. Look up the Benenden Hospital we did this after retirement its cheap but doesn't replace the NHS but compliments it. It is in Kent and has very good reviews and not so far from London on a train.

I don’t want to depress you cpt13......but I think you might be shooting for the moon. By all means keep looking but if you have been diagnosed with RA it is very unlikely that you will find Private Health Insurance that will include that as a pre existing condition.

I wonder if you have thought of speaking to an Insurance broker who specialises in Health Insurance?

I had Private Health Insurance for 50+ Years...but gave it up when the subscription became prohibitive.....I opened a separate account & put in the monthly subscription sum I had previously been paying.....a lot of people do that .....& it seems to work well.

I had private health for years first work covered by BUPA, then I moved to something like Professional and Medical - I gave up when, the first time I needed to use it I was declined. I had problems with my mouth/sinuses and wanted to go see a consultant privately - they refused on the grounds that ‘we don’t cover teeth’. Without having seen a consultant or even had x-rays how did someone sitting in an office know it was a problem caused by teeth.

We have friends who put the equivalent amount money into an account every month to cover that sort of thing. They evenly the same instead of paying out for pet insurance. I wish we had don’t that - unfortunately we didn’t. I would never recommend private health insurance for that reason but then I suppose it’s not any different from house or car or any other sort of insurance - the amount you pay for that sort of thing when hopefully you never need to use it.

Your insco must have been reading my medical history I was put off sick with sinusitis and when it was investigated it was found to be impacted wisdom teeth!But BUPA paid for me to have all 4 teeth removed under GA!

But that was a long,long time ago!

Ha, ha, they must indeed. You were very lucky - my lot wouldn’t even pay to have anyone look or take an x-Ray, I would have thought an x-Ray then say ‘it’s tooth related, we don’t do teeth’ but I didn’t even get that far. My experience must have been about twenty years ago - it certainly wasn’t recently.

Hi AC. As I said my RA was a PEC but BUPA told me it would cost them a fortune if they paid for routine meds and clinics and diagnostics (and think of the cost of some infusion meds and original Humira for example) so I was never going to meet with their approval on a regular basis re RA. I can have any RA/osteo ops/replacements on BUPA. It’s all negotiation with the individual policy holder.

Yes totally makes sense re a one off op (hopefully) for cancer and unlikely to recur. My cousin said that after her major op. It will be assessed in general as what is likely to reoccur by the insurers in liaison with the consultant’s report and prognosis. It’s not a chronic condition like RA which my cousin also also said to me. I agree.

BUPA did pay for all my follow up cancer check ups until I quit about 5 years ago...but they don’t pay for outpatient drugs..unless you take them home from being an inpatient.....& you can’t get outpatient biologic infusions privately......I had to transfer onto my Rheumatologists NHS list to get Rtx......if I add up what I would have paid in subscriptions in those 5 would have cost me the price of a very nice car.....I just get a free NHS Mammogram now.

They did offer all sorts of inducements..... but I decided if I was that ill I would get treatment on the NHS anyway I have no regrets about giving it up...I had it when I was doing daft things like breaking my leg skiing...& other accidents like the spinal operation-after a car accident.

The answer of course you need a crystal ball to know if you are going to need any treatment! So far I’m doing OK.....but it could come back & bite me!I think I might investigate Benenden when I have moved.

I think you made the right decision and at some point I’m sure I’ll do that too but I’d like my joint replacements first before I leave BUPA.

I agree with the others that the cost can be prohibitive and sometimes it’s best to simply pay as and when you need private treatment.

As an aside, I have a private policy that’s £11.90 a month and enables 24/7 access to a GP via telephone and a 24/7 mental health helpline. After 6 months you also become eligible to see private consultants, if your NHS wait is over 5 weeks.

If that’s of interest, let me know and I’ll drop you the details x

AgedCrone profile image
AgedCrone in reply to LoneEra

I have read about systems like that...they sound a good compromise.Thankfully I don’t have to resort to private care very often as ....I’m not joking ......apart from having RA I keep reasonably healthy!🙀🙀🙀Plus at my age I doubt I’d be accepted on to a scheme like that .

Does the scheme you belong to have an age limit?

LoneEra profile image
LoneEra in reply to AgedCrone

Me too, I’m in pretty good health apart from the obvious 🙃

The provider I use accepts everyone - no age limit and no discrimination according to medical conditions. It’s a Not For Profit organisation and there is no excess to pay - just the £11.90 a month.

It was recommended to me by my physio as she uses it herself. It’s been a revelation!!

AgedCrone profile image
AgedCrone in reply to LoneEra

When I get sorted moving house I might have a look at something like that.I have just seen a consultant privately to sort out the reaction I had to the Covid vaccine, and it was a hell of a lot more than £11.90 month..& from talking to other people they had the same experience...their NHS GP did not want to have anything to do with helping deal with vaccination side effects!

When I said I was GP suggested I might have a viral ear infection!

No its the Benenden and it is great if you live in Kent but I'm not sure where they're other hospitals are. I've used it they also do fixed price and can refer to the bigger KIMS hospital here under the policy. My friend swears by them and has seen a Respiratory Consultant in London referred by Benenden as she has a small leak on her heart and its affecting her lungs. They fixed the problem for her too.

LoneEra profile image
LoneEra in reply to medway-lady

The original hospital is in Kent but they have about 25 around the UK and use a network of about 500 medical centres - like physio practices and so on.

My friend got an endoscopy and various tests and scans done in a matter of weeks when the NHS waiting list was horrendous and privately it would have cost £1,000s. Amazing.

They don’t do everything by any means...but for the price, it’s great value.

medway-lady profile image
medway-lady in reply to LoneEra

I agree just not needed to find out luckily ! I'm in Kent and not far from KIMS and Benenden.

I would be interested in being able to contact a GP....if I ask to speak to one of mine(a) it takes a week & (b) it’s usually one I have never seen so how can they possibly know....if for example I never have a swollen ankle...but today I have.....this happened to my girl friend recently and because she knew her GP.... he immediately sent her to A&E......and within days... she was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma & is doing OK.

It took my GP surgery 5 weeks to authorise an X-ray which showed 2 fractured vertebrae.

I now just pay to see a consultant because one day I will explode & get thrown out of the GP surgery!

Thank goodness I am changing GPS soon.

I've not used the GP bit my my friend does and said very good. I'm thinking its long term and really good value. We also worked out to save for medical 'nice' emergencies ie stuff that won't kill you but makes life not so pleasant. But after my experience this year I think it'll be a really useful thing for a very low cost.

I will investigate if it covers my area...I looked on line...& phoned... but it just says“ We are shut...leave your details”!

LoneEra profile image
LoneEra in reply to AgedCrone

Ah, the membership line is prob closed for bank holiday. Once you join they give you a special phone number 🙂

medway-lady profile image
medway-lady in reply to LoneEra

Benenden as we do.

LoneEra profile image
LoneEra in reply to medway-lady

Yep! And there’s an add on plan for about £7.50 which reimburses you for some costs like the chiropodist and dentist and so on.

Maggsie profile image
Maggsie in reply to LoneEra

I'd certainly be interested in those details please.

My feeling is that it is better to save regularly and use that to pay the occasional private consultation or treatment as necessary. The medications for Rheumatoid Disease are extremely expensive and, although they are rationed on the NHS, at least you can get them. My sister has private insurance (in France) and had to decline treatment with biologics when first offered as she could not afford to pay out and be reimbursed three months later. She would have no money for food! Fortunately, she managed to get accepted on a trial and got treated that way.

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