How many people have health insurance in the UK?

How many people have health insurance in the UK?

There are roughly 8 million people in the UK with active private health insurance policies, which is around 13% of the British population.*

Around 53% of people say that they would like to invest in some form of health insurance scheme for their employees or themselves and their families.*

Health insurance can be purchased as a business for your employees (as offered by Equipsme) which tends to be the most affordable way, or an individual policy.

 Why do people get health insurance?

  • Faster access to treatment
  • Clinic or consultant choice
  • Good for large medical bills
  • Private rooms
  • Other perks and benefits

With the UK running its own National Health Service (NHS), there is an argument that you could receive medical treatment for free - so why bother with private medical cover?

The main advantage of private cover is that you can get quicker access to medical treatment if you need it. Whether it is a physio session or diagnostic treatment, insurers can typically book you in with a private clinic or consultant within the week or at a convenient time to you. By comparison, when applying for treatment with the NHS, you may be put on a waiting list and have to wait several weeks or months before you can get seen. You can also have access to a private room when being treated, rather than sharing a ward with other people.

When is it better to have private health cover?

Private health insurance is useful if you ever have to undergo some serious procedures or diagnostic treatment.

According to a 2018 report by BoughtByMany, since the average cost of health insurance is £1,435 per year, this can be a good investment if you have to undergo surgery such as a hip replacement or knee replacement (iro £12,000), gall bladder removal (iro £6,000) or cataract surgery (iro £2,000).

However, you must check your policy regarding pre-existing medical conditions, since any historical treatments, conditions or symptoms may be excluded from your policy. See health insurance exclusions for more information.

How much does health insurance cost?

According to a 2018 report by BoughtByMany, health insurance can cost an average of £1,435 per year, but this can vary based on your age and health.

Can health insurance be covered by your employer?

Yes, health insurance can be covered by your employer as a benefit in kind, meaning that it is paid for 100% by the organisation as part of your employment. As an employee, you will have to pay income tax on this benefit but that will still only be a fraction of what you would have to pay if buying an individual policy yourself.

Equipsme offers business health insurance plans from just £9 per person, per month, which comes with a number of benefits including 24/7 GP Access, nurse helpline and physio help by phone as well as up to 5 sessions per year if medically necessary. You also have options to upgrade to include diagnostics, treatment, stress support and optical & dental treatment too on certain plans. See our full plans here.

Can I get health insurance with pre-existing medical conditions?

Yes you can get health insurance, however pre-existing health conditions and ailments are often excluded from your policy because health insurance is designed to treat new conditions that occur after your cover has started. Afterall, insurance is about unforeseen or unexpected risks rather than the insurer paying out immediately for something that happened before cover was in place.


13% of people have private health insurance in the UK -
53% of people would like to invest in health insurance schemes -
Cost of treatments -
Cost of private health insurance -