Healthcare in London

International healthcare, medical insurance in London

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Though there is public health care in the UK, many people rely on auxiliary private medical treatment. It is not usually a question of quality, but the issue of long wait times for procedures. A heart bypass operation may be diagnosed for and completed in a couple of weeks with private treatment, but through the NHS this could take two or three months.

Many people go private for non-emergency specialist appointments and non-urgent treatment. Around a quarter of all operations are performed privately. London is not as affected by terrible wait times as the rest of the country, but many people still choose private insurance.

Private Healthcare

UK Health Insurance is bought by three groups of people: an individual, group health insurance for companies and family health insurance for families. If you are interested in private insurance, you should take out an insurance policy with a specialist health insurer. Many employers also provide private health insurance as a benefit.

The NHS will pay for treatment in a private setting if the hospital meets the cost and service criteria that NHS hospitals adhere to. Otherwise opting for a private hospital makes the patient liable for private hospital fees. Because the private sector often has higher costs, most people choose to be treated for free in an NHS hospital.

A large private insurance will provide a full range of services. You will find cover for sickness, doctors, specialists, pregnancy, children, care home, dentist, hospital, fitness… But always remember that to be refund of money, doctors or cure must be approved by your insurance. You should call them before you pay all fees (hospital and specialist are consultants subject of agreements) but usually your GP will remember to prescribe you a treatment/specialist accepted by your insurance.

Which Private Insurance

  • Multiple cover:
    Provides a cover for hospital fees, specialists, drugs, dental fees, opticians and pregnancy. They are the most expensive and not very common.
  • Hospital and Specialists:
    It covers the bigger risks, where hospital care and/or specialist is required. The name specialist doesn't mean neither optician nor dental surgery. Any fee must be approved beforehand by the GP and the medical insurance to be covered by the private company.


Some plans can cost as low as £8 a month, but this offers only the basest coverage. In general, the more you spend, the better your coverage and most plans are between £30-£100 for a single person.

Premiums are charged for private health insurance plans are based on several factors.

    These include:
  • Your postcode
  • Age
  • Health Status
  • Lifestyle Habits (i.e. smokers, overweight, and people with pre-existing conditions typically pay more for private health insurance)

Many different companies offer different plans. Investigate the terms and compare private insurance companies before signing up and request a quote.

Update 10/05/2012


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Expatriate health insurance

Expatriate health insurance in the United Kingdom

With so much to deal with before leaving your home country, (taxes, moving house, paperwork etc.) the careful planning of your expatriation to London is an essential step. As far as healthcare is concerned, your local social security scheme won’t be accompanying you to your host country and, once abroad, you might be surprised by the care system you find in United Kingdom. So, before leaving, make sure you have appropriate cover! works in partnership with APRIL International to provide specific insurance solutions for travelling or staying outside your country of nationality.

Insurance solutions to suit your profile and with the flexibility to meet your insurance needs

Designed for either short or long stays, APRIL International’s insurance policies offer protection against any problems that might arise before departure or during your time in United Kingdom: cancelling your trip, medical expenses following an illness or accident, needing to be repatriated, causing damage to a third party or losing your luggage.

For more information on expat health insurance in the United Kingdom, visit our partner APRIL International




In terms of cost, the more that you want the insurance company to cover, the higher your premium will be. If you opt to pay a deductible, you might have lower overall costs as well. What’s interesting is that most <a href="">international health insurance</a> premiums are actually cheaper than private medical insurance.



Medical insurance that covers you no matter where you live.
Whatever the reason, if you need to leave your home country, Reside Worldwide Medical Plan will follow you. Whether you are a US citizen living abroad or a citizen of another country, Reside provides you with security at home and the freedom to seek care anywhere in the world.

 Sue Hawkins


International health insurance is an essential!
We've lived overseas now for 2 years and I would heartily agree that having a health insurance package for all eventualities is essential.
We have used Goodhealth Worldwide ( who have a international network and specialise in expatriate policies. We find their choice of insurance packages and rates very competitive and wouldn't hesitate to recommend them to others in our position.

 Simon Eaton


Living overseas is fun but make sure you are covered!
For the past two years I have been living a life of luxury in the Caribbean and I plan to live many more year like this!
Can I suggest though you look in Health Insurance for expats (, as well as make sure you save some money for a rainy day.

 Mike Garity


Affordable Health Insurance for People Living Abroad
Living abroad is an exciting adventure but also poses many unpredictable situations. One of the most serious is the risk of injury or illness in a foreign country. While traditional medical plans offer fine domestic coverage, few are designed for international use or visitors. Even those that offer limited benefits do not normally cover medically supervised emergency evacuations, emergency reunions or repatriation. Different languages, currency conversion, inexperienced international claims administration, and time differences can cause additional complications. Imagine trying to get in touch with most insurance companies at 3:00 a.m. on a weekend - from a foreign country - during a medical emergency!

There are a number of companies around the globe that provide coverage for international travelers and expatriates. Be sure to find a provider that has the experience and know-how to handle any situation you may encounter if/when the unexpected happens abroad.

One provider of international coverage you may want to consider is Health Insurance for Expatriates

They provide coverage for people traveling abroad for short trips, extended stays and permanent assignments. Their website contains information on plan coverage; allows you to get instant quotes; and enables you to purchase coverage online. They also can be reached by phone at 877-982-5200 in the U.S. or 781-982-5200 if outside the U.S.

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Find more definitions and general answers on expatriation issues in the Expat FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions).