Growing old is a part of life, and as you age, you are more likely to experience health issues. However, private health insurance can be more expensive and harder to find if you are over 50. In this guide FamilyMoney explore everything about health insurance for those over age 50, including how to shop for private health insurance policies in the marketplace.
What Is Over 50 Health Insurance?
Over 50s health insurance is a type of life coverage for anyone over 50 years and early retirees and runs for the rest of your life. It serves as peace of mind for you and your loved ones if you get terminally ill or pass away during the length of your health insurance cover.
You pay a monthly premium, and the medical insurance company pays out a cash lump sum (the payout/ sum assured) to your loved ones when you die. The money is often used to cover your hospital bills and funeral costs, but your loved ones can spend it however they wish.
Who Needs Over 50 Health Insurance Cover?
Over 50 health insurance plans are perfect to cover the costs associated with dying. It can take off financial constraints if you die unexpectedly, leaving your loved ones to grieve without financial worries. If you don’t have employer-sponsored health insurance, you should also consider using a Health Savings Account (HSA) if you don’t make too much money.
You need over 50 insurance if:
- You have dependents relying on you financially – either your partner or children
- Have a mortgage that needs to be covered financially if you die
- You need coverage for your funeral expenses
However, you may not need over 50 health insurance if:
- You are single and have no dependents
- Your spouse earns enough money to cater for your family even if you passed away unexpectedly
- You are on a low income and could benefit from state provisions like Medicare
Factors That Affect How Over 50 Health Insurance Work
Although older applicants are expected to pay higher premiums because of the many medical services they require, including pre-existing conditions, several factors affect how over 50 health insurance plans works:
Guaranteed Acceptance Without Medical
Most health insurance types assign you a lifestyle or health questionnaire or put you through a medical examination to be accepted.
With over 50 health insurance, you don’t need any medical examination or lifestyle questionnaire filling. You are guaranteed to be taken.
Fixed Monthly Premium
Most over 50s health insurance dues require you to pay a monthly premium. This means you pay monthly payments that are constant and can neither go up nor go down. For instance, if you apply for a plan with a £50 monthly cost, the monthly payment will be the same until you pass away.
It is advisable to consider a fixed premium you are comfortable with since you will be paying for it for a long time. Some providers may offer to increase your premium through indexation. This means that your monthly premium and final payout will increase annually.
Fixed Cash Lump Sum
Over 50 health insurance is also known as whole life insurance as it covers you for the rest of your life. When you die, your health insurance provider will pay a fixed cash lump sum (the payout or sum assured) to your beneficiaries no matter how long you live.
You choose what payout you want when applying for over 50 health insurance, and since the payout never changes, you will know how much it will be when you pass away. The payout will help in funeral planning and give your loved one’s peace of mind.
When setting the fixed cash lump sum amount, think about how much you want to leave behind and how much it will cost you every month. The larger the payout amount, the more the monthly fixed premium.
What Is Covered by Over 50s Health Insurance?
Over 50s health insurance covers preventive care and treatment of acute conditions. These are short-term, curable illnesses such as broken bones, strokes, and heart attacks. Unfortunately, it doesn’t provide medical care for chronic diseases like diabetes and high blood pressure that require management and sometimes emergency care. Although you can decide what you want to be included in your over 50s health insurance, standard options include:
Inpatient treatment covers any treatment that requires a hospital bed or overnight hospital stay, assuming it’s for an acute ailment.
This option covers both overnight and non-overnight hospital appointments that require a bed. For instance, a minor surgery where doctors need to monitor you for a few hours after your surgery.
Outpatient cover treatment includes all the above, including the cost for certain pre-existing conditions where a hospital bed isn’t needed. It’s mainly used for diagnostic tests and consultations.
The cancer cover includes all costs involved when treating cancer. This health insurance policy contains advanced cancer drugs and cancer treatment not available on the National Health Service (NHS).
You can also add several optional additions to your insurance plan, depending on the provider you pick. Some of these additions come as standard, or with discounted prices, or can be entirely omitted. They include:
- Dental care
- Support for mental health
Benefits of Taking Over 50 Health Insurance
There are several significant benefits of taking over 50 health insurance policy:
If you have an unfavourable medical history, pre-existing medical condition or aren’t in good health you may need to shop for guaranteed acceptance. Unlike other insurance policies, you don’t have to undergo any medical examination or answer any medical questionnaires to get accepted. Most insurance companies will accept you, regardless of your financial status or medical history.
Reduced Waiting Time
The NHS gives you an 18-week commitment for diagnosis, which is a lot of time to wait. With over 50 health insurance, you don’t have to wait that long. You will get appointments and treatments faster compared to the NHS. This is especially useful when you need surgical procedures.
Access to Top Consultants and Specialists
With over 50 health insurance plans, you get access to top doctors and specialists who aren’t available on the NHS. This means better care and speedy recovery time. What’s more, you can get private medical treatment at any time of your convenience.
Choice of Consultant
Unlike the NHS treatment, over 50 health cover allows you to choose your preferred consultant. This gives you access to the best in the game with assured quality and private healthcare.
Over 50 health insurance plans get you a private room and private medical care instead of crowding in a mixed-gender ward. You enjoy more comfort and better facilities than public hospitals. You get more visiting hours, more time with friends and family without worrying about restrictions or causing disturbance to other patients.
The NHS doesn’t cover some treatments like specialised surgery for sports-related injuries. With over 50 health insurance premium options, you have access to specific and special treatment like physiotherapy with no waiting time.
Some providers can waive your monthly fixed premiums once you live past a certain age. And while you may not be making the monthly payments, you will still be covered.
How Much Does Over 50 Insurance Cost?
While most people believe over 50 private health insurance policies are expensive because of the associated health care costs, they are different for every person. Several factors come into play when health insurance providers calculate the cost of over 50 health insurance dues. They include:
This is the main factor that affects the cost of your health insurance. When you are over 50, and as you get older, you have a higher risk of developing health conditions. The more conditions you choose, the higher the health insurance plan.
Provider You Choose
Different insurance providers offer other covers and benefits. Therefore, the medical insurance company you choose will significantly affect the cost of your insurance premium. Some providers will be more expensive than others, with different features and qualifying periods.
Chosen Coverage Amount
The amount you choose to leave behind as the lump sum payout will significantly affect your health insurance cost. If you decide to purchase health insurance coverage, set an amount you are comfortable paying. The bigger the payout, the higher your monthly fixed health insurance premiums and vice versa.
Before applying for over 50 health insurance, you will be examined for tobacco use. If you are a smoker or have used tobacco products in the last 12 months, your premium cost will be higher since you are more likely to get ill.
Some health insurance products provide optional add-ons that are either standard or promotional. Depending on the different optional add-ons you choose to include in your coverage, you will pay higher premiums than regular over 50 health insurance.
What Is the Best Health Insurance for Over 50s?
As you get older, medical issues can become severe without prompt care. It’s therefore essential to find the right private health insurance plan for your particular circumstances. Although the best policy depends on the type of coverage you want and how much you can afford, comprehensive health insurance is highly beneficial.
Additionally, since most over 50 insurance premiums have similar products, it’s beneficial to look at and compare some key differences to help you determine the best plan:
How trustworthy is the company – while several companies are offering over 50 health insurance plans, very few are trusted and are reliable. Choose a brand with good reviews from existing customers on websites like TrustPilot and have a proven good service record.
The cash payout – different providers give different cash payouts depending on your age and premium. Look for a brand with the most affordable premiums.
The wait time – when you apply for over 50 health insurance, you have to wait at least one year before your insurance premium can pay the total sum. Other premiums may require you to wait for two or three years before they can process the total payout.
Indexation – most insurers will give you the option of reducing your monthly fixed premiums, while others might stop collecting your monthly premiums once you hit a certain age. Each provider has its indexation terms, so ensure you look at the terms and conditions keenly before buying the insurance premium.
- Legal & General.
- One Family
The best health insurance providers for a UK resident over 50 are:
How to Reduce the Cost of Over 50’s Health Insurance
Private health insurance premiums can be expensive, especially when you have trouble navigating health insurance options. Luckily, there are several ways you can use to reduce the costs:
Limit or Remove Outpatient Coverage
The outpatient coverage is an optional policy add-on that you can exclude from your over 50 health insurance premium. You can rely on NHS for all your outpatient treatments and procedures. Alternatively, you can limit your outpatient coverage by choosing the mid-range plan. This caps the outpatient’s monetary amount you are entitled to per policy year, usually at £1,000.
Add an Excess to Your Policy
Excess refers to the amount you contribute towards medical treatment yourself when you make a claim. Depending on your medical insurance company and the type of care you receive, excesses range between £100 and £5,000. The higher the excess, the lower your premiums will be. You can also make health care claims from your provider for any out of pocket medical expenses incurred.
Include the 6 Week NHS Wait Period
Before you get inpatient care, your insurer will first assess the NHS waiting list for the treatment you need. If the waiting list for the given procedure is longer than six weeks or isn’t available, your policy premium will pay for private care. Private medical treatment usually grants you a private room, in private hospitals, but is not always available. However, if the waiting period is shorter than six weeks, you will have the treatment under the NHS.
Use Nominated Hospitals
Electing private treatment can be expensive. However, having treatments in nominated hospitals will significantly reduce your over 50 health insurance plans. Additionally, you can choose nearby facilities since private treatment costs vary in the UK, with facilities in Central London being the most expensive. Exclude pricier private hospitals to reduce health costs and save money on your premiums. Having a second opinion will help you settle on a manageable policy.