While the entire public health sector is accessible free of charge to nationals and eligible residents of the country, the lack of private-practice physicians and the saturation of public hospitals often lead patients to seek treatment in private facilities. In order to cope with the extremely high fees of this sector, which are entirely at the expense of the patient, supplementary health insurance becomes essential.
Get a quote according to the length of your stay:
Health insurance for expats in the UK
How does the healthcare system work in the UK?
The UK health system, run by the NHS (National Health Service), guarantees all eligible residents completely free access to key healthcare services:
- Consultations with an NHS approved general practitioner, which each insured person must choose
- Consultations with specialist doctors referred to by the GP
- Hospitalisation in public healthcare centres
- Tests, examinations, etc.
Other care services are partially covered, where a portion is paid by the beneficiary (except in cases of exemption), specifically:
- Dental care (the beneficiary’s portion being, for example, around £23 (US$30) for a consultation and £23 to £65 (US$30 to US$86) for descaling)
- Vision care (the maximum reimbursement is £39 to £215 (US$51 to US$288), depending on the type of lenses and prescription)
- Medicines, for which the beneficiary pays a fee of about £9 (US$11) per prescription
> Good to know: All care provided in the private health sector is excluded from NHS coverage.
However, this social security service is only available to foreign residents on condition that they pay a specific contribution, called the Immigration Health Surcharge, of £624 (US$836) per year per adult and £470 (US$628) per child under 18. This rule is applicable to all expats, including EU nationals who choose to move to the UK as of 31/12/2020.
How to choose health insurance in the UK: local or international?
Both Britons and expats generally take out supplementary health insurance to cover out-of-pocket expenses and private-sector care.
A number of employers offer this extended insurance to their employees but beware of local insurers' contracts, as they may sometimes limit their coverage to only certain networks of health facilities.
Clearly, opting to take out supplementary international health insurance gives you access to a set of extended guarantees and services that are specifically adapted to the needs of expats.
What is the cost of healthcare in the UK?
For a consultation with a GP, expect to pay around £150 (€175 / $200)
APRIL International up to 175 €*
Out-of-pocket expenses 0€**
A dental scaling at the dentist costs on average £120 (€140 / $160)
APRIL International up to 140 €*
Out-of-pocket expenses 0€**
HOSPITALISATION - MATERNITY
C-section delivery (with 5-day hospitalisation) will cost you around £14,000 (€16,400 / $18,700)
APRIL International up to 6000 €*
Out-of-pocket expenses 10400€**
Reasonable costs of care in the private sector, APRIL International data 12/2019.
* Example of reimbursement with MyHealth International - Comfort
** Example of the amount to be paid by the insured after reimbursement
Care in the UK
Choosing hospitals in the UK
Finding an NHS registered doctor who takes new patients is not easy in the UK (if you have difficulties, the NHS itself will decide which doctor you will be assigned), and getting a quick appointment with your care provider is often very challenging; both these circumstances often lead many insured persons to see doctors in private hospitals.
Another option is walk-in centres or urgent treatment centres (UTCs). These are multidisciplinary health structures staffed by doctors and nurses; they are often open for longer hours and are able to treat all primary ailments based on symptoms. Their consultations are completely free for NHS insured.
In terms of emergency hospitalisation or scheduled care, public hospitals are also generally saturated and have long waiting times. These shortcomings can be avoided by resorting to the country's private hospitals.
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Emergency numbers in UK
A broad network of partners
APRIL International has an extensive network of hospitals, clinics, and healthcare providers where you can benefit from direct billing services and high quality care in Europe and across the world.
To find your nearest health professional or partner establishment in just a few clicks, go to your Easy Claim application.
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