Do I Need Health Insurance in the UK?
July 2019   HEALTHCARE

Do I Need Health Insurance in the UK?

Can the NHS cater for everyone? Find out why many expatriates in the United Kingdom opt for an International Health Insurance Policy.
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As a recent arrival in Britain, or as someone planning to make a long-term move, you may already be familiar with the UK Immigration Health Surcharge. This is a fee payable by non-EEA nationals during the visa process to reflect the cost of making use of Britain’s National Health Service (NHS).

So having paid the fee, does this mean you have all the “cover” you need? Like all local healthcare systems, the NHS has its limitations - especially when it comes to meeting the needs of expats.

For peace of mind, cross-border coverage and for the care you need precisely when you need it, many foreign nationals opt for international private medical insurance (IPMI). Here’s a closer look at the reasons why…

  • Why do I need health insurance in the UK?

health insurance UK

As you speak to the locals, it’s not unusual to get widely differing accounts of just how effective NHS coverage is in terms of delivering the care you need - when you need it.

Local general practitioners are the gatekeepers to most types of treatment, but even getting a GP appointment can be a challenge. There’s also the so-called ‘postcode lottery’; wide local and regional variations on things like wait times and outpatient care.

Making sense of all this can be tough; doubly so for a new arrival, and IPMI can be invaluable in filling in the gaps, opening up a wider choice of treatment options and enabling you to bypass wait times and local deficiencies.  

  •  The support network you deserve

private health insurance UK

For workers, students and retirees alike, as well as being a big commitment, a move to the UK can also mean no longer having a support network on your doorstep. In the event of a medical event or health scare, it’s more important than ever to be able to access the right care and rehabilitation.

An unforeseen medical problem shouldn’t have to mean an end to your UK plans. A combination of treatment and rehabilitation delivered in a timely manner can make all the difference. What’s more, opt for Cigna’s International Medical Evacuation plan and it includes cover from compassionate visits - so a loved one from your home country can make the trip over to help get you back on your feet.

  • Ideal for global workers

The UK may be your main base, but your new job may also involve frequent visits to Europe and beyond. Relying on standard ‘travel insurance’ for international assignments can be problematic; it tends to be designed for emergency situations only and can often fail to give you the cover you need where pre-existing conditions are present.

International Health Insurance policies are designed for those living and working abroad, providing you with consistent levels of cover – not just for emergency treatment - in multiple countries.

  • Filling in the gaps in company health insurance

Your employer offers health coverage - but just how useful is it? It might, for instance, be confined to emergency treatment only. It may not include family members - or it may specifically exclude pre-existing conditions. IPMI can perform a vital role in filling in the gaps in existing plans.

Cigna Global has a range of plans ideally suited to expats, with cover provided for inpatient, day patient and accommodation costs. 

You can also rely on Cigna Global’s many years of experience in looking after the health and well-being of customers.

  • Choose a plan to meet your specific needs

One-size-fits-all coverage can leave you under or over-insured. A great IPMI policy will give you scope to accommodate your particular priorities, from medical evacuation and repatriation and evacuation through to maternity and dental care.


Find out more detailed information about our international private medical insurance services.

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