UK Public Health vs Private Health
Why do American expats need private health insurance in the UK?

British citizens and residents in the UK enjoy the benefits of a very affordable and reliable public healthcare system, offered through the NHS; but there are still reasons why some people – both expats and nationals – opt for choosing private healthcare options.

Medical treatment is covered by the National Health Service system, which is paid for via taxes throughout most of the UK, so it is a common question as to whether private health insurance is a sensible choice for expats.

Public healthcare in the UK has proved to be reliable and convenient for citizens and expatriate employees, and the quality of treatment is not usually a reason for preferring private healthcare in the country. However, a private health policy usually grants you immediate access to health services and specialists, as opposed to potential long waiting times with the public system.

Furthermore, private health insurance represents a convenient alternative if you are looking to have comprehensive health cover, as public healthcare usually comes with a few exclusions.

UK patients are required to register in the specific area where they live in order to gain access to the public healthcare services. Due to the current great demand, some expats find that there is limited availability of specialists accepting NHS patients in the area where they live, which often becomes another reason for purchasing a private policy. Private health insurance in the UK often provides customers with a greater level of choice regarding when and where they will be treated.

Although hospital treatment may be free for some expatriates, purchasing a private medical insurance plan may be necessary for some others. Private health insurance may be beneficial to you depending on your particular situation, and how long you will be staying in the country.

As an American living in the UK, you may find that a private health policy works best for you because of particular benefits, such as international coverage, easier access to specialists, access to treatment in private hospitals and specialty clinics; or some extras that may come with a policy, like dental and vision care.

International health insurance companies like Cigna Global offer a wide range of levels of expat medical insurance cover. Individual private medical insurance (IPMI) policies can often be advantageous to expats, as many of the benefits within these policies have been tailored specifically to suit their needs.

Visit for more information on Individual Private Medical Insurance


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