An excess is a sum of money that you agree to pay if you have to claim on an insurance policy. We see it all the time in car insurance. It’s the same principle for health insurance.
Some people choose a high excess, which should bring premiums down in price. Some people prefer to set a low excess – but may have to pay a little more in premiums.
Can I choose my health insurance excess level?
Yes, usually. When you buy a health insurance policy, you’ll be asked what level of excess you’d like on that cover. It’s normally at least £100, it might go up as high as £1,000 or more.
Many insurers set what’s known as a level excess, so that the amount is only paid once, per person, per policy year – no matter how many times you claim.
It’s unusual to find a policy that doesn’t offer some level of excess at all. You can usually ask to change your excess when you renew your policy.
How and when do I pay the excess on health insurance?
If you make an eligible claim for treatment, you’ll be asked to pay the excess at that point, usually over the phone. That might mean making a payment to the insurer, or it might be a payment to the relevant medical professional, hospital or other facility.
Then, whatever the eligible costs are, the insurer will pay the difference between your excess and the agreed limit for that treatment or appointment. Here’s an example:
- You have some symptoms, and your doctor recommends a specialist appointment for more tests and an in-depth diagnosis.
- You let your health insurance company know that you’d like to make a claim, and the team will confirm how much your excess is – let’s say it’s £150.
- The appointment and the tests are arranged at a time and place that suit you, but in total, everything comes to £850.
- The insurer is happy that those costs are coming in under their agreed limits for that care, and it pays the £700 difference directly. You’ll pay the other £150.
Some of your benefits – such as dental care – might not need you to pay an excess.
Can I change my excess?
Most insurers won’t let you change your excess half way through your policy. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t ways to bring down your premiums. Why not call us and speak to one of our expert Healthcare Consultants? We can chat through what your excess is now.
We’re an impartial health insurance broker: we can look at your situation, talk about your budget, compare health insurance policies, and make a firm recommendation about the best course of action.