Using your private health insurance

Book your initial consultation by calling us on 0800 585 112

Step by step

If you’re using your health insurance to pay for treatment, we’ve tried to make all the steps as simple and efficient as possible.

Initial outpatient consultation

Simply visit your GP and ask them to refer you to a consultant who practices at Spire Harpenden Hospital. Your GP will write a letter of referral for you to collect and bring to your appointment.

Once you are aware that your GP is referring you, you should contact your insurance company to check that your condition is covered for all stages of treatment and obtain authorisation. It is important you understand the coverage your insurer provides, as you are responsible for the costs of your treatment. Your insurer may require your GP to complete some sections of a claim form; your GP may make a nominal charge for this service.

Once authorised, please call outpatient appointments on 0800 585 112 where we can arrange a consultation suitable for you.

When booking your consultation you will need to provide:

- Your policy documentation even if you have attended a Spire Hospital before

- Your insurance company name and scheme details

- Your member or policy number

- An authorisation number

- Details of a credit or debit card - this is to cover any insurance excesses or shortfalls your insurance is not liable to pay.  Your details are kept securely and you would be notified in advance should it be necessary to use them. 

Recommendations for during your initial consultation and following stages

We advise you to keep in regular contact with your insurer throughout all stages of treatment, such as before your first appointment, diagnostics, surgery, follow up care, to ensure your insurance company will cover the costs. When liaising with your insurance company you should check your policy for any limits on the amount you can claim on certain treatments. Most policies have an annual excess and limits.

Also check:

-If there are any monetary limits for outpatient treatment

-If outpatient coverage is restricted to claims that result in hospital admissions

Payment processes

For most patients, treatment costs are based on agreements with your insurer and payment will be made direct by your insurance company. To make things easier for you, we have direct settlement arrangements with the major UK insurance companies.  Your insurer will normally settle your bills from your consultant and us directly. In order to do this we need the information mentioned above.

If you do not have sufficient cover or if there is an excess on your policy, your insurer will advise you of the outstanding payment due to the hospital. They will also notify us of your excess/out of cover charges and we will send an invoice to you advising of the balance to be processed against your debit or credit card.  Consultants may invoice to your home address and it may be necessary to forward these to your insurer.

Please note that claim processes differ dependent on the insurer, yours will guide you through their specific process. If your employer provides your insurance, you should follow the claims process specific to your scheme. For example, claim forms to be completed by your GP or consultant.

Private medical insurance companies

Below is a list of contact details for popular insurance companies:

New customers: 0800 028 0849
Existing customers: 0800 028 0849

New customers: 0800 056 7654 
Existing customers: 0800 158 3333

AXA PPP Healthcare
New customers: 0800 111 4004
Existing customers: 0800 45 40 80

New customers: 0800 600 500
Existing customers: 0345 609 0111

New customers: 01475 492 222
Existing customers: 0345 722 4462

CS Healthcare
New customers: 0800 917 4325
Existing customers: 020 8410 0400

Exeter Family Friendly
New customers: 0300 123 3250
Existing customers: 0300 123 3200

General & Medical
New customers: 0800 970 9442
Existing customers:

New customers: 0800 028 0849
Existing customers: 0203 819 7159

Police Mutual
Healthcare customers: 0345 606 9901

New customers: 0800 015 0226
Existing customers: 0845 300 0867

New and existing customers: 0800 294 6796

Vitality Health**
New customers: 0800 779 955
Existing customers: 0345 602 3523

New customers: 0800 298 9588 
Existing customers: 01823 625 000 

*Part of AXA **Previously PruHealth

If your insurance company is not listed above, please refer to your policy documents for the appropriate phone number.


Below are some questions and answers we frequently get asked about private health insurance.

What is private medical insurance for?

Private health insurance is designed to cover the costs of private treatment for unexpected (acute) medical conditions. By paying a regular amount (premium) to an insurance company, you can avoid having to pay the potentially expensive, unexpected costs of treatment and gain access to fast medical treatment from your choice of the UK’s private healthcare providers.

Many insurers describe the types of conditions that they will pay for as those that are short-term and respond to treatment. They will not generally cover the costs of treating on-going conditions that you were aware of before you were insured.

What is not covered by private medical insurance?

Private medical insurers will usually not cover you for any conditions that were diagnosed, treated, or for which you sought medical advice before your insurance started.

They will also usually not cover the costs of treating chronic, incurable conditions. In addition there will be a list of exclusions on your policy – these commonly include GP services, prescriptions, and A&E admissions.

Are there limits on what I can claim each year?

Depending on the policy you have, there may be limits on the total amount you can claim on certain types of treatments.

This is common for such treatments as physiotherapy, chiropractic, osteopathy etc. Check your policy documents or contact your insurer to find out if you have limits to bear in mind.

Could my premiums go up if I make a claim?

Some policies do reward members who do not claim on their private medical insurance policies.

Even if you make no claims, however, the cost of your annual premium is likely to rise over time reflecting your age and the rising costs of providing medical care – new drugs and technologies in hospitals are often expensive.

What details of my health will I need to provide to get PMI?

When you apply for health insurance you will need to make a declaration on a form regarding any pre-existing and past medical conditions. If you have any pre-existing conditions they will not normally be covered by your new policy for a set period of time – perhaps two or five years.

Can I get private medical insurance if I have a disability?

Yes, but you will need to disclose your disability in your medical history declaration. Your insurer may not cover treatments you require as a result of your disability since they involve a pre-existing condition.

Can I move to a new insurer?

Yes it is possible to change insurer. Speak to an insurance broker or a new insurer and they will be able to advise you about the way switching will affect the terms and level of your cover.

How do I make a claim on my private medical insurance?

It is usually necessary to go to your GP and get a referral for private treatment in order to make a claim to your insurer. Often a claims form will need to be signed by your GP or the specialist you are referred to. If you do not have a claims form you should request one from your insurer. Once you have a referral from your GP simply contact your insurer to confirm that they will cover you – this is called claims authorisation. You can also clarify with them how they will pay for the claim and what to do next.

If I am insured will I have to pay towards my hospital treatment?

Under most private medical insurance policies you will need to pay an excess charge on each claim, while the insurer will cover the costs of eligible treatment under that claim. Some policies also require you to meet a proportion of treatment costs up to a specified limit. You will need to consult your policy documentation to confirm arrangements for your scheme.

What is a co-payment?

A co-payment is when you share some of the costs of your treatment with your insurer. The amount you need to co-pay will depend upon your policy, the location and type of treatment you are having. When you contact your insurer for authorisation of a claim you can check if any co-payment will be required.

Is private medical insurance regulated?

Yes, the Financial Services Authority (FSA) regulates the sale of all types of insurance including medical insurance. If an insurer or insurance broker is a member of the General Insurance Standards Council (GISC) they will also be bound by the regulations of that body.

Where can I get advice on buying private medical insurance?

The Association of British Insurers (ABI) publishes a free guide to purchasing health insurance, designed to help you understand more about how private medical insurance works, so that you can make an informed choice before buying a policy. Visit

Given that private medical insurance can be a difficult product to understand we suggest that it would be worth discussing with a PMI broker who will be able to review your policy and could give you options. If you need to find a broker then you should look for one who is authorised by the FSA. The Association of Medical Insurance Intermediaries website can help people looking for a suitable broker. Visit