Private Healthcare UK Self-Pay Survey, noting that in London the number of people choosing to pay their own bills had risen by 25% over the past two years and 20% elsewhere in the country.">

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Self-Pay: Where an individual chooses to pay for their own private medical treatments out of pocket, rather than having health insurance. 

Its a trend that in many ways is inexplicable when you consider the financial shock that the unexpected need for medical treatment can bring.

For example, the cost of repairing an inguinal hernia, the most common form of hernia, could cost over £3,800 including surgical and anaesthetic fees and just a day’s accommodation and facility charge. Similarly, a kidney biopsy, a diagnostic procedure, can alone cost over £4,000. If a nephrectomy is then required the cost could be between £7-9,000.* The more complex the medical intervention, the higher the cost, so that a hemihepatectomy, the resectioning of the liver following a cancer diagnosis, might bill at over £21,500.*

These are numbers that give pause for thought. If you should unfortunately fall ill and want private treatment, just when you’re digesting the implications of diagnosis or fretting over symptoms, you may also need to dig deep into your financial reserves. That is if they are that deep!


Example costs of private medical treatment without insurance*

Surgical Fee

Anaesthetic Fee

Accommodation Fee

Facility Charge

Private Healthcare Total Cost

Knee replacement



£2520 for 6 nights



Hip replacement



£2520 for 6 nights



Kidney Biopsy



£420 for 1 day






£1680 for 4 nights



Caesarean delivery



£420 for 1 day/night




What does private health insurance cost compared to Self-Pay?

The average private medical insurance premium stands at around £1,870, around £5 a day.  Obviously premiums vary depending upon things like your age, health and type of cover you choose, so many people will pay less. For a single 21-year-old, private health insurance might cost as little as a £1 a day.

Of course the cost per head is also typically much lower if you’re are protected through a company health insurance scheme. These benefit from the cost advantages brought through bulk buying which we’re all familiar with through our own weekly shop.


A key selling point of private medical insurance is, of course, the reassurance it can bring. Rather than coupling a health shock with a financial one, policyholders can rest easy knowing that they’ll receive prompt access to the specialist treatments for which they are insured. The financial impact is limited to the excess – the amount you must pay towards the cost of a claim – familiar to most insurance policies and which typically runs only into the low hundreds, rather than the many thousands that treatment bills can run to.


Helping you find the right health insurance, at the right price

If you’d like to discuss the benefits and costs of private health insurance why not get in touch or call our experts on 0800 018 3633 for an informal and no-obligation chat? Our advice is free and independent, our quotes drawn from across the market with the aim of getting you the very best deal.

* Source: Freedom Health, Your Choice Procedure Payment Guide.