We compare quotes from all the leading insurers

How does private health insurance work?

Private health insurance is similar to other types of insurance. You pay a monthly or yearly fee called a premium.


Getting Referred

If you have a health issue, see your GP and let them know about your private cover. They may refer you to a specialist, and you might choose private hospitals or specialists not offered by the NHS.


Informing Your Insurer

Tell your insurer you want to make a claim. They'll check if your policy covers the treatment you need. If it does, your claim gets approved.


Cost Coverage

Your GP will book your appointment, and your insurance covers the cost if your policy is active. You might pay an excess depending on your policy.

Who is a private GP?

A private GP (general practitioner), like an NHS GP, offers a wide range of medical services, including diagnostics, treatments, referrals, and check-ups for acute and chronic illnesses and injuries.

The primary difference is in their practice setting: private GPs operate in independent clinics or hospitals. Access to their services involves membership, direct payment, or coverage through employer health insurance plans. This arrangement allows patients to receive personalised care and timely appointments outside the constraints of the public healthcare system.

Also, private GPs may offer extra services, such as same-day appointments, extended consultation times, virtual consultations, and access to specialised diagnostic tests.

Does private health insurance cover GP visits?

GP cover varies depending on the policy. Some plans automatically cover private appointments, while others offer it as an additional service for a higher premium. This feature helps individuals avoid long NHS waiting lists by accessing a private practitioner.

However, with certain health insurance policies, you should first see an NHS GP, and if needed, they will refer you for treatment covered by your private health insurance policy. Also, some policies offer access to virtual GP services, which allow you to consult with a doctor via a smartphone app.

Is private GP covered under health insurance as standard?

It depends. With some private health insurance policies, individuals start by using NHS GP services and then get referred for treatments covered by their insurance. However, some policies include private GP insurance coverage either automatically or as an option for an additional cost.

To find a policy that covers private GP consultations, keep reading this article and then consider contacting the insurers directly.

Benefits of private GPs

Even though private healthcare requires additional payments compared to the free NHS services, there are clear benefits to using a private doctor for your healthcare needs.

Reduced waiting timesPrivate GPs see patients quickly, often on the same day.
Longer appointmentsThese GPs spend more time with each patient for thorough exams and discussions. This helps them understand your needs better.
Personalised careThey create customised treatment plans that address individual needs effectively.
Flexibility and conveniencePrivate GPs offer flexible hours and last-minute appointments. Online and home options make access even easier.
Easy specialist referralsGPs work with specialists for quick referrals when necessary, sometimes managing the entire process for you.
Proactive health screeningThese check-ups help catch any problems early and lead to better outcomes with prompt treatment.
Comfortable and confidential consultationsConsultations with private GP insurance offer a discreet healthcare experience.
Better doctor-patient relationshipSeeing the same private GP builds trust and communication.

What does health insurance with private GP cover?

In most cases, GP cover includes video consultations, sometimes face-to-face appointments, diagnostic tests, and minor GP surgeries. Also, it may cover such services as private prescriptions, referrals to other treatments, and specialists.

However, home visits, coverage for drugs and dressings, and administration fees are usually not included. Another quick reminder: GP cover isn’t intended for a member’s medical emergency. It won’t include an A&E visit, a private room at NHS facilities, or private hospitalisation.

For a full understanding of what is covered and what is not, you’ll need to refer to your specific policy documents.

What private GP services do some insurers offer?

This section describes specific private GP services by top health insurance providers in the UK. These include options like weekend and evening appointments, same-day appointments, phone consultations, annual cost limits, virtual and remote consultations, second opinions, and access to medical assistance through apps.


Aviva’s GP coverage is exclusively digital and accessible via the Aviva Digital GP app provided by Square Health. This service offers members quick access to medical consultations and prescription services directly from their smartphones or devices.

Here’s a breakdown of what the app offers:

GP video consultations:
  • Members can access unlimited video appointments with NHS-registered private GPs around the clock.
  • You can usually speak to a GP within 24 hours.
  • Each appointment slot with the selected GP lasts for up to 15 minutes.
Repeat NHS prescriptions:
  • Members can order prescribed repeat medication within the app.
  • Users enjoy free delivery of their medications within the UK.
Choice of GP:
  • Members can choose the gender of their NHS-registered private GP.
  • You can review GP bios and profiles to select a GP based on your preferences and healthcare needs.
Consultation advice:
  • Following a GP consultation, employees can access the advice provided and their consultation history within the app.
  • This feature facilitates easy reference and follow-up on medical recommendations.
Paediatric consultations:
  • Members can add their children under 16 to their account and book an appointment on their behalf.
  • There’s a limit of 10 children per member.

Axa Health

AXA Health offers private GP appointments through its AXA Doctor at Hand service supported by Doctor Care Anywhere. Here’s a breakdown of the service:

Online GP appointments:
  • Video or phone consultations anytime, every day of the year.
  • Booking appointments is easy through the AXA Doctor at Hand app or online platform; appointments are available within a day.
Wide choice of healthcare professionals:
  • Appointments are conducted with fully qualified experts selected by Doctor Care Anywhere.
  • Patients can choose the professional they want to consult with.
  • If a prescription is deemed necessary during the appointment, it will be uploaded to the patient’s account immediately.
  • AXA Doctor at Hand can arrange for prescriptions to be delivered to the patient’s preferred location (residence, workplace, or a nearby pharmacy).
Connected healthcare:
  • If further diagnostics is required, the GP or advanced nurse practitioner will recommend tests or scans.
  • Once the results are available, the GP will review them with the patient over the phone or via video call.
  • AXA Health works directly with healthcare professionals so that patients don’t have to reach out themselves.
Access to medical records:
  • Patients can view and download their medical records, including test results and scans, through their secure patient records.
  • Medical notes can be shared with NHS GPs for coordinated healthcare.


Bupa provides both face-to-face and remote GP appointments. Here’s what’s included in the in-person plan:

  • Face-to-face appointments — For initial appointments or multiple concerns, Bupa offers 30- or 45-minute slots. 15-minute slots are available for repeat appointments or minor concerns.
  • Diagnostics and tests — These include private blood tests, assessments of kidney and liver function, etc. Subsequent steps are discussed based on test results.
  • Specialised GP services — Skin complaints, mental health, men’s health, women’s health, and abdominal issues.

With the virtual GP solution, members are offered:

  • Appointment options — A choice between a phone or video call appointment, available seven days a week.
  • Different appointment durations — 15-, 30-, and 45-minute consultations on weekdays or evenings and weekends.
  • A choice of the next step — If necessary, Bupa can assist with organising a private referral for further treatment or specialist consultation. Also, your GP can issue a private prescription for medication. You can pick it up from a pharmacy or arrange for delivery.

Freedom Health Insurance

With Freedom Elite’s optional cover, you have access to consultations with a private GP, diagnostic tests as recommended by the GP, and minor surgeries performed at the GP’s own surgery. Also, you’re eligible for reimbursement of private GP fees, with coverage of up to £300.

There’s more: the virtual GP service is accessible to all UK-based clients with Freedom Essentials, Freedom Elite, or Freedom Your Choice policies, including individual, family, and business policies. This service is provided in collaboration with Health Hero and offers:

  • Scheduled consultations — Unlimited access to medical advice and diagnosis as needed.
  • Consultation booking options — Round-the-clock telephone consultations for your convenience. Additionally, their online video consultation service is available from 8 am to 10 pm, seven days a week, with the exception of Christmas Day.
  • Health portal — Members can also access their consultation history and medical notes through their GP24 online account. The same portal allows you to message a doctor service for quick responses.
  • Private prescriptions — You can get them sent to your home or pick them up at your local pharmacy.

The Exeter

The Exeter offers private GP cover through HealthWise. HealthWise commonly addresses musculoskeletal conditions, infections, respiratory illnesses, and skin conditions, such as back pain, arthritis, laryngitis, viral illnesses, impetigo, and dermatitis.

Service offered include:

  • Digital GP services — Unlimited appointments via phone or video with experienced UK-based GPs via an app.
  • Clinical advice and guidance — Clinical advice, prescriptions, and recommendations for further treatment.
  • Referrals to specialists — Facilitating access to specialised healthcare services.
  • Access to private prescription services — Members can order private and NHS repeat prescriptions at no additional cost.

Bear in mind that HealthWise services aren’t 24/7. Members can access on-demand GP consultations on weekdays at 8am-7pm and on Saturdays at 9am-1pm, with the exception of Bank Holidays.

Also, this service is available exclusively to members residing in England, excluding Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland.


Through the Vitality GP app, clients can schedule video appointments with doctors. These appointments offer a wide range of medical assistance, private prescriptions, wellness advice, and referrals to specialists within 48 hours. Importantly, consultations through the app are exempt from excess fees.

Through the app, you can:

  • Book a GP appointment on video, including evenings and Saturdays (unlimited).
  • See a GP for a face-to-face appointment twice per plan year through partner clinics.
  • Get express referrals to specialists if further treatment is necessary.
  • Send digital prescriptions to your chosen pharmacy.

You’re covered for prescriptions and basic diagnostic tests up to £100 each year as part of your plan.

In addition to these core services, the insurance plan covers:

  • Priority physiotherapy — Self-referrals for physiotherapy services to address muscle, joint, and bone issues.
  • Mental health support — Self-referrals for face-to-face counselling, video consultations with psychologists, and cognitive behavioural therapy.
  • Lifestyle health hub — A tool for checking symptoms before appointments and detailed health guidance customised to suit your lifestyle.


WPA offers a remote GP helpline accessible 24/7, which provides unlimited access to medical advice, diagnosis, medication, or referrals worldwide. It’s an optional benefit available on select schemes.

This is a unique blend of remote service and traditional private medical treatment, which goes the following way:

  1. Clients request appointments by calling the dedicated helpline number or using the WPA Health app.
  2. They choose between phone or video consultations.
  3. A GP calls within 15 minutes of the scheduled appointment time; consultations last for as long as necessary.
  4. If necessary, GPs email referral letters so that members can seek private care face-to-face.

According to WPA, possible outcomes of virtual appointments are:

  • Private prescription medication — GPs can authorise private prescriptions for delivery to the client’s home or workplace. The cost of prescriptions is not covered unless included in the WPA benefits.
  • Referral to specialist or therapist — GPs can refer clients to specialists or therapists but can’t arrange scans or tests directly.
  • Private fit note — GPs can issue and email private fit notes as required.

Notably, all GPs are members of the Royal College, with additional qualifications in various specialities. They are experienced NHS practitioners registered with the General Medical Council and NHS England.

There you go! Now, you have a basic grasp of the GP services by different insurance providers. With so many options available, comparing them is smart. As you’ve seen, most providers offer virtual services, but a couple also offer face-to-face consultations. Enjoy your search!


Is a private GP worth it?

Yes, the benefits are worth the cost. A private GP service provides flexible appointments, personalised care, and quick access to specialists, which is essential for urgent conditions. That level of flexibility and speed isn’t usually possible within the NHS system.

Is a private GP covered by health insurance?

While some private medical insurance plans automatically cover private GP visits, others do not. Conveniently for you, in the article above, we have a list of insurers that offer this coverage with detailed service descriptions.

How much does private GP insurance cost?

The starting private GP appointment cost in the UK is from £59. However, your actual price depends on your unique situation and the level of coverage you require. Also, please note that GP cover may be included in the core policy, so there’s no extra charge for it.

Which insurers offer private GPs?

Among the largest insurance providers, Aviva, AXA Health, Bupa, Freedom Health Insurance, The Exeter, Vitality, and WPA offer coverage for private GPs.