How much have I cost the NHS? – Find the true value of your health
The NHS England budget is currently sitting at £153 billion for 2022/2023 and it offers an invaluable range of UK health services to around 1.3 million people a day. But all of these billions and millions can get a little lost when you consider your individual health. If you are looking for the true value of your health, a better way to understand this is to look at what you have cost the NHS.
After all, the NHS is primarily funded through general taxes and national insurance contributions (NICs). And a small fraction of its annual budget, or more precisely 1%, comes from your patient charges on services like prescriptions and dental treatments.
The average person costs the NHS £4,188 a year, according to the latest stats from the Office of National Statistics. But if you have had problems with your health that require treatments or diagnostic methods that are not covered by the NHS, you might have your own out of pocket health expenses to add to this as well.
In this guide, we help you get a better understanding of the value of your health, from both how much you cost the NHS and the health costs you cover yourself. You’ll be able to better appreciate NHS services, be aware of what they cover and what they don’t, and consider the role that health insurance can play in bridging these gaps in your healthcare needs and costs.
See how much I have cost the NHS
To get a better idea of your impact and how much money you have cost the NHS, here are some real examples of NHS procedure costs. It’s important to know that these costs are averages and can vary based on the complexity of your procedure, your recovery, and the location of your healthcare facility.
|Broken rib or chest
|Ambulance call out
|Calls to 999
|Overnight hospital stay
How much do my prescriptions cost the NHS?
With the majority of the UK getting medicines prescribed for free, this is a big expense for the NHS that you will definitely have benefited from. These are some of the most commonly prescribed medications in the UK, and with repeat prescriptions, these all add up. Again these costs are averages and can vary based on the strengths and doses you are prescribed.
|Lisinopril (28 tablets)
|Treats high blood pressure and certain heart conditions
|Amlodipine (28 tablets)
|Treats hypertension (high blood pressure) and angina (chest pain)
|Simvastatin (28 tablets)
|Lowers cholesterol levels and reduces the risk of heart disease
|Levothyroxine (28 tablets)
|Used to treat hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid)
|Salbutamol (200 dose inhaler)
|Relieves asthma and other respiratory conditions
|Omeprazole (28 tablets)
|Reduces stomach acid production for acid reflux and peptic ulcers
|Atorvastatin (28 tablets)
|Also lowers cholesterol levels and reduces risk of heart disease
|Amitriptyline (28 tablets)
|Treats depression, neuropathic pain, and other conditions
|Metformin (47 tablets)
|Manages blood sugar levels in individuals with type two diabetes
|Sertraline (29 tablets)
|Used to treat depression, anxiety disorders, and other mental health conditions
|Aspirin (37 tablets)
|Has blood-thinning properties to reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes
|Amoxicillin (100ml bottle)
|An antibiotic that treats bacterial infections like chest infections
What am I covered for under the NHS?
The NHS is renowned for its essential and comprehensive coverage, offering a wide range of medical services to eligible parties. You’ll likely already know some of the key services and treatments you are covered for under NHS. But it’s important not to take these for granted or even miss out on care that you are unaware of. The main areas covered under the NHS care include:
- Doctor visits – Access to GPs (general practitioners) for consultations, diagnosis, and treatment is a cornerstone of the NHS. And the majority of GP services are provided free of charge.
- Hospital stays – Inpatient care including surgeries, medical treatments, and recovery in NHS hospitals, is covered by the healthcare system.
- Surgeries – The NHS covers a wide range of surgeries, from routine operations to life saving interventions. These can be orthopaedic surgeries, cardiac procedures, and cancer surgeries.
- Emergency care – A&E (accident & emergency) services are available for urgent medical situations, giving fast attention and treatment.
- Prescriptions for medications – Prescriptions are free of charge in Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales. England currently has a £9.65 charge for prescriptions, but eligible individuals including seniors and children also get free prescriptions.
- Preventive services – The NHS provides various preventive services. We’re all familiar with vaccine services by now, but they also provide screenings, like cervical screenings, to detect and address health issues in their early stages.
- Maternity care – Maternity services, including prenatal care, childbirth, and postnatal care, are part of NHS coverage.
- Mental health support – Access to mental health services including counselling are available through the NHS.
The breadth of the NHS services means you can get comprehensive coverage and access essential healthcare without worrying about the financial burden. However, it’s important to recognise that the NHS does have its limitations both in terms of what services it provides and its ability to provide them.
What am I not covered for under the NHS?
While the NHS is an invaluable healthcare system that removes barriers to healthcare access across classes and financial circumstances, its coverage is not exhaustive. If you have ever had an illness that requires treatment or methods of diagnosis that are not included under the NHS, you will know how quickly costs can accumulate. You might even have had to compromise on your health care because of these expenses. Here are some things that are not covered under the NHS that you might still need access to for your healthcare:
- Dental care – Routine dental check-ups, treatments, and cosmetic dentistry are not typically covered by the NHS. You will likely have to pay out of pocket for dental services.
- Optical care – Vision related costs like eye tests and the price of glasses or contact lenses, are generally not covered.
- Elective surgeries – Some elective operations, like joint replacement surgeries or cosmetic surgery, may have long waiting times within the NHS. Some individuals choose to explore private options to get their treatment sooner than the NHS can provide it.
- Alternative therapies – Services like acupuncture or chiropractic care are not part of standard NHS coverage.
- Prescription charges – While some individuals are exempt from prescription charges, you might still have to pay for medications if you are in England. The standard prescription charge is set by the government at £9.65.
- Private services – GP practices also offer private or non NHS services that are not covered by NHS funding. These can be things like employment medicals, insurance reports, travel vaccinations, or some forms of cosmetic procedures. And you will typically need to pay for these yourself.
- Mental health services – The NHS offers some services for mental health but many feel these are not sufficient support for a lot of patients. External health care like extra counselling sessions can be an ongoing expense for patients.
As a result of these gaps in coverage, many people opt for private health insurance to ensure access to a broader range of healthcare services and protect their health and finances. You can find more information on health insurance and get personalised quotes on your health insurance needs now with our quick and easy quote form.
Why would I need health insurance if I have the NHS?
Health insurance can fill in the gaps in your NHS coverage. It can offer you peace of mind and financial protection by covering services and treatments that may not be included in the NHS. Here’s how health insurance acts as a safety net for your healthcare:
- Extended health coverage – Health insurance extends coverage to areas where the NHS coverage may fall short. This can include dental care, optical care, and access to a broader network of specialists.
- Timely care – With health insurance, you can get quicker access to specialists and often skip waiting lists which are getting longer and longer on the NHS. This means you receive prompt medical attention, timely diagnosis and treatment when you need it.
- More choice and flexibility – You can have more freedom to choose when and where you are treated. This can be important if you have a preferred specialist or hospital.
- Financial security – Health insurance provides financial protection against many of the expenses that can come with unexpected medical conditions. This can reduce the stress and financial burden on you and your family.
- Preventive care – Many health insurance plans include preventive services, encouraging you to proactively manage your health. A lot of providers will also include access to wellness programs and educational resources for living a healthy lifestyle.
Is health insurance worth it for me?
When choosing health insurance it’s important to consider your needs as well as the coverage you have and the coverage you want to have. You could already have some form of health insurance through your employment, so it’s best to check this and what it includes before you invest in more health insurance. You’ll also want to know the options for coverage, for example, if you want to be able to insure your family on the same policy. Other considerations include:
- Premiums – Of course, health insurance is going to come at a cost. If you know the cover you want you can get quotes from multiple insurers so you can compare prices and decide if your health insurance premium is going to be worth it for you.
- NHS waiting times – This is a huge and valid concern for NHS users. The number of people on waiting lists for hospital treatments was at a record 7.5 million in May 2023, and these numbers are only going one way. Health insurance lets you skip these with private treatments.
- Coverage – Carefully reviewing what treatments and services are included in the coverage could help you judge the value of the policy to you. You’ll also catch any exclusions like cover for pre-existing conditions.
- The health providers covered- If you have a preferred healthcare provider, check they are covered under the insurance. Insurers sometimes have a network of their own doctors, hospitals, or healthcare facilities they like to use, but this could cause limitations if you feel strongly about your provider.
- Extras – Some plans offer additional benefits like wellness programs, providing cover for your children, travel health insurance or access to 24/7 helplines.
Securing your health and your wallet
Health insurance works as a safeguard for both your health and your financial stability. And by getting insight into how much you cost the NHS, as well as the scope and limitations of the national health service, you can see the true value of your health. With this, you can make clear, informed decisions on your healthcare needs and decide if health insurance is something that can benefit you.
Whether you’re facing frequent check-ups, specialised treatments, or unexpected medical challenges, the combination of NHS coverage and health insurance provides a comprehensive safety net for your health and financial security.
This article is intended as generic information only and is not intended to apply to anybody’s specific circumstances, demands or needs. The views expressed are not intended to provide any financial service or to give any recommendation or advice. Products and services are only mentioned for illustrative rather than promotional purposes