Freedom Private Health Insurance Review


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Freedom is a UK based health insurance provider, offering private health insurance for individuals as well as for businesses. Founded in 2003, Freedom may not have been around as long as some of its rivals but don't let this put you off. They have already won multiple awards and have some impressive ratings to boot!

So is Freedom's private health insurance worth it? We are going to take a look at their plans in more detail, taking into account the benefits, extent of their cover, ratings and reviews as well as how much a plan might cost you.

In This Review

Freedom Private Health Insurance: Overall Review

Freedom are a family run business based in Poole, Dorset in the UK. Despite only being founded around 20 years ago, Freedom has certainly positioned itself as a reliable insurer with flexible plans at competitive prices.

To date, Freedom have won multiple awards including most recently winning 'Best Individual Healthcare Provider' at the 2021 UK Health and Protection awards. They have also consistently been named as a winner or finalist at the Health Insurance Awards between 2015-2019.

They have also gained recognition elsewhere for their cover. Experts at Defaqto have issued their most comprehensive plan a 4 star rating, meaning their analysts deem it to offer more than the market average. However, their most basic plan earns only a 2 star rating, representing a below average offer.

So what does this mean? Well, it's possible you can find a more comprehensive, albeit still a basic plan, elsewhere. We'll take a look at these ratings and what is and isn't covered in more detail a little later so we can better understand this lower rating.

Nevertheless, in terms of customer ratings Freedom really does appear to impress. On the customer feedback site Feefo they have earned a near perfect rating of 4.6 out of 5 across over 130 reviews. We like the sound of that!

At the moment the picture isn't really very clear. So, is Freedom worth it? And how they compare to their competitors, such as Bupa, Vitality and AXA? Let's take a closer look.

Why choose Freedom Private Health Insurance?

Freedom offers a variety of benefits for customers who choose their cover. Here are some of the key benefits you should know about:

  • No location-based pricing: they don't charge based on your postcode
  • Only pay for one child: additional children can be added to your health cover at no extra cost
  • 2-year fixed premium guarantee: you can freeze the price of your health cover for two years, at no extra cost, when you take out a new Freedom Essentials or Freedom Elite health plan. Irrespective of any claims made, you can be assured that your premium will stay the same over the 2-year period
  • 6% discount for annual payments: Freedom offer a 6% discount for paying your UK health insurance policy on an annual basis when you join then at every renewal as long as you continue to pay annually
  • Multi-award winner

Customer Reviews and Ratings

Freedom reviews and ratings

Feefo Rating

4.6 out of 5

Defaqto Rating

4 out of 5 (Elite level cover)

Defaqto Rating

2 out of 5 (Essentials level cover)

During our research we took at look at the reviews and ratings from experts and customers. As you can see in the table above, there is quite a lot of variation! Let's take a look at these one by one.

The highest rating we found was from Feefo, the customer review site. Freedom scores a near-perfect rating of 4.6 out of 5, which upon first inspection is certainly impressive. Customer feedback can be a valuable tool in determining how reliable an insurer is, and this suggests to us that most customers have been satisfied with their experience using Freedom's private health insurance.

So what do the experts have to say? We have already mentioned the fact that despite only being founded in 2003, Freedom has a variety of accolades to their name. When we look at the financial ratings agency Defaqto, we see that Freedom's most comprehensive plan (Elite) earns a 4 star rating. This means this product is seen to be above average compared to the rest of the market.

However, when we look at their most basic plan (Essentials) we see a more disappointing rating of 2 out of 5. This means Defaqto's analysts have determined this product to offer less than the market average. Now, it's not uncommon for more basic plans to receive lower star ratings. It makes sense, given the fact these plans are intended to be more affordable and so naturally don't provide the same level of benefits and cover as more premium plans!

That being said, we've certainly come across no-frills plans from other providers that have a higher star rating, for example General & Medical and Aviva, which we would urge you to check out.

It's also important to remember that Defaqto ratings only take into account certain factors, such as policy wording, benefits and limitations of cover. Defaqto ratings do not reflect customer reviews and ratings or the cost of a plan, which are often very important to customers. So whilst Defaqto ratings are a respected measure of a products quality, we need to look at the bigger picture too.

We'll start by looking at some of the feedback left by Freedom's customers...

What does Freedom Private Health Insurance do well?

As we mentioned previously, we found an excellent customer experience rating for Freedom. When we took at look at the feedback left, we noticed some common themes within these overwhelmingly positive reviews.

Positive feedback mainly mentions their excellent customer service, specifically the fact that their advisors appear to make their customers feel valued. Sometimes when you contact an insurance provider you may feel like you are talking to a 'robot' so it can be very comforting to speak to someone who is willing to listen, reassure you and give you the support you need at a time that can be extremely stressful and scary.

"I've been with Freedom for just over 12 months now after I switched my health insurance plan from a big insurer who let me down and I don't regret it at all. I feel like I am finally talking to real people and not to some emotionless answering machines (like with the previous company). I made two claims with Freedom so far and they have been very fast and professional in their response"

"I've been with Freedom Health Insurance for over 3 years and I have always received a great service from them. Last year I needed surgery on my knee and they were very fast at approving my claim and sorting everything out (despite the whole covid situation). I can't recommend them enough"

"Very approachable with clear guidance when you need to use the service. Highly recommend"

What could Freedom Private Health Insurance improve?

No insurer is perfect, and Freedom is no different. We found that of the negative pieces of feedback left, the majority centre around the claims process. More specifically, the difficulty in getting a claim approved. As a result this has led some customers to comment on the poor customer service experience they received.

When you see reviews left by frustrated customers, especially regarding the claims process, it's important not to take this completely at face value. Absolutely some of the below experiences could be due to Freedom's internal claims process. However, navigating private health insurance can be especially difficult and there can be a lot of confusion and misunderstanding over what medical care is and isn't covered.

This is why it is so crucial to sit down and read through your policy documents carefully so you understand what you can and cannot claim for — this could save you a lot of time should you need to make a claim, and could help you avoid getting into similar situations to those below.

We cover Freedom's claims process later on, so do make sure you are aware of this and the information you'll need to provide.

"Ive been a member...for 18 months now. I put in a claim over a month ago now to see a specialist privately , and they still not have not authorised my claim. I am appalled at their lack of care / urgency. They are trying to say it is a pre condition that I have had which is absolute nonsense as my issue started as a side effect from my second vaccine"

"Utterly awful customer service - even the senior team read off a script whatever your question is. Then they did everything possible to not pay for any claim - demanding repeated letters, refusing specific locations"

"They are quick to book you an online GP consultation but after that I had to call them back to request my prescription, taking two days to receive. They referred me to an “online pharmacist” that charged me £18 for some tablets that cost around £4.50 in Boots. After 18 days waiting for my referral letter that never came, I just cancelled the plan"

How much is Freedom Private Health Insurance?

Private health insurance quote comparison for a 35 year old male non smoker (£month)

WPA (Elite cover)

£83^ (£500 excess)

General & Medical (Elite cover)

£70 (£500 excess

Aviva (Full cover)

£48 (£200 excess)

General & Medical (Lifestyle cover)

£42 (£500 excess)

Freedom (Elite cover)

£41 (£500 excess)

The Exeter

£37 (£500 excess)

AXA

£36 (£500 excess)

Bupa (Comprehensive)

£36 (£500 excess)

Vitality

£35 (£500 excess)

WPA (Premier cover)

£31^ (£500 excess)

Aviva (Limited cover)

£28 (£200 excess)

General & Medical (Everyday cover)

£28 (£500 excess)

Bupa (Treatment and Care)

£28 (£500 excess)

Freedom (Essentials cover)

£22 (with £100 compulsory excess and £500 optional)

General & Medical (Essentials cover)

£21 (£500 excess)

WPA (Essentials cover^)

£13

^note: these quotes reflect the default offer of a 25% first year discount, available at the time of writing

We compiled quotes for Freedom's private health insurance based on the profile of a 35 year old male non-smoker from a mid-sized town in the UK. The prices shown below relate to a no-frills single person plan (i.e. if you were looking to take insurance out for just yourself) with a £500 excess for their Elite plan, and a £600 excess for their Essentials plan (£100 of this is compulsory, £500 is optional). Remember, these are intended to be used as a guide only and any quotes you receive may be higher or lower depending on your circumstances.

As you can see, the quotes we received puts Freedom as both the fifth most expensive and the third cheapest of the providers we sampled from. We found their most comprehensive plan (Elite) to be £41 per month, whilst their most basic plan (Essentials) was quoted to be £22 per month.

If we take their Elite plan, it's a similar price point to General & Medical's second most premium plan and The Exeter's offer. Whilst General & Medical's plan is also 4 star Defaqto rated, The Exeter's plan has been awarded a perfect 5 stars from Defaqto. What is more, we found The Exeter's plan to be slightly cheaper than Freedom! We'd urge you to check out our reviews for these providers so you can see how they differ and compare their benefits to see which, if any, is right for you.

If we look at Freedom's most basic plan (Essentials) we see it's the third cheapest, beaten only by General & Medical and WPA. Remember, Freedom was given a disappointing 2 star Defaqto rating for their cover, which is the same as WPA but one star less than General & Medical. For this extra star you'll be covered for some outpatient medical care as well so it's definitely worth taking a look at. Comparison sites are also a really easy way to compare cost and cover, so make use of these too!

What is and isn't covered?

As we've mentioned, Freedom gives a choice of two levels of cover. Their 'Essentials plan which is their most basic, and their Elite plan which is more premium. We have already discussed how these plans fair in terms of cost and ratings, so let's take a closer look at the cover in more detail.

Click the dropdown arrows to reveal more about each level of cover!

Essentials BenefitsLimits

Inpatient and day-patient treatment (where a procedure is required)

The cost of treatment, arranged under a self-pay contract at a private hospital

Fixed cash benefit

The cost of treatment that is carried out as an NHS patient in an NHS hospital

50% fixed cash benefit

Inpatient and day-patient treatment (where no procedure is required)

Fees charged for staying in hospital for either inpatient and day-patient treatment

£200 cash benefit for each day or night spent in hospital

Diagnostic imaging

Fees charged by the hospital for CT, MRI and PET scans when referred by a specialist

Paid in full

Cancer cash benefit

Fees charged for procedures required as part of a course of active cancer treatment carried out as an inpatient and day-patient treatment

50% fixed cash benefit

Chemotherapy and radiotherapy as part of a course of active cancer treatment

£150 cash benefit for each hospital visit

Additional benefits

Cost of inpatient and day-patient treatment related to any pregnancy complication approved by Freedom (e.g., miscarriage, stillbirth)

Fixed cash benefit

Cost of inpatient and day-patient dental surgical procedures approved by Freedom and which a patient has been referred to by an oral specialist (e.g., treating a jaw bone cyst)

Fixed cash benefit

Elite BenefitsLimits

Inpatient and day-patient treatment

Private hospital charges

Full cover

Specialist fees

Full cover

Diagnostic tests (e.g., blood tests, x-rays, scans)

Full cover

Outpatient treatment under the care of a specialist

Surgery

Full cover

Diagnostic tests (CT, MRI and PET scans)

Full cover

Cancer care

Treatment of cancer, including radiotherapy and chemotherapy

Full cover

Additional benefits

Private road ambulance

Full cover

Dental surgery for procedures approved by Freedom

Full cover

Fees associated with pregnancy complications approved by Freedom

Full cover

Accommodation fees for a parent accompanying a child aged 18 years or under

Full cover

NHS cash benefit (inpatient)

£200 for each night

NHS cash benefit (day-patient)

£100 for each day

Maternity cash benefit

£150 for each child (only after being insured for at least 10 months)

Home nursing fees

For up to 13 weeks

Optional extras

Freedom offer a variety of add-ons that are available to purchase for an additional premium alongside your main policy. These vary depending on the level of cover you opt for, with their premium plan giving you a greater choice of optional extras. We've broken them down for you below:

Freedom Essentials

  • Outpatient treatment (£500, £1,500): this covers the fees charged by a hospital for outpatient treatment, including diagnostic tests, consultation and specialist fees and outpatient procedures. This also includes routine dental costs, optical costs and maternity cash benefit

Freedom Elite

  • Choice of hospital lists: Freedom offers the choice of either a standard or plus hospital list. Choosing the standard hospital list will give you access to a comprehensive range of private hospitals as well treatment in any NHS hospital. The 'Plus' hospital list will also entitle you to use a small number of hospitals based in central London
  • Outpatient cover (£1,500, Full cover): covers the cost of diagnostic tests arranged by a GP (£750 limit), as well as specialist fees and physiotherapy treatment. Note this does not cover GP referred MRI, CT or PET scans
  • Alternative therapies (£750, £1500): covers referral to an osteopath, chiropractor, acupuncturist, homeopath or podiatrist. Note that therapy on GP referral is limited to a maximum of six sessions across all therapists combined.
  • Mental health care: covers outpatient (£2,000 limit) and inpatient (full cover for up to 45 days) reatment of acute mental or psychiatric illness. Note some psychiatric treatments are excluded
  • Private GP, dental and optical cover: covers routine dental costs (£300 limit), accidental dental injury (£600 limit), optical costs (£200 limit) and private GP costs (£300 limit). Note that a compulsory £50 excess applies

Freedom also offer their customers the option of a Fixed Price Guarantee for 2 Years, which gives you the reassurance that your premium won't increase at the end of your first year, regardless of any claims that you have made.

Customers can also choose from a range of voluntary excess options - £0, £100, £250, £500 & £1,000. Remember, the higher your voluntary excess (i.e. the amount you pay towards a claim) the lower your premiums will typically be. So, if you're in a position to do this without compromising your financial stability, this can be an easy way to reduce your premiums.

We've put together a handy guide full of tips and tricks to save money on your private health insurance, which you can check out here.

Exclusions: what isn't included

As with any type of insurance, there are some things that are not covered. We've listed some of the key exclusions below:

  • Accident or emergency admissions
  • Pre-existing conditions
  • Contraception and birth control
  • Weight loss treatment
  • Experimental treatments
  • Chronic (i.e. longterm) conditions
  • AIDS and HIV
  • Cosmetic or reconstructive treatment
  • Dialysis
  • Oversees treatment

Note this list is not exhaustive, and the full list of exclusions can be found in your policy documentation. Be sure to put aside the time to read this carefully so you know exactly what is and isn't covered. Whilst it may not be the most fun read, it can prevent you from making a claim that ultimately gets rejected (saving you time!).

How to make a claim on Freedom Private Health Insurance

Making a claim is easy through Freedom, and you can get contact their claims department easily by phone or email.

The claims process is typical of most private health insurance providers:

  • 1. See your GP: if you're unwell or suffering from an injury, you should see your GP for advice. They may decide to refer you to a specialist, and if this is the case they will write you a referral letter
  • 2. Call the claims helpline: if your GP has referred you for private treatment, you should call the claims helpline on the above number. Freedom's advisors will need to ask you a few questions so it's a good idea to have your policy documents and any other supporting information to hand when you call. They will ask you name, policy number and some questions about your symptoms as well. You will also need to send Freedom a copy of your GP's referral letter. If your claim is accepted, you will be issued a claim number.
  • See your specialist: at your first appointment you'll need to give your specialist your claims number and any other documents you have received from Freedom. Depending on your health insurance plan, you may need to contact Freedom directly to arrange treatment. It's good practice to keep your insurer updated throughout this process, and they will be on hand to give advice and answer any questions you may have.
  • Settling your bill: again, depending on your plan Freedom may pay the hospital provider directly. Alternatively, you may be under a 'self-pay contract' where you are responsible for paying the invoice directly using the fixed cash benefit paid to you by Freedom

You can find the full details of the claims procedure specific to your plan in your policy documents.

Freedom Private Health Insurance: Discounts and Savings

If you choose to opt for Freedom's private health insurance, you'll gain access to a variety of benefits and discounts. Here are some of the key benefits we came across, though you may also find that additional limited time offers will appear from time to time direct on a companies website too, so be sure to keep an eye out.

  • Only pay for one child: additional children can be added to your plan at no extra cost
  • 6% discount for annual payments: Freedom offer a 6% discount if you choose to pay your UK health insurance policy on an annual basis when you join, and then at every renewal as long as you continue to pay annually
  • 30% Weighwatchers membership discount, available to all UK-based Freedom Health Insurance clients with a Freedom Elite, Freedom Essentials, Freedom Your Choice or Freedom Worldwide policy

We've also put together a handy guide full of tips and tricks that you can use to save money on your private health insurance. You can check this out here.

FAQ's

Freedom states in their policy documents that they do not offer cover for pre-existing conditions.

In fact, you will find that most private health insurance providers take this approach. Crucially, if you are aware of any symptoms that could cause problems in the future, you will need to disclose these right away.

Yes! Comparing providers online is one of the best way to ensure you are getting the right level of cover for a price that suits you. We found Freedom to be on many comparison sites such as ActiveQuote and Assured Futures. We recommend taking a look at these to start with as they are recognized to be some of the best on the market.

To take out a new Freedom Health Insurance policy you need to be between 18-70 years of age. If you are a parent, you can add any children to your policy from when they are born until they are 25 years old.

Although you cannot get a new Freedom plan above the age of 70, if you are an existing customer Freedom will continue your cover with no further age restrictions.

Yes, it is based in Poole, Dorset at Freedom's main office.

This depends on your level of cover. Those opting for Freedom's Essentials policy will not be able to choose, and any medical care will be carried out at a location determined by Freedom.

If you opt for Freedom's Elite cover you are offered the choice of either a Standard or Plus hospital list:

  • Standard: gives you access to a comprehensive range of private hospitals as well treatment in any NHS hospital
  • Plus: this will also entitle you to use a small number of hospitals based in central London

You can access Freedom's full hospital list here.

Freedom doesn't appear to charge an administration fee for canceling your policy. In line with many insurers, you have 14 days from the date you receive your policy documents to cancel your policy, and you'll get a full refund as long as no claims have been made.


If you cancel your policy after this period Freedom will refund any premium that has been paid for the rest of that period of insurance if no claim has been made. However, if you have made a claim Freedom won't refund any premium and you'll still be required to pay the rest of the full annual premium.

There is no right or wrong answer to this. If you're living in the UK you are fortunate to have access to the National Health Service (NHS), which is completely free. There are pros and cons, however, and taking out private health insurance can mean accessing private health services and bypassing long wait times. If you're unsure if private health insurance is the right option for you, you can read 'The NimbleFins Guide to Purchasing Private Health Insurance' here.

Yes, and that is one of the many wonderful things about the NHS. You can still access treatment regardless of whether you have private health insurance, in fact, the NHS will even cover some conditions and treatments that private insurers will not, such as chronic and pre-existing conditions.

You will notice in your policy documents or simply when researching private health insurance there appear to be many different types of 'patient'. This can be very confusing, especially for first-time health insurance buyers! We've offered a simple explanation below that should help clear up any confusion.

  • Inpatient: you are an inpatient if you need to attend hospital for treatment, and need to stay in overnight (or longer)
  • Outpatient: you are an outpatient if you attend a hospital or clinic but do not need to stay overnight
  • Day-patient: you are a day-patient if you need to attend a hospital or clinic for treatment but do not need to stay overnight. Unlike an outpatient you will also require medical observation for a short while after.

No — however, Freedom will need to ask you questions about things such as your age, sex, medical history, lifestyle and occupation.

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