WPA Private Health Insurance Review: Everything You Need To Know


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WPA, which stands for Western Provident Association, is one of the smaller private health insurance providers in the UK. Whilst you may not have heard of them, they have certainly been making waves in the health insurance industry offering an extensive range of cover.

They don't only provide individual private health insurance but also offer family and corporate plans as well as health cash plans and dental cover.

Choosing the right health insurance provider for your needs is understandably an important decision, so you might be wondering just how good WPA's offer is compared to some of the big names in the business, such as AXA, Bupa and Vitality. Don't worry, in this review we'll cover all you need to know about this lesser known insurer so you have all the information you need to decide whether WPA is the provider for you.

In This Review

WPA Private Health Insurance: Overall Review

Founded in 1901, WPA began as the Reading Working Peoples' Voluntary Hospital Contributory Fund which provided workers the option of paying a portion of their wage to access healthcare when they needed it most. Today, WPA is a not-for-profit private health insurance provider based in Somerset, UK, who pride themselves in sticking to their core principles of making healthcare affordable for everyone.

Given they have been providing specialist healthcare plans for over 120 years, they certainly know a thing or two about private health insurance. During this time WPA have won multiple awards, such as Health Insurance Provider of the Year at the Moneyfacts Consumer Awards in both 2020 and 2021, as well as Best Specialist Health Insurance Company at the 2020 Southern Enterprise Awards. They have won numerous awards for their health cash plans, too!

They also appear to be a hit with their customers, boasting an 'excellent' Trustpilot rating of 4.7 out of 5 across over 1,100 reviews. There is a small caveat to this, as this rating reflects WPA as a whole and not their private health insurance offer specifically. That being said, given they only provide health insurance we feel it's a pretty good reflection overall.

Taken together, WPA is certainly impressing us. But we all there is more to a good health insurance provider than awards and ratings and it's important to consider the depth and breadth of their cover compared to the rest of the market. Let's not forget the all important factor of price as well!

Don't worry, we're going to break all of this down for you. Let's start with why you should consider WPA...

Why choose WPA Private Health Insurance?

We've alluded to some of the reasons already, but opting for WPA does come with a range of benefits. Here are some you should know about:

  • Multi-award winning provider
  • 5 star Defaqto rated (note: this is for their 'Elite' cover)
  • Excellent customer service ratings
  • Flexible cover options
  • A range of discounts and benefits e.g. discounted gym memberships

Customer reviews and ratings

WPA reviews and ratings

Defaqto Rating

5 out of 5 ('Elite' level private health insurance )

Trustpilot Rating

4.7 out of 5

Defaqto Rating

4 out of 5 ('Premier' level private health insurance)

Defaqto Rating

2 out of 5 ('Essentials' level private health insurance)

During our research we found it more difficult than usual to find a range of robust customer ratings. This is likely due to the fact it's a smaller, less well-known insurer than some of the other names on the market. However, what we did find is encouraging.

According to over 1,100 reviews on Trustpilot, WPA score an impressive 4.7 out of 5, indicating an 'excellent' customer experience overall. As we mentioned previously, this rating is not specifically for their private health insurance so you might want to take this with a small pinch of salt. That being said, if the overwhelming majority of their customers are awarding them such a high rating we feel this builds a good picture of their private health insurance offer overall.

Now, when it comes to the experts the picture is slightly less clear. WPA offer three main levels of cover for their private health insurance which is pretty common in this industry. For their highest level of cover ('Elite') they have been awarded a perfect 5 star Defaqto rating, indicating the experts recognize this plan as being one of the best on the market. WPA's mid-tier cover ('Premium') also performs well, earning a respectable 4 star rating from Defaqto.

However, the same cannot be said for their basic level of cover ('Essentials'). This earns a rather disappointing 2 out of 5 stars from the experts at Defaqto which indicates a product that is below the market average. So, what does this mean? Well, there may be other providers out there that offer a higher level of cover, even in their most basic plans. Let's take Bupa and Aviva for example. They offer some cancer care benefits as standard, which WPA only offer as an optional extra in their mid-tier plan.

Whilst we found Bupa and Aviva to be slightly more expensive than WPA based on the quotes we received, having this extra peace of mind and protection may very well be worth it. We always recommend sitting down and considering your own personal circumstances, from your health to your financial stability, and wherever possible prioritize cover over cost. Comparison sites are an easy way to review your options and compare cover, so we'd certainly encourage you to shop around to see if you can find a more comprehensive basic plan elsewhere.

What does WPA Private Health Insurance do well?

During our research we sifted through hundreds of pieces of feedback left by verified customers. Feedback is overwhelmingly positive, in fact, 90% of their Trustpilot customer ratings are 5 star rated! The key standouts for us are WPA's customer service team who appear to go above and beyond to support their customers. Many customers also mention the user friendly mobile app and how easy it is to make a claim. Here's what a few of their customers had to say:

"I have been with WPA for some time now and have had to make a few different claims. It is always great to be able to phone and speak to a real person who understands their product and does everything to make a potentially stressful situation as straightforward as they can. WPA are the best"

"Super helpful staff- who are great at ensuring you know the full details of your cover before you book any appointments or agree to procedures! It’s nice to speak to staff who treat you a person, rather than just another customer in the queue"

"My first time making a claim to WPA, and the claim was so straight forward and prompt. Only 4 working days from submitting my claim to receiving payment"

"Find the app really easy to use. The GP service is fantastic. Overall customer service really helpful and FRIENDLY which is refreshing for any health insurance"

What can WPA Private Health Insurance improve on?

We have to stress that the overwhelming majority of customer reviews we've found are positive. Of those that are negative this is mainly down to two things: high renewal increases and frustration over claims that have been denied. Here are some comments:

"Unreasonably refused therapy on what is at best a technicality. Shocking to deal with. Despite being on a top plan too"

"The service has been good but the renewal came with 12.5% increases...when I called for a justification, I was told it was to make up for not having much of an increase the previous year...Increases have continuously been considerably above healthcare inflation and the explanations lack substance"

"I just had a renewal notice from WPA and my premium has increased by 20%! I have not had any claims, and the only thing that has changed is that the family are one year older. No one at WPA has been able to say why they proposed an increase of such magnitude"

"So I've Gold cover which should cover existing conditions. My hearing was damaged..is now at the stage where I need a hearing aid. These are not cheap but I'm informed that this is not covered. This is the 2nd time something hasn't been covered"

With regards to the customers that are disappointed their claim has been rejected after they had assumed it would be covered... this is pretty common in the world of insurance. Situations such as these can sometimes be avoided by ensuring you set aside some time to properly read through the terms and conditions of your plan before you sign your agreement.

Whilst it certainly isn't the most fun activity, it is incredibly important. Your policy documentation will detail what you are, and importantly what you are not covered for. Having a sound understanding of this prior to taking out a plan saves potential confusion and hassle further down the line when you need to make a claim. If in doubt, remember you can always speak to customer advisors who will be sure to answer any questions you may have.

How much is WPA Private Health Insurance?

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

WPA (Elite cover)

£83^ (£500 shared-responsibility limit)

Aviva (Full cover)

£48 (£200 excess)

The Exeter

£37 (£500 excess)

AXA

£36 (£500 excess)

Bupa (Comprehensive)

£36 (£500 excess)

Vitality

£35 (£500 excess)

WPA (Premier cover)

£31^ (£500 shared-responsibility limit)

Aviva (Limited cover)

£28 (£200 excess)

Bupa (Treatment and Care)

£28 (£500 excess)

WPA (Essentials cover^)

£13 (Note: shared-responsibility levels are not available for this plan)

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

WPA offer three levels of cover:

  • Elite (most comprehensive)
  • Premier
  • Essentials (most basic)

The quotes obtained in the above table reflect the different cover options for a 35 year old male non-smoker from a mid-sized town in the UK. As you can see, the price varies greatly depending on the level of cover though note this includes a 25% first year discount, which is available at the time of writing.

You'll notice in the table above that rather than an 'excess', WPA have what they call shared responsibility levels. Whilst an excess is a voluntary amount you can choose to pay towards any claim you make, WPA's Shared Responsibility works slightly differently. Essentially it is a co-payment feature that, similarly to an excess, allows you to take greater control over your premiums.

You share the cost of your treatment by contributing 25% towards every claim for eligible treatment, which is capped at an agreed level per policy year. In the above table, the quotes we received reflect a cap of £500 per year. Then, once you have reached this cap, WPA will pay 100% of all claims made for eligible treatment thereafter.

Similarly to an excess, the higher your chosen level of shared responsibility, the lower your premiums will be. This feature is intended to give you greater control whilst also ensuring you aren't compromised so that your contributions towards medical treatment don't exceed what you can afford. We've included an example of how the Shared Responsibility feature works below.

Example:


Let's say you have opted for a Shared Responsibility limit of £500 per policy year.

Remember, you pay 25% towards every eligible claim made up until your limit, and WPA pays the remaining 75%. When this limit is reached, WPA covers the costs in full thereafter.

TreatmentAmount claimedAmount you payAmount WPA pays

Diagnostic scans

£1,000£250£750

Hospital fees

£1,000£250£750

You have now reached your Shared Responsibility limit of £500

Hospital fees

£500£0£500

You can find out more about WPA's Shared Responsibility features here.


WPA's most basic offer ('Essentials') is actually the cheapest of all the providers we have sampled from. In fact, it is less than half the price of Bupa, which is the next cheapest alternative. Remember, cheapest isn't always best and if we think back to our star ratings, Defaqto's experts gave this only 2 out of 5 stars. If you're looking for good, but basic cover we might suggest looking at other providers.

WPA's mid-tier cover ('Premier') falls within the middle of the table, coming in at £31 per month. For this you get an unlimited maximum annual benefit limit as well as a whole host of other extras, such as counselling, dental care and overseas emergency treatment so it's definitely worth considering.

When we look at WPA's most comprehensive level of cover ('Elite'), this is by far the most expensive of the providers we have sampled from. It is actually 73% more expensive than Aviva's full cover which comes in second in terms of cost! So what do you get for such a high premium? By default you get extra outpatient cover, NHS cash benefits, private ambulance transport and up to 10 nights for parent and child hospital accommodation.

Remember, WPA's Elite level cover is 5 star Defaqto rated, so it's certainly one of the best on the market. However, for this high premium you don't get mental health cover (this is an optional extra, so comes at a price!) or 'premium hospitals' based in central London. Considering how much higher WPA's monthly premium is compared to other providers, we would definitely recommend checking out our reviews on their rivals to determine whether the higher price is justified for you:

Let's take a closer look at what is and isn't covered across the different levels of WPA's private health insurance...

What is and isn't covered?

WPA offer 3 levels of cover, and the price varies quite significantly between them. For transparency we've broken down each level in detail for you. If you'd like to skip to a summary then click here.

Click the drop down arrows below to read more about what is and isn't included for each level of cover!

'Essentials'

Inpatient and day-patient treatment

Hospital Treatment

Elective surgery only

Critical Care Levels 2 & 3

Up to 28 days

Drugs

Drugs & dressing

Specialist fees

Yes

Diagnostic tests & complex scans

No

Inpatient & day-patient therapy

Yes

Post-operative consultation & tests

One follow-up consultation & tests within 90 days of surgery

Prostheses

Yes

Outpatient treatment

Consultations with a specialist & diagnostic tests

£150 in the six weeks prior to surgery

GP referred diagnostic tests

No

GP referred therapy

No

Self-referred therapy

No

Specialist referred therapy

£200 within 90 days of surgery only

Complex diagnostic scans (GP referred or otherwise)

No

Outpatient procedures

No

Pre-admission tests

Up to two weeks prior to surgery

Cancer care

Diagnosis

No

Surgery

No

Radiotherapy / chemotherapy

No

Targeted cancer therapies

Optional extra

NHS Hospital Cash Benefits (non-cancer)

Inpatient (less than 3 nights) or day-treatment

£150 per night/day

Inpatient (3 nights or more)

£200 per night

Outpatient complex diagnostic scans & procedures

No

NHS Hospital Cash Benefits (cancer)

No

Remote benefits

Remote GP services

Yes

Health and wellbeing helpline (16 years+ only)

Yes

Further benefits

Mental health

No

Structured Counselling

No

Home nursing

No

Private ambulance

No

Parent and child

No

Out of pocket expenses

No

Hospice donation

No

Overseas emergency treatment

No

General dental treatment

75% (£100 limit)

Optical treatment

75% (£100 limit)

Health screening

No

'Premier'

Inpatient and day-patient treatment

Hospital Treatment

Yes

Critical Care Levels 2 & 3

Up to 28 days

Drugs

Drugs & dressing

Specialist fees

Yes

Diagnostic tests & complex scans

Yes (MRI, CT & PET)

Inpatient & day-patient therapy

Yes

Post-operative consultation & tests

One follow-up consultation & tests within 90 days of surgery

Prostheses

Yes

Outpatient treatment

Consultations with a specialist & diagnostic tests

£350 limit with option to extend

GP referred diagnostic tests

£350 limit with option to extend

GP referred therapy

£350 limit with option to extend

Self-referred therapy

£350 limit with option to extend

Specialist referred therapy

£350 limit with option to extend

Complex diagnostic scans (GP referred or otherwise)

Yes (limits apply)

Outpatient procedures

Yes

Pre-admission tests

Yes

Cancer care

Diagnosis

Optional extra

Surgery

Optional extra

Radiotherapy / chemotherapy

Optional extra

Targeted cancer therapies

Optional extra

NHS Hospital Cash Benefits (non-cancer)

Inpatient (less than 3 nights) or day-treatment

£150 per night/day

Inpatient (3 nights or more)

£200 per night

Outpatient complex diagnostic scans & procedures

£150 per day

NHS Hospital Cash Benefits (cancer)

Optional extra

Remote benefits

Remote GP services

Yes

Health and wellbeing helpline (16 years+ only)

Yes

Further benefits

Mental health

Optional extra

Structured Counselling

Yes (plus choice to extend cover)

Advanced cancer drugs

Optional extra

Extra outpatient

Optional extra

Cancer care

Optional extra

Dental care

Optional extra

Premium hospitals

Optional extra

Home nursing

Four weeks

Private ambulance

Yes

Parent and child

Up to 10 nights for hospital accommodation charges

Out of pocket expenses

£10 per day

Hospice donation

£70 per day/night (£700 limit)

Overseas emergency treatment

Optional extra

General dental treatment

Optional extra

Optical treatment

Optional extra

Health screening

Optional extra

'Elite'

Inpatient and day-patient treatment

Hospital Treatment

Yes

Critical Care Levels 2 & 3

Up to 28 days

Drugs

Drugs & dressing

Specialist fees

Yes

Diagnostic tests & complex scans

Yes (MRI, CT & PET)

Inpatient & day-patient therapy

Yes

Post-operative consultation & tests

One follow-up consultation & tests within 90 days of surgery

Prostheses

Yes

Outpatient treatment

Consultations with a specialist & diagnostic tests

Yes

GP referred diagnostic tests

£1000 limit

GP referred therapy

Yes (up to 10 sessions)

Self-referred therapy

Yes (up to four sessions of chiropractic, osteopathy and physiotherapy)

Specialist referred therapy

Yes

Complex diagnostic scans (GP referred or otherwise)

Yes (limits apply)

Outpatient procedures

Yes

Pre-admission tests

Yes

Cancer care

Diagnosis

Included

Surgery

Included

Radiotherapy / chemotherapy

Included

Targeted cancer therapies

Included

NHS Hospital Cash Benefits (non-cancer)

Inpatient (less than 3 nights) or day-treatment

£150 per night/day

Inpatient (3 nights or more)

£200 per night

Outpatient complex diagnostic scans & procedures

£150 per day

**NHS Hospital Cash Benefits (cancer)

In-patient and day-patient

£200 per night/day

Outpatient complex scans, cancer treatment or procedures

£150 per day

Remote benefits

Remote GP services

Yes

Health and wellbeing helpline (16 years+ only)

Yes

Further benefits

Mental health

Optional extra

Structured Counselling

Extended cover

Advanced cancer drugs

Yes

Extra out-patient

Yes

Cancer care

Yes

Dental care

Yes

Premium hospitals

Optional extra

Home nursing

Four weeks

Private ambulance

Yes

Parent and child

Up to 10 nights for hospital accommodation charges

Out of pocket expenses

£10 per day

Hospice donation

£70 per day/night (£700 limit)

Overseas emergency treatment

Optional extra

General dental treatment

£450 limit

Optical treatment

£200 limit

Health screening

£200 limit

Summary table: levels of cover

To make it easy for you, we've broken down each of the different levels of cover for you in terms of key differences. This way you can easily see what your options are if you're thinking of opting for WPA, but are unsure about what level is right for you.

Note, these are just some of the key differences and not what is and isn't covered in its entirety!

BenefitsEssentialsPremierElite

Maximum annual benefit

£50,000UnlimitedUnlimited

Hospital treatment

Elective surgery onlyYesYes

Specialist fees

YesYesYes

Diagnostic tests

NoYesYes

Inpatient & Day-patient therapy

YesYesYes

Outpatient consultant with a specialist & diagnostic tests

£150 in the first 6 weeks prior to surgeryYes (£350 limit)^Yes

Cancer Care

NoOptional extraYes

Mental Health

NoOptional extraOptional extra

NHS Hospital Cash Benefit

SomeSomeYes

Remote services

YesYesYes

Private ambulance

NoYesYes

General Dental Treatment

75% (£100 limit)Optional extraYes (£450 limit)

Optical Treatment

75% (£100 limit)Optional extraYes (£200 limit)

Health Screening

NoOptional extraYes (£200 limit)

^A combined benefit limit of £350 which will increase to £1,000 or £1,500 if the Extra Out-patient Optional Extra is chosen

Exclusions: what isn't included

No matter how different each level of cover is in terms of what is included, many of the exclusions remain the same. Here are some of the key exclusions to be aware of if you're considering opting for WPA's private health insurance but note the full list is much longer and will be detailed in your policy documents.

  • Any long-term monitoring, management or treatment of chronic conditions (i.e. long-term conditions)
  • Any therapy (incl. cancer therapies) which is not readily available through the NHS
  • Fertility issues
  • Pregnancy and childbirth
  • Neonatal treatment
  • Any mental illness (except a limited number of remote or face-to-face sessions when you select this as an add-on)
  • HIV/AIDS
  • Any treatments for cosmetic or aesthetic reasons
  • Allergic conditions
  • Any treatment required as a result of taking part in a 'dangerous' activity, including motor sports and winter sports
  • Treatment outside of the UK (except where Overseas Emergency Treatment benefit is selected)

Note, pre-existing conditions may be covered depending on the type of medical underwriting selected.

How to make a claim on WPA Private Health Insurance

WPA prides itself on having a quick and easy claims process. After you have visited your GP all claims need to be pre-authorized before you any treatment can be commenced. You can do this by:

  • Telephone: 0345 122 3100 (Mon-Fri 8am-7pm, Sat 9am-12pm)
  • Via the WPA Health app

According to WPA you can make a health insurance claim and receive an instant decision — a first in the UK health insurance market.

WPA Private Health Insurance: discounts and savings

WPA offer a variety of discounts and savings should you opt for their cover. Here are some of the best we feel you should know about:

  • Value added discounts: for members at recognized outlets, including on gym memberships and spas
  • Multi-family discount: available for two or more family members residing at different UK addresses
  • Discounts for those who are self-employed and members of a eligible professions: if you qualify, a 20% discount is available up to the age of 55 which then diminishes by 2% every year until the age of 65. Discounts apply to the policyholder and any additional family members on the policy

Also, at the time of writing WPA are offering additional special offers, including:

  • 25% first year discount, plus receive 10% off your second year
  • Partner goes free, plus receive 10% off your second year

Remember, these discounts are available at the time of writing and may not be available in the future.

FAQ's

WPA 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 WPA to be on many comparison sites 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.

No, they don't.

If you choose to cancel your policy within the 30 days period after your policy start date, you should be entitled to a refund providing no claims have been made.


If you choose to cancel your policy after 30 days you may still be entitled to a refund if your premium has been paid in full in advance. WPA will refund you the amount proportional to the time remaining on your policy less a cancellation charge of £25, as long as no claim has been made.

Note, if your premium is paid by monthly installments you are not entitled to a refund.

Yes, WPA gives you access to over 600 hospitals across the UK. This includes BMI, Nuffield Health, Spire, Ramsay independent private hospitals and private wings of NHS hospitals.

If you opt for Premier or Elite plans you can also add Premier Hospitals to your policy at an additional cost, which gives you access to a list of hospital in Central London, too.

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, WPA will need to ask you questions about things such as your age, sex, medical history, lifestyle and occupation.

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