What is a six-week option?

Simply put, if you select the 6 or 4 week option and the NHS can treat a condition within 6 or 4 weeks of referral then you have to use the NHS rather than claim on your policy. Selecting this add-on does not affect your out-patient benefit. You will still be able to see a consultant and have scans and tests done privately.

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What is a six-week option and how does it work?

If you require treatment as an IN or DAY patient such as a surgery and the NHS waiting list for that treatment is less than 6 weeks, then your treatment will be carried out by the NHS. 


If you are diagnosed with cancer or a heart condition then typically the NHS will be able to offer treatment within 6 weeks. This means that in the vast majority of cases you will not be able to have treatment privately for these conditions.

The 6 or 4 week option is unlikely to affect conditions such as hip or knee replacements. Waiting times for these types of conditions are likely to be over the 6 or 4 week time frame. This is also true of any condition classified as “non-urgent”.

On the face of it this can be a good way to save money. Be aware however, that it can make continuing cover with your chosen consultant difficult. If the consultant you chose to diagnose the condition does not work for the NHS, or does not have appointments available under the NHS, this can lead to further delays. You may have to use a new consultant who could wish to run their own diagnostics pre-treatment.

The 6 week option can cause issues for clients at point of claim if it is not fully understood. When thinking about adding the 6 or 4 week option speak to your adviser to make sure you fully understand how it works.


Currently AXA PPP, Health-on-Line and AVIVA offer a six-week option. 

SAGA* have a very similar option called the “four-week wait” which works on the basis of being able to receive NHS treatment for IN or DAY patient care with in 4 weeks.

*Healthcare Clarity does not offer Saga Health Insurance policies but we can still review your policy if it is with Saga. 

If you are looking at a cost containment option and you are not worried about receiving private treatment for cancer or heart problems. The six-week option could be right for you. 

Yes, you can remove the six-week option from your policy. 

However, as this is considered an upgrade to your policy, it will be subject to underwriting questions. Typically you will be asked if you have anything pending or planned with a medical professional other than your GP. If you answer this question unfavourably then your insurer will not always remove the six-week option. In some cases the insurer may choose to place a moratorium on the option whereby only new conditions are eligible for benefit.

If removing the six-week option is still a priority then Vitality Health have a “switch and save” offer for anyone who currently has this option. Vitality Health offer to match, or increase, your cover levels and beat your current or renewal premium. As Vitality Health do not have a six-week option they adjust your premium to counteract this. In many cases the new premium is unlikely to be much more than you are paying with your current insurer.

Switching to Vitality Health is subject to underwriting questions and could possibly lead to exclusions. Please contact us to see if this is the right option for you.