Health insurance for small business (SME) 

 

 

 

 

Enhance Your Employee Benefits with Small Business Health Insurance 

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At My Health Protected, we understand the unique needs of small businesses in the UK. Whether you are a Construction company or a family-run service provider, we are dedicated to assisting your business in offering a highly desirable employee benefit, private health insurance. 

 

“We are embedding health and well-being at the heart of our business strategy because our people are our greatest asset, and we recognise that a healthy, happy and committed workforce is vital to our business success.”
Alex Gourlay, MD, Boots UK 

 

Employees come first 

 

Your employees possess the necessary skills, knowledge, and experience that are crucial for your business to remain competitive. However, what truly drives your business’s success is their dedication, hard work, and willingness to go the extra mile for your clients. To ensure this, it is essential to have a motivated, happy, and healthy team. 

In light of recent events, the significance of employee wellbeing has increased substantially. That’s why it’s crucial for your company to partner with a specialised and experienced health insurance provider. While we cannot guarantee that working with us will directly result in more success for your business, we assure you that, like Mr. Gourlay, we prioritise the well-being of our employees. This commitment allows us to provide you, our client, with the best possible service! 

 

What are the main benefits of small business health insurance? 

 

  • Recruitment and Staff Retention: Private health insurance is one of the most valued employee benefits, and it can significantly enhance your company’s ability to attract and retain high-caliber employees. 

 

  • Fast-track Medical Care: The waiting lists for NHS medical care have reached record levels, with over 7.3 million people waiting for treatment as of March 2023. Nobody wants to face the uncertainty of a six-month waiting period for medical attention. By providing group health insurance, you can ensure that your employees receive necessary care promptly, which not only promotes their well-being but also reduces absenteeism. 

 

  • Increased Productivity: Healthy and happy employees tend to be more productive. When you demonstrate that you care about your team’s well-being, it fosters an active, engaged, and high-performing workforce. 

 

Selecting the best insurance coverage for your business

 

Health insurance policies offer various levels of coverage to meet various business needs and budgets. Choosing the right one without expert guidance can be time-consuming and challenging. 

As a whole-of-market broker, My Health Protected has access to a wide range of small business health insurance policies from the UK’s top insurers. 

Moreover, as a fully regulated brokerage authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority, our expert team will provide you with thoughtful and insightful advice on the most suitable options for your business. This level of service distinguishes us from comparison sites and insurers, where personalised advice may be lacking. 

Many policies now offer businesses the option to customise their coverage extensively. Let’s explore some of the key elements. 

 

Inpatient Cover 

 

Inpatient cover is a vital component of nearly all private health insurance policies. It includes treatments that require a hospital bed, either for an overnight stay or a day-patient procedure. This coverage usually includes surgeries, certain tests, and possibly computerised tomography (MRI and CT scans). By having this essential coverage, your employees can bypass lengthy NHS waiting lists and access private healthcare facilities, ensuring they receive timely care and recover quickly. 

 

Outpatient Cover 

 

To enhance your employees’ health benefits, you may want to consider adding outpatient cover to your business’ policy. Outpatient cover takes care of medical expenses related to diagnostics, treatments, and consultations that don’t require a hospital bed. This can include specialist consultations, diagnostic tests, scans, physiotherapy, and post-operative care. 

By including outpatient cover, your employees can enjoy faster access to specialists and rapid diagnostic testing. This leads to quicker treatment of illnesses, reducing overall downtime and promoting your employees’ health and well-being. Additionally, it can benefit your business by helping your employees return to work faster and in better shape to perform their duties. 

 

Mental Health Cover 

 

Since 1974, employers have been legally required to protect their employees from work-related stress. However, the recent pandemic and increased number of people working from home have emphasised the importance of UK businesses taking a proactive approach to their duty of care. 

Introducing Mental Health Cover may result in only a slight increase of approximately 3% in policy costs, but it offers several advantages to your employees, such as quick access to face-to-face and online counselling. This step can significantly enhance your company’s corporate governance and relieve your human resources team of a significant responsibility. 

 

Dental & Optical 

 

Even the most health-conscious employees occasionally need to visit the dentist, and it is essential to provide this benefit to all team members, including those who might not prioritise their health as much. To add Dental & Optical coverage to your insurance policy in a cost-effective manner, consider opting for a cash-back basis. When an employee goes to the dentist (whether NHS or private), they can simply submit the receipt, and the insurance provider will directly refund the money to the employee. This coverage goes beyond dental surgery and includes check-ups, hygienists, and x-rays, making it a highly valued benefit. The cover is limited to around £400 – £500 per year per employee. 

Similarly, the optical part of this additional cover will reimburse employees between £200 – £300 per year for purchasing new glasses with prescription lenses. 

 

 

Private GP Services 

 

Many insurance policies now allow businesses to add private GP services as an option. These consultations usually take place over the phone or through online video calls, and appointments can be scheduled within 24 hours. This is beneficial because getting an appointment with a local GP often involves a long wait and takes employees away from work. As a result, these private GP services are highly popular among staff and can help reduce absenteeism proactively. Moreover, the coverage can often be extended to include an employee’s dependents, making it especially appealing for parents with young or school-aged children. 

 

Dependents 

 

Extending your company’s policy to cover an employee’s immediate family is a highly effective way to boost staff loyalty. It recognises that an employee’s success at work often depends on a supportive and collaborative effort at home. 

The cost of adding dependents to the policy can be covered either by the company itself (which would be seen as a great gesture) or employees can choose to fund it through salary sacrifice (which is also commendable). The premiums we negotiate on behalf of our clients make the cost of including dependents through salary sacrifice only about one-third of what an equivalent individual policy would cost. As a result, the uptake for this option is usually extremely high. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Examining Health Insurance Costs for Small Businesses in 2023

 

Group Private Medical Insurance is considered a business expense for tax purposes, but it is also crucial to view it as an investment in your employees and the overall success of your business. 

In 2023, the demand for private medical insurance has risen due to businesses seeking to protect their employees from long NHS waiting lists. This increased demand has made the UK health insurance market highly competitive compared to previous years. 

At My Health Protected, we can customise the insurance options to fit your budget. However, there are some factors that insurers consider which are beyond our control. 

For instance, covering businesses located in London is generally more expensive than covering those outside the M25 area. It is like the difference in costs between staying in a central London hotel compared to one outside the M25. Private hospitals in central areas tend to have higher fees. 

For companies outside London, choosing hospitals local to the business or allowing the insurer to guide an employee’s treatment can significantly reduce premiums. 

Furthermore, the more employees a company covers under the policy, the higher the discount offered by insurers. 

Below is a summary of a quotation from June 2023, provided by a leading insurer, for a company located outside of London. It can give you an idea of the reasonable cost of cover available for your company. 

 

Basic cover  

 

 

 

Full in-patient 

 

 

Yes 

 

Full out-patient 

 

 

Yes 

 

Physiotherapy 

 

 

Yes 

 

Dental & optical 

 

 

Yes 

 

Mental health 

 

 

Yes 

 

Comprehensive cancer cover 

 

 

Yes 

 

Hospital list 

 

 

Guided 

 

No. of employees 

 

 

20 

 

 

Average age (median) 

 

 

30.8 years 

 

Company location: 

 

Outside London 

 

 

Excess per employee per year  

 

£100 

 

Monthly premiums  

 

 

£333.99 

 

Use a specialised insurance broker like My Health Protected to create a policy that meets your needs and fits your budget. 

 

Does Group Private Health Insurance provide coverage for pre-existing conditions? 

 

One of the most common inquiries we receive at My Health Protected is whether health insurance covers pre-existing conditions. Generally, small business policies are unlikely to include such coverage as a standard practice. However, it’s important to note that the specific inclusion of pre-existing condition coverage in any policy depends on how it is underwritten. 

 

Full Medical Underwriting 

 

 

In order to determine coverage for pre-existing conditions, all employees or dependents included in the policy are required to complete an application form, disclosing their medical history from the last 5 years. The insurer’s underwriting team will then assess the information provided and may decide to exclude certain conditions from coverage. While this approach is sometimes seen as more intrusive, it provides a straightforward and definite answer regarding whether a pre-existing condition is covered or not. 

 

Moratorium 

 

 

Moratorium underwriting has gained popularity as it eliminates the need for application forms from employees or dependents. However, under this approach, treatment for pre-existing conditions will not be covered if: 

  • The insured person experienced symptoms of, took medication or received treatment for, or sought advice about such an illness or injury within five years before obtaining the policy. 
  • There hasn’t been a clear two-year period since the date of policy entry during which the insured person remained free of medication, treatment, or advice related to the mentioned illness, injury, or its known symptoms. 

 

Continued Personal Medical Exclusions (CPME) 

 

 

This type of underwriting is designed for individuals who already have private medical insurance. If a group or an individual decides to switch to a new insurer using the CPME approach, the new insurer will not add new exclusions to the policy, but the existing exclusions will still be applicable. 

CPME is commonly observed when groups switch from one insurer to another. In this process, certificates are directly sent to the new insurer, eliminating the need for new application forms. However, these CPME transfers are subject to specific criteria that may vary from one insurer to another. Nevertheless, they can be considered for all the underwriting methods mentioned on this page. 

 

Medical History Disregarded (MHD) 

 

 

With the MHD option, members do not undergo medical underwriting, which means that all pre-existing medical conditions will be covered if they meet the policy’s terms and conditions. 

MHD underwriting is more common in larger groups where insurers typically require a minimum of 15 members on the policy. Due to the higher risk to the insurer, a premium loading is applied to account for this. 

If you need further clarification, you’re my Health Protected consultant is available and specialised in providing a more detailed explanation. 

 

Is Health Insurance Tax Deductible in the UK? 

 

For companies (Ltd, PLC, and LLP) incorporated in the UK, covering the cost of health insurance policy premiums for their employees is generally considered a tax-deductible business expense. 

However, it’s essential to understand the tax implications for the employees as well. 

If the business pays the premiums, HMRC views it as a ‘Benefit in Kind,’ which is subject to income tax. As a result, the premium’s value, including any coverage for dependents, will be added to the employee’s regular income and taxed through PAYE. 

While our advisors at My Health Protected are knowledgeable about how private health insurance is treated by HMRC, we always recommend consulting your company accountant for personalised guidance on any tax-related matters. 

 

Reviewing your existing policy 

 

 

If your business already has health insurance, now is an excellent opportunity to have My Health Protected review your current policy and ensure you’re getting the best value. With a growing emphasis on employee benefits and wellbeing, insurers have introduced numerous new offerings to the market. As a result, you might discover that we can upgrade your existing coverage with minimal or no additional cost. 

 

What makes My Health Protected the right choice for your small business health insurance? 

 

At My Health Protected, our commitment to private health insurance, along with the expertise of our specialised team, distinguishes us in the industry. We take a personalised approach, carefully selecting insurers that align with your company’s specific needs and financial constraints. 

 

Through negotiations on your behalf, we strive to secure the best possible deal. Additionally, we offer various ongoing services, including claim handling and yearly medical insurance review, to provide comprehensive support to our clients. 

 

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