A simples guide

Health insurance for the self employed

It goes without saying that we’re lucky to have the NHS but being the sole care provider for a population of millions is hard work and sometimes treatment isn’t available as soon as you need it. The target waiting time for treatment on the NHS is 18 weeks but if you’re self-employed, waiting for over four months for treatment may not work for you, especially if it means you’re not working to full capacity. But there are options, and one of them is to consider taking out private health insurance – here’s what you need to know.

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What would private health insurance mean for me?

It means that you pay to get greater choice over your healthcare such as where and when you get treated. Your insurance will pay for some or all of your medical bills and you could also get access to care or drugs not available on the NHS.

What your policy covers will depend on what you opt for, most providers will give you options over whether you have basic or comprehensive care – some may also let you bolt on additional provisions. You just need to work out what’s best for you.

What are the benefits for me if I’m self-employed?

The key benefit is that private care will give you more flexibility over your treatment such as where and when you go for treatment, it can also offer you early diagnosis and you won’t have to wait for weeks to be seen. Currently just over 86% of people needing treatment get seen within the target time of 18 weeks so it could mean you are waiting even longer.

If you’re self-employed, the greatest asset to your business is you and your skills and let’s be frank, if you’re not working you’re not earning. So if your health takes a knock, it’s fundamental for you to seek help as soon as possible. Regardless of whether your job is physical or computer-based, not being able to work to your full ability isn’t good for your bottom line.

If your job is particularly physical and you need to be in tip-top shape, then having a healthcare plan with physiotherapy (not always available long term on the NHS) is seriously worth thinking about.

self employed

What options do I need to consider?

If going private is for you, then you’ll need to think about practicalities. The whole point of private health insurance is to give you maximum choice. This means making sure that any provider you go with has hospitals and consultants in locations convenient to you. After all, what’s the point in having to take a whole day off work to visit your nearest approved consultant 150 miles away?

You should also be able to choose the level of cover you need, whether that’s basic, mid-range or comprehensive. You may also be able to add on extras such as critical illness cover or dental cover. Some policies also offer preventative treatments to make sure that you stay fit and healthy – such as health screening, advice and even discounted gym memberships. It’s also worth considering whether to add other family members onto the policy, especially if they help and support you at work.

It’s worth noting that health insurance won’t usually cover chronic illnesses such as diabetes, epilepsy or high blood pressure. You also won’t usually be covered for straightforward pregnancies or childbirth either. Your provider will have a list of exclusions so it’s definitely worth checking this before you sign on the dotted line to make sure you have the cover you need.

It’s also important to remember that private healthcare isn’t a guarantee of better treatment; it just means you’ll be treated quicker – most private consultants also work within the NHS.

What will it cost me?

There’ll be a health insurance policy to suit your budget, so it’s worth starting out with knowing what you definitely want and then having a ‘nice to have’ list too. With most providers you’ll be able to choose the levels of cover which will be priced accordingly.

The best way to think of it, is, how much would it cost your business if you couldn’t work whilst you’re waiting for treatment?

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How to get the best deal

As someone who runs their own business, you’re probably more than adept at getting a good deal and you know that comparing is a great way to get to grips with what’s on offer.
So why not start a quote today? It won’t cost you anything to compare costs but if you find a policy to suit you, it could save you a lot more in the future.