If you’re setting up your own business, you’ll no longer have to answer to an employer or put up with many of the annoyances of being a permanent employee. But, what about the ‘perks’ you might have enjoyed in your previous life as a member of staff?
For people who have been lucky enough to receive group medical insurance from their employer, this is probably the most significant benefit to do without. So, what is the best way to take out health insurance if you run your own business?
In this guide, we look at what private medical insurance is, what it covers, and whether or not you can or should pay for the premiums via your business, or personally.
What is private health insurance?
Although the NHS provides universal healthcare to all individuals, with no extra costs at the point of entry, you may face long waiting times for treatments, and little choice over where you receive any medical care. The NHS may also not be able to provide treatment at all in some cases – for certain conditions.
If you have private healthcare, depending on the terms of your individual policy, your access to treatments will typically be far quicker, with far more options available to you.
Alongside covering the policyholder for the cost of inpatient and outpatient care at private hospitals, there are a wide variety of extra services you may be eligible for, depending on the level of insurance you take out, including:
- Complimentary therapies.
- Nursing care.
- Overseas emergency treatment.
- GP and dental services.
- Psychiatric treatment.
- Discounts on things such as gym memberships.
How should I pay for health insurance – personally, or via the business?
This is a very common question for small business owners to ask.
Sole traders unlikely to be able to claim against business costs
The key thing to bear in mind is that the premiums are treated as a ‘benefit in kind’. The benefit is for you – as the individual – not the business itself, so you won’t be able to claim tax relief if you’re a sole trader (self employed).
You might be able to make a claim if you can demonstrate that any medical costs were required as a direct result of an accident or ongoing issue linked to your work, but this may be an uphill struggle.
Your limited company can pay, but you will be taxed on the benefit provided
However, you can claim for these costs if you run a limited company, although you won’t receive any Corporation Tax relief.
At the end of the tax year, the beneficiary must pay income tax and Employees’ NICs on the benefit, and the limited company will have to pay Employers’ NICs.
However, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t claim the costs from your company. Some health insurers offer better deals to business clients, and if you’re not a high earner, it may be more tax-efficient to pay for the premiums via your company.
Whatever your business structure, you should chat with your accountant if you have any questions about this.
Things to look out for when comparing providers
When you request health insurance quotes, you should make sure that you’re comparing like-with-like, as this type of insurance is fairly complex, and the options available for policyholdersrs are very broad.
The premiums will depend on your age, health history, and lifestyle, as well as the type of cover you want to take out, and the factors listed below.
Make sure you find out the following facts from a prospective insurer:
- How much does the policy cost (monthly/annual)
- Are there any discounts if you pay upfront?
- What illnesses and treatments does the policy cover?
- What is the range of hospitals I can choose from (local, nationwide, etc.)
- What is specifically excluded from the cover?
- What are the excesses on the policy?
- Are there discounts for group or family cover?
- Are there corporate discounts (if you’re taking out cover via your own company)?
- Are there limits on how often you make a claim, or the size of each claim?
- What is the qualifying period (i.e. how long after starting the policy can you make your first claim)?
- Are there any extra benefits, e.g. cashback, discounts on other products?
Get a quote from WPA – leading healthcare insurers
At ByteStart, we have worked with leading healthcare providers, WPA, for many years. It is one of the UK’s leading health insurers, and – significantly – it is a non-for-profit organisation. The company has provided protection to its clients for over a century, and has won numerous awards for service.
With access to over 600 hospitals, WPA will tailor a policy to your specific needs, whether you’re taking out cover as an individual (or family), or via your business (if you’re a limited company).
Current special discounts for ByteStart visitors
If you take out a new WPA policy, you will be eligible for:
- 25% discount on all new policies in Year 1.
- 15% discount in Year 2.
- 5% discount in Year 3.
If you would like to find out more, without any sales pressure, ByteStart’s representative at WPA, Steve Sargent, will be happy to answer any questions you may have. Steve has helped hundreds of our visitors take out health insurance.
Simply fill in this form below, and Steve will get right back to you.
Find out more about your health insurance options
When you press ‘submit’, your details will be securely sent to our WPA representative. Bytestart Limited will never use your details for any other purpose.
Last updated - 1st January, 2021