What's better? Private or NHS healthcare?
Private medical insurance for the self employed
There are many advantages to working for yourself. Record numbers of people are setting up on their own. Most are self employed individuals, frequently working from home. Others set up partnerships or limited companies, to allow several people to work together.
When you work for yourself, all the benefits that a major employer provides vanish. This includes private medical insurance for you and your family.
When you are self employed, there is no one to cover for you or do your work when you are ill or getting treatment. The last thing you need is hanging around all day in the hope that the doctor or hospital will see you quickly. Self employed medical insurance enables self employed people to choose when and where they get medical care, and to get back to work as quickly as possible.
Many insurers accept individual self employed people on individual private health insurance plan. But these are geared to employees rather than those in business. Self employed people want to be able to choose when and where they get medical care, and to get back to work as quickly as possible. If not fully fit it affects both work and income, so getting treated quickly is vital. When you work for yourself, it is important to stay healthy. Healthy people work better and are more able to get business.
A few insurers allow people leaving a company to continue cover on an individual basis, but you get little choice on cover and price. Many insurers accept individual self employed people on individual private health insurance plan. But these are geared to employees rather than those in business.
Our section on private medical insurance for the small business covers many schemes which are suitable for the self employed.
Advantages of self employed health insurance cover
There are the usual advantages of private medical insurance:
- early diagnosis of health problems
- prompt access to treatment
- choice of admission time, date and place
- assistance and information
For busy business people, one of the benefits of self employed health insurance is that the choice of time enables treatment to be done when it does not conflict with business commitments.
Self employed health insurance policies can also offer extra cover not available on individual policies, e.g. AXA PPP healthcare have Personal Business Assistance.
While you are in hospital, the service sends messages to clients or suppliers on your behalf, by phone, fax, letter and email.
How small a group?
On business policies, the number in the group only counts the individual person, director or employee, not their partners and children. This is important as although some companies offer all or some of their products where only one individual is insured, others require a minimum number of 2 or 3 persons insured.
If you buy a policy as an individual it is out of net income. If you are in business you may be successful in getting the self employed health insurance premium accepted as a legitimate business expense. If you buy a business policy, paid for by the business, then this is usually acceptable as a genuine allowable business expense. Directors and employees whose earnings and expenses exceed £10,000 a year (information correct at 1st April 2005 budget) may be liable to tax on any premiums paid on their behalf. National Insurance contributions may also apply. There is no tax on any benefits claimed.
This is a complex area and you must check details with your accountant and local tax office.