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Other types of business health insurance

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There are several other health insurances for businesses - international health insurance, short-term health insurance plans, plans for Channel Islands businesses, hospital treatment insurance, surgical cash insurance and self-funded health plans.

International health insurance 

Companies operating outside their home country need to protect their expat employees and their families. 

If your employees are working overseas, international health insurance is essential. In another country, they may have no access to free healthcare, or may be limited to emergency care. Even if they are protected by local healthcare insurance, this will not help if they or a family member have to fly home for treatment or recuperation. 

Another factor to consider is that new NHS rules state that anybody who is out of the country for more than six months is no longer automatically entitled to free NHS care when they return home.
Many countries are restricting the treatment that non-citizens can access for free or at a subsidised cost. Several countries, even in Europe, have healthcare and insurance systems that make it compulsory for expatriate workers to buy insurance. Some countries will not offer a work visa unless there is proof of international health insurance. 

Even if you or your employees can access local healthcare overseas, some systems require all patients to pay the hospital and then seek reimbursement. Others oblige patients to pay a substantial proportion of costs, and some hospitals will not even begin treatment until they either receive payment or insurance details.

International health insurance is intended for people who are living or working outside of the UK for at least six months of the year. Medical treatment can be provided in the country concerned, a nearby country, or in the UK. 

A basic policy will usually cover:

  • in-patient and daycare
  • post hospital treatment
  • nursing at home
  • emergency dental treatment
  • complications of pregnancy

It may not cover:

  • out-patient
  • routine maternity
  • dental costs

A wider policy will also cover out-patient care and specialists, routine dental treatment, normal pregnancy and complementary care. 

Most international health insurance plans include the costs of land and air private ambulances, and the costs of repatriation/ evacuation. A multilingual 24-hour help line is often provided. An increasing number seek to include normal health care costs too, such as optical and dental care.

Short-term health insurance plans

Short-term health insurance plans are for employers who want to cover the medical emergency needs of their employees while they travel abroad on business. It covers acute emergency medical treatments and provides the employees with peace of mind that they are covered for trips in the event of a medical emergency. Another type of short-term cover is international health insurance, on a 3 to 11 month basis, depending on needs. 

Channel Islands businesses

Although part of Britain, as the Channel Islands are self-governing, they are not part of the NHS. For many tests and specialist care people have to go to the UK or France. So businesses in Guernsey and Jersey need insurance similar to that in the UK, but also including transport and treatment in the UK or France, and a few modifications, often varying by island, to meet local circumstances. Several insurers offer special policies for the Channel Islands.

Diagnosis-only plans

These simple policies pay for employees to undertake private diagnostic tests and investigations on a fast-track basis, although they tend to exclude any GP care or treatment. The major drawback of this type of plan is that if an employee finds they have a serious problem, the policy does not arrange or pay for that treatment.

Hospital treatment insurance

This is a mixture of health and health cash insurance. It covers the medical costs of selected illnesses, often with limits per operation, and limits for each person over their lifetime. Insurers usually pay the hospital direct for the treatment.

Surgical cash insurance

This provides cover for hundreds of surgical procedures, with caps on treatment costs and lifetime claims. Rather than paying for the treatment, the policy pays cash to individuals who can decide whether to spend it on private treatment or go to the NHS and keep the cash.

Self-funded health plans

An alternative to traditional private medical insurance funding, a self-funded health plan is really only suitable for companies with 50 employees or more, and that require bespoke cover with full control over benefits. You can fund health benefits for your employees by setting up a trust that only pays for claims incurred, rather than an annual premium to an insurer. You choose what benefits your employees can receive, and what claims are paid. 

Thinking about getting PMI for businesses?

Download our free PDF guide

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A guide to health insurance for small and medium businesses

  • Business health insurance
  • Dental insurance
  • Business travel insurance
  • Health cash insurance  (cash plans)

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