What is small business health insurance?

Small business health insurance is a policy for companies that offers employees private healthcare cover for acute illnesses (chronic conditions are excluded). If your team has fewer than 250 employees, then you'll look at an SME, rather than a corporate scheme. 

  • Acute medical condition: A short-term illness which is curable with treatment.
  • Chronic medical condition: A long-term illness which is persistent and cannot be cured.

A small business health insurance policy gives your team medical protection and the security that should they become unwell, they can receive prompt treatment (and diagnosis if a comprehensive policy is selected. We will explain more about this later in this post).

What are the benefits of small business health insurance?

Your small business cannot function without you or other essential team members. If one of your team becomes ill or injured, private healthcare cover can give you fast-track access to medical specialists. Even quicker if you select a comprehensive plan to include outpatient cover. There are many other great perks to taking out a health insurance policy for your team. Some of those advantages include the following:

  • Improve productivity and reduce absence in the workplace.
  • Quickly get your people back to their best. 
  • It encourages a healthy lifestyle among your workforce. 
  • Maintains employee peace of mind that they are covered if they become ill. 
  • Having benefits in place will help attract and retain the best talent for your business. 
  • Your company will receive access to experts that help build your well-being strategy. 
  • Your employees will receive access to 24/7 private health care. Depending on the plan you choose, you can access treatment through a network of specialists and hospitals, covering: inpatient and day-patient fees, practitioner fees and ambulance fees for medically necessary movement between facilities and nursing care.

What is included in small business health insurance plans?

Health insurance policies cover the private healthcare costs that require an overnight stay in the hospital or need a stay over a period of time in a hospital bed. Depending on the level of cover you opt for, you'll either have treatment only, which means you can be treated privately as an inpatient or day patient, or you can choose to include diagnostic tests and treatments too by adding outpatient cover. There are other options you can add, such as mental health cover and therapies, but at its core, a policy will either include outpatient cover or not.

Inpatient vs outpatient cover 

When choosing a business health insurance policy, you'll need to understand the difference between inpatient and outpatient treatment. Inpatient covers you for procedures or treatments that need you to stay in the hospital overnight. Outpatient covers you for procedures and treatments where you don't stay overnight or occupy a bed for the day. Here we explain the process of each option:

  • Inpatient cover: GP referral - NHS testing - NHS consultations - private treatment 
  • Outpatient cover: GP referral - private testing - private consultations - private treatment 

Each health insurance product is flexible, so you can opt for basic plans with essential benefits or comprehensive packages with a range of optional features to cater for your workers' needs. Here are some possibilities that your organisation can choose from when designing a policy for your company.

Fast-tack diagnosis (outpatient)

The fast-track diagnosis system with private medical health care decreases the time your staff are out of work due to undergoing investigation and treatment. Depending on the plan your business selects and if it includes outpatient cover, your employees may have access to private healthcare, including tests, scans, specialist consultations, diagnostic surgery and hospital fees.

Private healthcare

Your employees will be granted access to private healthcare for medical treatments required for prompt recovery from the illness or injury. Depending on the plan you choose, you or your employees can access medicine and therapy which covers inpatient and day-patient costs, practitioner fees and ambulance expenses for movement between facilities and nursing care.

Ongoing support

Your insurance will be able to provide your employees with ongoing support so they are not left in the lurk after delivering treatment. The continued aid offered depends on the plan you select, so we recommend looking into the options before you choose a policy.  

For example, some of the types of scenarios covered on your small business health plan could include some of the following:

  • Full cover for inpatient and day-patient treatment
  • Accommodation in private hospital rooms
  • Cancer cover, from diagnosis to treatment
  • Outpatient treatment, including specialist fees, diagnostic tests and physiotherapy
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What is not covered in small business health insurance plans?

The type of illness or injuries covered depends on the policy you take out. As a business owner, we recommend you talk to a specialist about what policy will work best for you and your company. If you need specialist advice on what plan you need, give us a call today for our professional advice.

Where each insurer has its own policy wording we cannot determine the exact exclusions but there are some reasonably consistent across all Small Business Health Insurance policies.

There are illnesses that your health insurance plan may not cover, which also includes GP services. For example, previous health conditions before taking out the policy will not be covered. Other ailments that may not be included in small business health insurance are things, including chronic illnesses, cosmetic treatment, pregnancy and childbirth, self-inflicted injuries, accidents or damages occurring while travelling to countries with political instability, areas of active conflict, or those where the Foreign Office has advised against travel.

Before taking out the policy, check with your provider about the types of illnesses not included in the insurance policy.

Does small business health insurance cover mental health?

Many small business health insurance policies include this or have the option to have mental health treatment. Other policies may not automatically incorporate this, but they will have the option to contain this therapy in your benefits. Check with your provider to find out the exact treatment that it covers as some policies offer full or partial cover for private mental health treatment.

Some insurers will only allow you to claim for a specific mental health problem for a maximum amount of time. Others put a financial cap on received benefits.

Facts about mental health in the workplace

Mental health in the workplace is a significant factor in employees being out of work. With the rising costs in the UK, many workers are now suffering from stress, anxiety, financial strain and many other personal mental tensions. 

The cost of living crisis is not the only thing that is taking a toll on employee mental health. The workplace can be a significant contributing factor to adding to your staff's wellness. A study conducted by Perkbox showed that in 2020, of British adults in employment – a staggering 79% commonly experience work-related stress. Within the same analysis, astonishingly, just 1% of UK-employed adults say they 'never' experience workplace stress, meaning that 99% of workers feel some type of pressure or anxiety while being at work. 

By implementing the perk of private health insurance for your employees, your workers will feel rest assured that they are covered for health costs, therefore easing their stress in the workplace. 

Should my business have health insurance? 

Having small business health insurance is not compulsory for companies, but it is worth considering for many reasons. Health insurance is not for every business; it really comes down to how much your firm may suffer if your employees are out of work. If loss of income would hit you hard and you can't gamble with that risk, it could be a very beneficial cover to have in place.

Ask yourself these questions to whether you will benefit from small business health insurance:

  • Will my business suffer from financial loss if an employee is out of work for long periods of time?
  • Do my employees or myself have high-stress roles?
  • Are the roles at high risk of injury (e.i. Construction or other manual labour roles)?

Asking yourself these essential questions when evaluating the significance of small business health insurance and the impact it will have on your company will help you to determine the relevancy of these policies. 

How small business health insurance works

How does small business health insurance work? The following is how it functions for your business and its employees.

Setting up a policy

When setting up a small business health insurance policy, you need to ensure you have the right level of healthcare cover. We recommend that you research and consider your options carefully, which is why it always pays to speak to a specialist. At Business Protection Hub, we will guide you through everything from configuring your small business policy to choosing the best insurer that aligns with your company requirements.

Reviewing and renewing your policy 

Once you buy a plan, your premiums are generally sealed in for a year. During the year, you can add new employees to the policy or remove coverage for workers that have left your business during the year. You can typically renew your coverage at the end of the year or shop for a new plan.

Making a claim

If an employee becomes unwell and your business needs to make a claim, you can complete this through your insurer's dedicated claims team. Your policy documentation will include their contact details and information about their specific claims process.

When you make a claim, your insurer will ask you to complete a claims form and provide evidence of your medical condition. Usually, a note from the GP will work fine when making a claim with your insurance company.

Why choose Business Protection Hub for small business health insurance?

We partner with 5* rated financial advisers to ensure you get the best business protection insurance advice and prices available. When choosing to work with Business Protection Hub, we guarantee that:

  • We will offer the best prices available: The prices we provide you with will be the best currently available.
  • Offering 5* customer service: You will receive the highest levels of service and advice.
  • FCA authorised advisers: Our partner Sandbourne Ltd is FCA authorised.
  • Providing A single point of contact: You'll have direct access to a specialist, via email and phone.
  • Supplying free advice and quotes: It does not cost anything to use our service.
  • Guaranteeing aftersale support: We are here to help both before and after you buy.

Get advice on small business health insurance with Business Protection Hub 

As you can see, small business healthcare cover is far from straightforward. All businesses are different and we recommend that you speak to an adviser about your requirements choosing your cover. Reading guides can only provide you with an outline of the topic, but a consultant will be able to go much further into detail. The most important thing is that you come away with a policy that works well for your business and gives you the right cover so that your company does not suffer from the loss of staff.

Life is unpredictable and unfortunately, there may come a time that your workers become unwell illness which may prevent them from working and this can negatively impact business. Business Protection Hub is here to help ensure that your company does not suffer too.

Whether you're a sole trader or an organisation with 20 employees, our small business advice hub can help find the right healthcare cover options for you. Simply request a quote or drop us an email and someone from our professional team will be straight back to you.


Are pre-existing medical conditions covered?

Most business insurance health covers do not cover pre-existing medical conditions. Usually, health conditions from the three years before your policy start date are not covered. Small business health insurance is designed to protect employees that fall ill with an acute illness during the time they are working for your company.

If you need specific advice on health conditions or pre-existing health conditions covered, get in touch with us today.

How much does business insurance cost for small companies?

With so many aspects of company circumstances varying, it is challenging to provide you with exact pricing for health insurance. Small businesses typically pay in the range of £20 to £100 per employee for this type of insurance. Varying factors determine the cost of insurance, such as the age and number of employees, as well as the level of coverage.

Are small business health insurance policies worth it?

Yes, this type of insurance is the one type of policy that every small business in the UK should consider, especially if you cannot afford to have a member of staff absent due to an acute illness. This type of insurance gives your employees access to private medical care at times convenient to them. It can also be a tool for you to improve your business for many reasons as it can improve worker retention and increase job satisfaction.

What type of small business health insurance do I need?

First, you need to determine what business insurance you will require. Think about the work you do and the risks you need to cover. Is there a chance an employee will be injured by your company and claim compensation? Is your staff at high risk of developing stress when working?

We understand that every small business is unique and that is why we take the time to get to know you and your company to figure out what type of insurance will work best for you. Get in touch with Business Protection Hub today to talk to a specialist and find out which insurance will best suit your needs and budget.

Is private medical insurance better than the NHS?

Private medical health care is designed to fast-track your employee's health recovery to ensure speedy rehabilitation from an acute illness. Private medical insurance gives you the peace of mind that you will be treated quickly, which is something that the NHS cannot always provide. If your company cannot afford to have a worker out of the office for a long period of time, then this type of health care is a big thing to consider.

Does small business health insurance increase employee satisfaction?

Offering a health insurance option for your workers can increase your chances of attracting and retaining top talent. Having insurance in place shows that you care and value your staff. Healthy workers are effective employees, and the best way to ensure they stay productive is to provide comprehensive health insurance.