March 12

Should business owners consider private medical insurance?



If you’re looking to recruit and retain employees that can drive your business forward, you’ve probably thought about what you can offer them. 

Generally speaking, salary is a crucial consideration for most prospects, but it’s rarely the only one.

More and more, employees are starting to take into consideration other benefits and “perks” that come as part of the package. If you’re serious about competing for the very best workers, it may well be worth you considering private medical insurance.

Why would a business owner consider private medical insurance?

Good for your employees…

Offering private medical insurance as an employee benefit can help make your business an attractive proposition for prospective employees.

Statistics suggest that 69% of employees would choose one job over another based on receiving superior benefits from that job. 75% of employees are more likely to stay with a business because of a benefits package.

Not only can you provide employees with a tangible benefit, but you can also provide them with a quicker and higher level of healthcare.

…and good for you.

Private medical insurance won’t just benefit your employees.

Not only will you also be able to take advantage of a company policy personally, but you’ll also have more chance of retaining that employee, which will help ensure you don’t waste money developing and training a staff member who doesn’t stick around.

But it doesn’t end there – in 2018, there were approximately 141.4 million working days lost due to sickness in the UK – 4.4 days per worker.

The NHS waiting lists for hospital treatments continue to get longer, with 5 million people currently waiting for operations.

If your company is depending on the NHS to swiftly get your employees fighting fit again, you could be in for a long wait!   That might cause problems for you operationally and is likely to have an impact on how well your organisation runs and the profit you’re able to take from it.

How does company private medical insurance work?

You pay a monthly premium out of your company bank account to your insurer.  If your employee requires medical attention, they simply book in with a private medical centre, and that centre will invoice your insurer.

What does a company private medical insurance cover?

Company private medical insurance operates in much the same way as individual health insurance.

Depending on your policy, your insurance will entitle you and your employees to:

  • Consultations
  • Scans
  • Tests
  • Surgical procedures
  • Medication potentially not available on the NHS

How does private healthcare differ to care available on the NHS?

Having a private medical insurance plan in place for your company will generally give you and your employees:

  • Less waiting time for treatment
  • A better environment for healthcare
  • More flexible visiting hours
  • A private room
  • A choice of medical practitioner and location
  • Flexible appointment times

What treatment is available with private medical insurance?

If you’re looking into private medical insurance for your business, then the chances are you’ll come across three terms used to describe the different types of treatment that a policy will cover: inpatient, day-patient and outpatient.

Inpatient treatment

Inpatient treatment is the term used to describe treatment that needs an overnight stay in a hospital, and treatment where there is a recovery period

Most policies cover inpatient treatment in full.

Day-patient treatment

Day-patient treatment is used to describe medical care where a hospital bed may be necessary during the day, but not overnight – this will generally be the case with minor surgery, like cataract work or a hernia operation.

Again, most policies will cover inpatient treatment.

Outpatient treatment

Outpatient treatment describes care where a hospital bed is not required, like X-rays, scans and other consultations with medical professionals.

Outpatient treatment isn’t usually covered in full in a policy.  Generally, you’d either exclude it completely or specify a monetary value per employee that can be spent on outpatient treatment.

However, outpatient treatment can be covered in full, but bear in mind that this will have an impact on your premium.

What treatment isn’t available with private medical insurance?

Not every single element of medical care is available with private medical insurance, so it’s well worth thinking through what is and is not available on your policy before making the decision to proceed.

Emergency – The NHS is responsible for accident and emergency in the UK, which means that the NHS will be responsible for caring for you and your employees in the event of an emergency.

Treatment abroad – Most policies don’t include overseas care, so that’s something to consider if your company does a lot of travelling.  Generally, you can get travel insurance to cover treatment abroad.

Long term/incurable conditions – Illnesses like HIV and cancer won’t be covered under your medical insurance policy.  Some insurers will be able to include them, but often companies opt not to include them since the care on the NHS is extremely good.

Drug rehabilitation – treatment for drug abuse is unlikely to be covered under your policy, but if that is an issue, it’s sensible to speak to your insurer to understand where you stand.

Is private medical insurance only for large companies?

In a word, no.  In fact, the reality is that small business can often benefit the most.

Generally speaking, large companies employ a lot of people.  Consequently, have enough cover should an employee be off sick for a while, end up injured and needing medical attention, or sitting on an NHS waiting list.

Small businesses rarely enjoy that luxury. If an employee is unable to work, it has an immediate and profound impact on other members of the team, and can have significant ramifications for the business.

Can a business owner insure him/herself or just one employee?

Yes.  In this instance, you would set up a “director health insurance policy”.

How much does company private medical insurance cost? 

The cost of the policy depends on several factors:

How many people you want to insure

The level of cover you choose

Where you’re based in the country

The industry you operate in

The average age of the group you want to insure

Because of the added complexities of business medical insurance, we’d strongly advise talking to one of our recommended insurers if it’s something that you’re interested in pursuing.

Do you need to pay tax on company medical insurance? 

Yes and no.

Medical insurance is classed as a “benefit in kind”, so you’ll need to fill out a P11D form and declare this benefit to HMRC so that HMRC can tax employees correctly.

However, the overall policy is usually classed as a business expense is paid for with pre-tax profit, which means it’s not liable for corporation tax

What’s next?

If you’re interested in the idea of private medical insurance for your company, then the best thing you can do is speak to an expert.


Always talk to an adviser when buying Private Medical Insurance.  They will match your requirements to the many different policy options and get you the best deal.

In the private medical insurance arena, these people act more like pension or mortgage advisers than your typical insurance salesperson. And they’re always going to be on your side.

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