Private Health Insurance is a popular choice for the self-employed and sole-traders, as these are the people who often can’t afford to wait for treatment and care on the NHS.

Additionally, as you may not receive sick pay during time off, this could seriously affect your business and your family’s financial health, making it more important than ever that you can return to good health and work.

I’m self-employed – why do I need self-employed health insurance if the NHS will treat me?

That question is for you to answer. The key question is, can you and your business cope with the lost work and income whilst you are waiting for your treatment? This is the key benefit of choosing private medical insurance.

Last year, The Guardian published an article stating that NHS waiting times were the worst they had ever been in 7 years. The average wait for an operation on the NHS was 10 weeks. Could you afford to be off work for that long?

Private health insurance is designed to get you fast access to the diagnosis, treatment and care you need. It allows you a choice of appointment times, consultants and hospitals, which gives you the flexibility to fit in your health around your work and business.

Types of insurance for the self-employed

Now you’ve decided to secure insurance, you need to consider what type of policy will best suit you.

The health and protection insurance market is an ever-growing and ever-changing landscape, and there are countless variations on policies making it difficult to find what you’re looking for.

Here are the main types of personal insurance:

  • Life insurance: A long-term policy designed to payout to your dependants should you pass away.

  • Critical illness insurance: A long-term policy designed to payout a lump sum if you were diagnosed with one of a list of serious illnesses.

  • Income protection insurance: A long-term policy designed to pay out monthly if you became ill and were unable to work.

  • Health insurance: A policy designed to give you access to fast, high quality private medical care, as a supplement to the NHS.

At Towergate Health & Protection, we help self-employed business people find health and medical insurance.

We also help large businesses with the other types of insurance when they’re offered as employee benefits.

What to look for in a private medical insurance policy

No-one underestimates the financial strains of being self-employed, so finding a cost effective policy is often the number one requirement.

The good news is that choice is out there – insurance policies these days are often designed to be modular – a core policy concept with ‘pick-and-mix’ style extras you can add on or take off at additional cost.

Here’s the main policy factors you might want to consider.

  • Your hospital list – Different insurance policies give you access to different groups of hospitals, often classed by standard or location. Think about the hospital you’d want to seek treatment in.

  • Diagnostic cover – The most basic PMI policies just cover your treatments when staying in hospital. If you wanted fast and private access to consultants and diagnostic tests (often before a surgery is decided upon) you might want to add further benefits

  • In patient cash benefits – This is an option where you could receive a small cash sum per night you must stay in hospital. It can be a handy way to start offsetting the costs of lost work for those days. However, most insurers will cap the amount you can claim in a year, so you may want to think about an income protection policy if you are looking to protect your income.

  • Six week wait – Some plans offer you an option to reduce the cost of your premiums, by only offering treatment if you’ve waited more than 6 weeks for an appointment on the NHS. If your business could manage without you for up to 6 weeks, this may be worth considering.

  • Physiotherapy cover – Depending on the nature of your work, you may want to consider adding a physiotherapy option onto your plan, to help correct any conditions that do arise and get you back to working comfortably.

  • International cover – If you find yourself travelling for business, you may want to see if a health insurance policy could be upgraded to allow you access to overseas medical treatments too.

Need some help finding the right insurance policy for you?

At Towergate Health & Protection we’re one of the UK’s leading health insurance brokers, meaning we’re experts at finding you an insurance policy that fits your needs, and your budget.

For free, impartial advice, contact us today.

Chase Templeton Limited is registered in England and Wales No. 3299980 – registered address: 5 Arkwright Court, Blackburn Interchange, Darwen, BB3 0FG. Towergate Underwriting Group Limited is registered in England and Wales No. 4043759 – registered address: Towergate House Eclipse Park Sittingbourne Road Maidstone Kent ME14 3EN.  VAT Registration No: 447284724.