Corporate health insurance is no longer just for big corporations, as SMEs and start-ups make up a big portion of the market. However, there are so many myths out there that it’s not viable for small businesses to provide private health insurance for their employees, due to the sheer cost of it as well as that there needs to be a certain number of employees.
According to advisory firm Willis Towers Watson, a significant proportion of companies are seeking to boost expenditure in key areas, especially when it comes to enhancing their employees’ wellbeing, and one avenue to do this is through private company health insurance. In yesteryear, this was only preserved for that of large corporations, however nowadays it is becoming very commons for SMEs and start-ups, looking to attract and retain their talent.
It’s mind-blowing to note that there were 5.5 million small businesses in the UK in 2021, together they contribute £2,273 billion towards the economy – over half of UK’s total turnover. 36,100 SMEs employ over 50 staff, 4.6 million of them employ just themselves as a sole trader, where 95% of SMEs employ between 0-9 employees.
Therefore, this is not a market segment to dismiss and it’s so important to dispel the myths.
Myth 1: If there’s no designated person to handle it, it’s too admin heavy and won’t happen
It is understandable for small businesses that there is a lot of administration at the best of times, however adding in private healthcare without a designated person to handle it, seems dauting, due to the expansiveness of policies on the market, shopping around for the most suitable products and then ensuring all forms are in order.
However, as many SMEs don’t have staff designated to manage benefits such as insurance, many health insurers are revamping and creating a transparent, user-friendly journey which is simple and intuitive for the layman to understand. In addition, using an expert insurance broker is the most cost effective and efficient as they are there to do all the leg-work (so to speak), and will present an array of options within budget to suit the organisation’s needs and will take care of everything thereafter. A Broker will check all the premiums on your behalf, including age, health history, and lifestyle, as well as the type of cover you want to take out.
Myth 2: Private health insure is too expensive for SMEs and start-ups
The cost of private health insurance for SMEs and start-ups usually depends on the kind of plan you choose. For example, a insurance policy that covers access to a GP, physiotherapist, health support and a health check will be less dear than one that gives access to diagnostics and treatment. The cost of the insurance policy will depend on a wide range of elements, some of which the business is able to control, while others are out of control:
- The number of employees you want to insure
- The level of cover
- Average age of the group
- Your geographical location
- Your industry and occupation
- Optional cover add-ons
A private health insurance broker will be able to find relevant policies to compliment and match the budget at hand.
Myth 3: You need to have a certain number of employees
There is no minimum amount of employees needed for private health insurance to be taken out. Most small business health insurance policies are available for both sole traders and businesses with a few employees employees.
The number of employees that are enrolled will impact not just the cost of the policy, but also the options available to you, including underwriting. Below are some options of the number of employee sizes:
- The business owner / sole trader
- Any employees that the owner chooses to cover
- Any partners and children (aged 25 and under) of the owner and / or employees
Generally speaking, if a policy includes the owner as well as employees, the cover will start 21 days after you take out your policy. This is to give employees time to increase cover levels or add family members if necessary. If you’re the business owner and you’re only taking cover out for yourself and your family, your cover will start on the day after you purchase it.
Myth 4: Only employees benefit from Private Health Care, not the employer
When deciding what employee benefits to offer to your team, it beneficial to weigh up the pros for both the employee and employer alike. It goes without saying that employees will have peace of mind knowing that they’re covered and looked after. A study by the Centre for Economics and Business Research found that employee absences of six months or more costs the UK £4.17 billion each year.
There’s also corresponding benefits for employers too. Especially now during COVID-19 and the uncertainty of the future of work, talent is the backbone of many businesses, especially for SMEs who can feel the impact of illness and long-term absence even more acutely, as a larger company may be able to spread the workload among other employees to manage absences, SMEs don’t have the resources.
Ensuring employees are rightly covered will provide them with swift access to medical appointments and treatment, which will help to prevent medical issues escalating, and mitigating the chance of a short-term absence becoming long term.
Myth 5: Health insurance is not linked to employee retention
Keeping your employees happy can have a plethora of positive consequences for your company including employee engagement, increased productivity, less absenteeism and reduced staff turnover to name a few. When employees feel looked after, cared for and that their wellbeing is taken into account, they generally work and respond in a more betrothed manner, feeling more loyal to the company. Employees will most certainly feel a sense of belonging knowing their employer wants them to be healthy, safe and happy.
In today’s saturated market, prospect and current employees have the ability to look around for the best possible package available, be it salary and benefits. Employers need to offer something that will stand out from its competitors, be it with a competitive salary and a top-class employee benefits package. Since COVID-19, the most sought-after benefit is access to private health care, as health and wellbeing is in the spotlight for everyone, especially with the very-long waiting times on NHS.
Whilst we may have put some of the most common myths to sleep, there are plenty more out there, which is why it is so important to speak to a Health Insurance Expert who specialises in SMEs and start-ups.