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There are many decisions that need to be made when self-employed: business strategy, marketing approach, and company ethos, amongst others. With the dozens of decisions that need to be made every day, sometimes health insurance can slip to the bottom of the pile. However, if you’re self-employed, it’s something that could make or break a business. Here’s our guide on being self-employed and health insurance.
Being self-employed brings with it a raft of benefits such as flexibility and control over your day-to-day, choice over how and where you work, plus that extra slice of the profit-pie that you wouldn’t otherwise see. However, to misquote a famous comic book saying, more power, means more responsibility, so were you to fall ill, how would your business cope? Unlike working under the traditional corporate hierarchy where you could perhaps take a few days off and still be paid, for many entrepreneurs, if they’re not working, they’re not generating income for the business or for themselves – how long could your business sustain itself if you were unable to work having been struck down by a serious illness? What you want is to be able to get treated quickly and well, so that you are back on form as soon as possible and able to run the business again. Not only that, but you wouldn’t want these high medical costs to eat into your earnings and savings for the year, which could well be put back into the business instead.
Indeed there is arguably a lot more pressure when you’re ill as someone self-employed to make sure you have access to the best healthcare available so that you can get back to business as soon as possible, and with the least amount of cost to you and your company.
We compare plans from the leading health insurance providers
As someone who manages their own business, health insurance has numerous benefits. Firstly, and most importantly, it can get you the care and treatment you needed swiftly and of the highest standard, whilst managing your financial outlay and time together effectively. The speed of treatment works to your advantage especially when you consider you will have more appointment times to work around your business schedule, rather than having to take the first available time-slot, even if it interrupts a critical meeting with clients or stakeholders.
If you have employees, a health insurance plan will reap further benefits. This is an attractive work-perk for many, and can attract the most talented candidates. Needless to say, attracting the best employees can help grow and expand your business, whilst also looking out for your employees’ wellbeing at the same time. Moreover this can decrease sick days (since people will have access to treatment quicker) which in turn reduces the amount of staff absences from illness. This type of perk also improves staff morale, which all goes to keep company spirits high. If you do purchase health insurance under the context of a business enterprise, you may well be able to offset the costs as a business expense, making its purchase more financially and tax efficient.
If you purchase medical insurance you could be able to offset these costs by deducting tax from the policy as a business expense. If you are the director of a limited Company or a sole trader with employees, then you can deduct health insurance from your taxes as a business expense. If however you are a freelancer, or a sole trader without any employees then you will not have access to this tax relief as it is classed as a personal expense.
If you are recently self-employed you might still have a healthcare policy from your previous employer still in force. If you had a work-place benefit that provided you with a healthcare policy, then it might be valid up to three months after you have left the company. Be sure to check with the provider, so that you don’t end up purchasing an additional healthcare policy that you don’t need. It’s also worth inquiring if you can continue the policy yourself especially if it offers coverage that you are happy with.
There are different types of cover plus additional ones you can add to your policy to enhance its coverage potential. The most common coverage type is known as inpatient care, or “core cover” – this pays for costs and expenses of treatment once in hospital for longer term treatment. You can also purchase outpatient cover that includes diagnostic tests and scans to find out of the root causes of any symptoms you’re suffering from. It also pays for any additional treatment outside of hospital you might need with further specialists. If you are looking for the best and most comprehensive healthcare insurance available, inpatient and outpatient cover will be the best option.
Healthcare insurance gives you a wide choice of hospitals from which to get treated at. This is useful if you are traveling domestically frequently and will benefit from this. At the same time, you can lower the costs of your insurance by electing to reduce coverage only to hospitals local to you – this might be an option if you’re trying to optimize your insurance costs and don’t travel frequently.
Healthcare insurance might not be the only medically-related policy you should think about purchasing as a self-employed person. If you get diagnosed with a long-term illness that completely incapacitates your ability to come back to work, then Income Protection insurance can provide you with a one-off payment that helps you on a longer-term basis. In addition to this, you can purchase Key Employee Insurance that provides your business with a suitable replacement if you (as an essential employee to your business) falls ill.