Many people rely on you if you are self-employed, a fact seldom appreciated – an increasing number of the UK’s working population are self-employed and without doubt are their business’ most vital asset.
However, they do not enjoy the employee benefits of corporate medical insurance or sick pay so can less afford to be ill.
Customers do not pay you when you are unable to work, worse still, they will often contact someone else to help them if you are not available.
A recent survey of 300 self-employed persons (turning over £50,000 to £1m) indicates that whilst in many respects the NHS may be the envy of the world, it is often not up to their demands:
- Nearly one in 10 of the nation’s self-employed are losing money, at an average cost of over £1,600, due to the wait for NHS treatment
- Only one in five believe the NHS meets all their healthcare needs
- Nearly half (47%) have set up private medical insurance (PMI) policies to safeguard themselves against the risk of having to wait for treatment
Inevitably, we are going to be ill at some stage; the impact upon the self-employed can be wide-ranging, especially in comparison to the ‘employed’. Hence, the self-employed sensibly purchase health insurance not only to protect themselves and their loved ones but also their business.
If you own equipment or premises for your business, you will have them insured so that, should anything happen, you can continue to work. Health insurance protects you; it is there as a ‘sleeping partner’ which will step in to help if there is a medical problem that needs sorting quickly.
Although illness is often unscheduled, patients can determine how they get better. Appointments are at a time that suits, with the consultant/specialist who is best for the job. In its rawest form, PMI’s ‘unique selling point’ is to give customers control of how they get better.
Research at Western Provident Association proves that the self-employed claim less, therefore they offer premiums that are 25% lower than if you were an individual buying insurance – something other insurers fail to appreciate.
Premiums can be reduced even further by partnering with WPA using the “Shared Responsibility” concept, effectively an intelligent excess, where you agree to pay 25% of your claim up to an agreed annual maximum. Additionally, the days of one size fits all for medical insurance have long gone:- if you don’t travel abroad, don’t have the worldwide option!
No Claims Discounts are great for car insurance but are not an attractive option for health insurance as premiums can increase significantly following claims. Also, make sure that your care is clinically led – although insurers are financial service companies, some insurers dictate who you should be treated by and where you should be treated. WPA imposes no such restrictions.
About the author: Philip Arnold is an Appointed Representative of WPA, a not for profit association and one of the UK’s leading Medical Insurers. WPA offers medical insurance policies designed specifically for the self-employed and professionals offering preferential premiums.