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Self-employed health insurance explained

Find out how health insurance works if you’re self-employed, what it covers and what it doesn’t.

What is self-employed health insurance and what does it cover?

If you get sick and need healthcare, self-employed health insurance helps pay for private medical treatment. Rather than being seen on the NHS, you can use your private health insurance. This means you can avoid any lengthy GP and hospital waiting lists.

Health insurance for self-employed people covers a wide variety of medical treatments. Different insurers will cover different conditions and treatments, so it’s important that you do your research when picking who to join. It’ll usually cover things like GP appointments and hospital visits. Some insurers, like Vitality, also include cancer cover and mental health support. Always check what's included on your policy.

What is not covered by self-employed health insurance?

Health insurance for freelancers and self-employed people pays for private medical treatment. It doesn't replace your income if you need to take time off work. That's where having both health insurance and income protection insurance could be helpful.

There are some conditions where treatment isn't covered by health insurance. For example, most health insurance policies don't pay for the the treatment of long-term conditions. Like diabetes or asthma. They also don't pay for cosmetic procedures. Check with your insurer to make sure your policy includes cover for everything you need.

What are the benefits of self-employed health insurance?

If you’re self-employed and off work ill, you want to get treated as fast as possible. Then you can start earning money again. Private health insurance means no NHS waiting lists as private diagnosis is often much quicker. This means you’ll get answers faster and have greater peace of mind.

You’ll also get access to private hospitals, which can offer more personalised care. For example, if you need to stay in the hospital overnight, you may get your own private room. You may also get access to advanced treatments or new medication. All of this could help you return to work faster.

Is private health insurance tax deductible for the self-employed?

If you’re the director of a limited company or a sole trader, you can claim the insurance as a tax-deductible expense. To do this, make sure you buy a business health insurance policy, not a personal health insurance policy. If you buy a personal heath insurance policy, you might not be able to deduct it as a business expense.

If you’re a contractor working through a limited company, you must offset the costs of any premiums you pay against corporation tax. Your company must also pay Employers’ National Insurance Contributions. If you’re not sure what applies to you, it’s worth speaking to an accountant or the company you’re working for.

Should self-employed people consider other types of insurance?

By becoming self-employed, you lose some of the benefits of being an employee. These include sick pay, company health insurance or death in service benefits. So, it’s worth considering taking out cover to protect yourself. Besides health insurance, many self-employed people take out income protection insurance. This kind of cover pays you a regular income if you’re unable to work due to illness or injury.

You might also want to consider general life insurance as a self-employed person, too. If you passed away, your loved ones would receive a payout to cover living costs.

Critical and serious illness cover is another option. This insurance policy pays out if you get a serious illness. Different insurers have different options, but this is likely to include things like a heart attack or cancer. It can pay out a single sum for treatment, or the insurer might pay out each month while you recover. 

Find out more about our self-employed health insurance, or get a quote

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