Average Cost of Small Business Health Insurance 2021

A small business owner typically pays in the range of £20 to £100 per employee for health insurance. To see how health insurance costs vary based on factors like the age and number of employees, as well as the level of cover, we've run some numbers with Bupa, the largest private health care provider in the UK. Here's what we found.

How much does health insurance cost for a small business?

Health insurance for a small business costs around £200 a month for a small business with 5 employees. But what about larger businesses? The chart below shows how costs change as your business grows assuming your employees are in their early 40s. As you can see, prices rise linearly with the number of employees.

chart showing the average cost of health insurance for a small business UK
The cost of health insurance rises in line with the number of employees

Average small business health insurance cost per employee

The typical cost of small business health insurance on a per employee basis is around £45 a month, but can range from around £23 to £100 a month or more depending on employee ages and the tier of cover. Employees in their 50s cost around 2X as much to insure as employees in their 20s. Other factors like the excess would also affect the rate.

Small business health insurance cost per employeeAged 21-25Aged 31-35Aged 41-45Aged 51-55Aged 61-65
Low tier£23£26£34£48£77
Middle tier£27£30£38£54£87
High tier£27£32£42£61£102

For these examples, the low tier plans include lower out-patient limits, less complementary medicine coverage and a smaller network of eligible hospitals, but all include full cancer treatment and the same number of days of mental health cover.

chart showing the average cost of health insurance per employee for a small business UK
Per employee, expect to pay anywhere from £20 to £100 or so per month for health insurance

Small business health insurance cost calculator

To calculate how much health insurance might cost for your small business, use the table below to look up estimates based on the number of employees and their ages. These figures are estimates for a sample business quoting for a mid-tier policy. Rates could differ by 10% - 30% for a lower or higher tier of cover.

Small Business Health Insurance Costs by Number of EmployeesAged 21-25Aged 31-35Aged 41-45Aged 51-55Aged 61-65
1 employee£27£30£38£54£87
2 employees£53£60£77£108£174
3 employees£80£90£115£163£262
4 employees£106£120£154£217£349
5 employees£133£150£192£271£436
6 employees£160£180£230£325£523
7 employees£186£210£269£379£610
8 employees£213£240£307£434£698
9 employees£239£271£346£488£785
10 employees£266£301£384£542£872
15 employees£399£451£576£813£1,308
20 employees£532£601£768£1,084£1,744
25 employees£665£752£960£1,355£2,180
30 employees£798£902£1,152£1,626£2,616
35 employees£931£1,052£1,344£1,897£3,052
40 employees£1,064£1,202£1,536£2,168£3,488
45 employees£1,197£1,353£1,728£2,439£3,924
50 employees£1,330£1,503£1,920£2,710£4,360
75 employees£1,995£2,255£2,880£4,065£6,540
100 employees£2,660£3,006£3,840£5,420£8,720

Should I buy health insurance for my small business?

Health insurance is a perk that many small businesses are offering to employees now as they compete to offer attractive packages to applicants. While not required, it is a feature that can tip the scales for a potential employee deciding between multiple job offers.

In a similar sense, certain types of small business insurance can attract employees. Any small business hiring a senior manager, director or officer would want to consider buying a directors & officers insurance policy, for example, as this protects these key people from being sued for doing a poor job.

What factors affect the cost of business health insurance?

The most obvious factor is the number of employees, as costs rise with each additional employee. In addition, the age of your employees will affect your health insurance costs as well. Employees in their 60s can cost around 2.5X as much to insure as employees in their 20s. This is not a surprise as older people tend to have more health issues. The level of cover is also a big factor, with premium plans costing up to 35% more than basic plans. This difference in prices across tiers is more pronounced for older employees, whereas there's not a huge price increase for premium plans when insuring young employees.

Next we'll look at health insurance costs per employee and overall for different business sizes. Note: the figures in this study all reflect an excess of £100 per person per year. The excess is the amount an employee pays towards treatment.

How can you save money on small business health insurance?

Here are some ways to save money on health insurance for your small business employees.

  • Excess. Raising the excess (the amount an employee pays towards cover) should lower the insurance rate.
  • Reduced outpatient cover. Policies with lower limits of insurance will be cheaper. Plans with unlimited cover will cost the most.
  • Hospital access. You may find higher-tier policies offer access to a wider network of hospitals. Going for a smaller network might result in a cheaper rate.
  • Discounts. UK health insurers offer discounts from time to time. For example, Bupa was offering 20% off to new customers at the beginning of 2021.

Methodology

To learn about the cost of small business health insurance in the UK, we received quotes from Bupa for sample businesses of different sizes, with different employee age profiles. We broke down the data on a per employee basis as well as for a business as a whole. Rates for your small business might vary significantly.

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