Health Insurance

The NimbleFins Guide To Purchasing Business Health Insurance In The UK

Confused about business health insurance? You're not alone. Whether you're an employer or an employee, read our guide to find out more!

Happy and healthy employees are a fundamental component of any thriving business. Naturally, it's important to ensure their health and wellbeing needs are met to increase productivity and reduce absences. Business health insurance is certainly something that can support with this, and it comes with many benefits for both employers and employees alike.

So what is business health insurance and how does it work? We've put together a guide to help you understand the ins and outs of business health insurance so you can decide whether it is right for you or your business.

What is Business Health Insurance?

Business health insurance is a type of health insurance which helps employees to access private healthcare services when they need it most. In principle it is not dissimilar to individual private health insurance. The main difference is that a business will take out one policy to cover all of its employees who are free to accept or decline this offer.

Business health insurance can come in a few different forms with many insurers offering tailored plans for small businesses with a handful of employees all the way up to corporate enterprises with many hundreds or thousands. Typically, small business health insurance can cover businesses who have up to 249 employees, though this may vary from provider to provider. Corporate business insurance on the other hand typically covers business with 250+ employees.

How does Business Health Insurance work?

Business health insurance works in a slightly different way to individual private health insurance. Essentially your company is responsible for paying premiums on a business health insurance policy. If an employee opts in, it is considered a 'benefit in kind' or just simply a company benefit.

An employer must declare this benefit to HMRC, who can then tax employees accordingly. You can check your payslip to see exactly how much of your income is going towards your private healthcare — this amount should be listed under 'deductions'.

If you are an employer, you can find out more about how this process works by using the Governments guide to medical expenses and benefits here.

What does Business Health Insurance cover?

As with any type of insurance what is and isn't covered can vary significantly depending on the plan itself and the insurance provider who is offering it. Business health insurance may cover any or all of the following:

  • Fees associated with an inpatient or day-patient stay e.g., consultant and treatment fees
  • Imaging and diagnostic tests
  • Outpatient consultants and treatment
  • Cancer care cover
  • Mental health treatment
  • Access to a digital GP services

Some providers offer even more benefits, such as:

  • Physical health therapies e.g., physiotherapy
  • Alternative therapies e.g., acupuncture and osteopathy
  • Experimental or trial drugs that may be unavailable through the NHS
  • Private ambulance costs

Again, your exact level of cover will depend based on the type of plan you opt for and your insurance provider. As an employer it's important to think carefully about the specific needs of your employees — some jobs are inherently riskier than others!

As an employee, make sure you think about your own healthcare needs and compare this to what your employer is offering. The plan may not be right for you and you can always think about taking out more personalised individual private health insurance.

In both cases it's important to remember to read your policy documents, as these will have all the information you need from inclusions, limits, exclusions and information about the claims process.

What isn't covered by Business Health Insurance?

There are some common healthcare needs that are typically excluded from business health insurance. You may notice these are not dissimilar to the exclusions often seen in individual private health insurance policies.

Here are some common exclusions but note this list is not exhaustive and you may find some insurers offer specialist cover for some of these:

  • Emergency care
  • Cosmetic procedures
  • Pregnancy and childbirth
  • Pre-existing conditions
  • Treatment for substance misuse
  • Treatment required for an injuries you have sustained through playing sports

Again, make sure you read an insurers policy documents carefully before you decide to sign on the dotted line. It's extremely important to be aware of what is and isn't covered by your policy to avoid getting into a sticky situation in the future.

How much is Business Health Insurance?

There are many factors that can affect the cost of business health insurance and these are certainly good to be aware of. Here are some of the common variables that may increase or decrease the cost of your premiums:

  • Number of employees: this may seem obvious but naturally costs do indeed rise with each additional employee
  • The age of your employees: as we get older we are more likely, on average, to require medical attention. It is for this reason that older people are deemed more 'risky' by insurers, as they are more likely to make a claim. So, if the older your workforce is, the higher your premiums will be!
  • Occupation: Some jobs are inherently riskier than others, and the higher the risk to your health the higher your premiums are likely to be. A construction business is likely to have higher premiums than, say, an office based IT company!
  • The level of cover: naturally the more comprehensive your plan is (i.e., the more it covers) the more expensive it will be!
  • The level of excess: an excess is the amount of money employees pay towards the cost of their treatment if they make a claim. The higher the excess, the lower your premiums are likely to be
  • Location: Yes, sadly your location can be a factor that insurers use to determine your premiums. Certain areas in the UK are thought to carry more health risks than others, London for example due to the fact it is heavily populated and with that comes higher levels of pollution! Others areas are simply more expensive overall, meaning medical costs are also more pricey (Sorry again, Londoners!).

Where can I purchase Business Health Insurance?

If you are an employer wondering how to go about purchasing business health insurance, there are a few different routes you can take:

  • Comparison websites
  • Direct from the insurer
  • Through an insurance broker

Applying for business health insurance doesn't have to be a complicated process and whichever route you take, there will always be people on hand to answer any questions you have. If you know what you want and just want a quick and easy way to compare providers, using an insurance comparison site could be an efficient way to get started.

However, if you are unsure then it could be better to speak to an insurance broker who can help you find the perfect business health insurance policy for you and your employees.

The best way to find an insurance broker is by using the British Insurance Brokers’ Association (BIBA) Find a Broker service. This way you can rest easy knowing your broker is regulated and authorized. By using a regulated broker you are protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme should you have a bad experience or need to make a complaint. You can do this through the Financial Ombudsman Service.

Do I really need Business Health Insurance?

Business health insurance is not a legal requirement in the UK. With that being said, offering your employees health insurance is certainly an attractive perk! Remember, the health and wellbeing of a company's employees is extremely important. Happy and healthy employees are likely to be more productive and are less likely to take absences due to sickness.

Here are some of the key benefits of having business health insurance:

  • Attractive to new candidates
  • Prioritizes employees health and wellbeing, which can increase productivity and workplace satisfaction
  • Reduces the amount of time employees may need to take off due to poor health
  • Employees can skip NHS waiting lists, meaning faster access to healthcare services
  • Cover for treatments not available through the NHS, which may contribute to better recovery
  • Flexibility for employees to choose the time and location of their treatment promoting a good work-life balance


Whilst business health insurance is not a legal requirement in the UK, it comes with a range of benefits that positively impact your employees and in turn, your business. Your workforce are a fundamental part of any business success, so we would recommend considering business health insurance.

No — you are free to choose whether or not to opt in, though your employer may offer you some healthcare benefits as standard at their discretion! If you are unsure about whether it is right for you, we'd urge you to read our guide and consider your own healthcare needs. If you are still unsure you can always talk to your employer, an insurer or a broker.

This depends on the insurer. Some offer cover for businesses with 1 employee as a minimum whilst others require you to have at least 2-3 employees. If you're a company with only a few employees just be aware that your premiums are not likely to be all that different from individual private health insurance.

Emily Bunt

Emily is a psychology graduate from the University of Kent, who is currently contributing to the health insurance content at NimbleFins. She also works in healthcare strategy and planning at Lexica. Prior to this she worked in market research at Kantar, investigating consumer behaviour and decision making, as well as in a supporting role in the field of mental health. Learn more at LinkedIn.