Private Healthcare Insurance for freelancers
With the number of UK freelancers on the rise, insurers are adapting their offerings to better suit those who’ve gone solo. This includes freelancer Private Health Insurance, which covers the cost of medical treatment in private hospitals.
This guide provides a brief overview of Health Insurance, covering:
- What it is
- How it works
- Its benefits
- Paying premiums and taxation.
We also offer access to preferential rates on premiums via our trusted healthcare partner WPA, an independent insurance adviser with access to the entire UK Health Insurance market.
What is health insurance?
Private Health Insurance pays for medical care in private UK hospitals. It lets you skip NHS waiting lists and get treatment for eligible conditions exactly when you need it the most.
For freelancers, Health Insurance can be especially important. This is because many freelance workers aren’t entitled to sick pay. Prompt treatment for medical issues is therefore vital to get you back on their feet, returning you to your full earning potential.
How does private health insurance work?
Ultimately this depends on the policy options you choose. The main decision that impacts how Health Insurance works is whether you opt for outpatient cover on your plan.
Outpatient cover provides access to diagnostic tests and scans and all other treatment not requiring a hospital bed. This is opposed to inpatient treatment, which involves you staying in a hospital bed (typically after surgery).
Inpatient treatment is covered as standard, but outpatient care is an optional extra. Adding it means you can have private consultations, tests and scans to diagnose an illness. Not having it means you would have to wait for an NHS outpatient appointment for your diagnosis.
Treatment starts with a GP referral for a diagnosis. If you have outpatient cover, the insurer pays for you to have these investigations privately. Then, if you need inpatient care such as surgery, your policy pays for this as well.
Why choose freelancer health insurance?
We’re incredibly lucky to have the NHS in the UK taking care of all of our healthcare for free. However, the system has faced sustained pressure due to a funding squeeze and greater demand for its services. As a result, waiting lists have become longer.
This could mean a wait of weeks or even months for treatment. If your condition eats into your ability to work and earn, a lack of sick pay for freelancers means you could face a very difficult time financially while you wait.
The main benefit of Health Insurance is that you’ll be seen faster than under the NHS. You’ll also have access to some of the UK’s best private hospitals.
Another big advantage is that a policy usually gives you access to drugs and treatments that may not be available on the NHS for cost reasons. This is particularly the case when it comes to cancer care, where the NHS has not approved some drugs and therapies due to their cost.
Can my limited company pay for my health insurance?
If you’re a freelancer operating through a limited company, you can use your limited company to pay your Health Insurance premiums.
However, it’s important to recognise that HMRC considers premiums a P11D benefit in kind when you purchase freelancer Health Insurance this way.
HMRC effectively recognises P11D benefits as part of your overall remuneration. The most common approach HMRC takes to reconcile this is to adjust your tax code by the same amount as the premiums your limited company is paying so you can earn less before being subject to tax.
Also note that you’ll have to pay employer’s national insurance contributions on the premiums, which stand at 13.8%.
We always recommend discussing the pros and cons of paying for Health Insurance through your business with your accountant.
However, even with the fact that Private Health Insurance is a P11D benefit and you pay employer’s national insurance contributions on premiums, this option still typically works out more cost-effective for most freelancers over paying for cover personally. This is due to the tax savings on premiums compared to a personal Health Insurance policy you pay for from post-tax earnings.
Get health insurance quotes & expert advice from WPA
WPA’s Flexible Health range puts you in control, so you can create exactly the right policy for your own personal needs. With three policies to choose from, and additional Optional Extras to enhance your chosen cover, you can enjoy certainty and peace of mind, whatever life has in store. Whichever policy you choose, you can administer it easily through the WPA Health app. Flexible Health also includes Remote GP Services and a Health and Wellbeing Helpline as standard.
FreelanceUK has negotiated preferential rates for you and your family when purchasing health insurance from WPA. In addition, as a small business owner you could qualify for our self-employed discount which means that you can benefit from even lower premiums. To check the qualifying criteria visit wpa.org.uk/qualify.
There are a range of joining (underwriting) terms available and no medical examination is required. A maximum joining age of 65 applies. Pre-existing and long-term medical conditions may not be covered. A 14-day deferment period applies to any symptom(s) or condition(s), whether diagnosed or not, which arise within the first 14 days of your policy commencing.
Visit wpa.org.uk/contractoruk for further information.
18th September 2020