Small business health insurance

Invest in the health and wellbeing of your team with small business health insurance.

What is small business health insurance?

Business health insurance gives employees access to private healthcare services in the UK. Depending on the level of cover you opt for, you're team will be able to receive treatment for everything from inpatient and day-patient surgeries to outpatient consultations and mental health support.

Benefits of small business health insurance

When small businesses provide private health insurance to their employees, it doesn't just benefit them; it benefits the business too.

Benefits for employees

  • Fast access - Waiting times for consultations and treatment are typically far less in the private sector than in the NHS.
  • Flexible appointments - Your team will have greater flexibility over their medical appointments, where they take place and when.
  • 24/7 virtual GP services - Your employees can speak to a GP online or via the phone anytime, including evenings and weekends.
  • Discounted gym membership - Many providers offer discounts and incentives to encourage healthy living.

Benefits for employers

  • Employee retention - Providing private healthcare helps you keep hold of your best employees.
  • Attract the best talent - Offering health insurance could be a key differentiator between you and another employer.
  • Higher productivity - If your employees are healthy, they take fewer days off work, so your business can keep running smoothly.
  • Outside-work appointments - Flexible appointments mean your team don't necessarily have to take time off work to visit the doctor.

How does business health insurance work?

Here's how a typical business health insurance policy works:



Speak with us and compare providers and policies, selecting the best for your employees and business.


After the start date of your policy, your company pays monthly premiums to the insurer.

Make a claim

If an employee becomes unwell and requires treatment, they can claim on the health insurance policy.

Get better

They get treatment from private healthcare professionals.

The precise time your employees can go private for their consultations and treatments will depend on the level of cover you opt for, so please speak to us, and we'll help you configure your policy.

What our customers say

What does business health insurance cover?

As with all insurance policies, what you get depends on your provider and how much you pay.The most significant difference between basic and more comprehensive policies is whether they include outpatient diagnosis and treatment.

Basic policies

Most small business health insurance plans will offer your team the following:

  • Inpatient care - If an employee needs treatment at a private hospital for an acute medical condition, your small business health insurance will cover it.
  • 24/7 healthcare access - Employees can access a health information phone line where they can speak to a doctor or nurse anytime.
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Comprehensive policies

Depending on the provider you use, you can get other services to enhance your policy and make it more comprehensive:

  • Outpatient cover - Some policies will cover you for treatment which does not require a stay in hospital. Examples of outpatient treatment include minor surgery and outpatient consultations.
  • Cancer treatment - If an employee is diagnosed with cancer, your health insurance will cover the costs of radiotherapy, chemotherapy, inpatient care, specialist therapy and any necessary surgery.
  • Mental health support - Most comprehensive policies will include access to a helpline for mental health issues.
  • Diagnostic tests - Getting tested quickly is essential for a speedy recovery. A policy that covers X-rays, MRI and blood tests could pay dividends for your small business.
Young business team in a semi circle

Additional cover options

Health insurers also allow you to add extras to your plan to give your employees even more comprehensive healthcare, including:

  • Mental health cover - As well as access to a helpline, you can add mental health treatment from a psychiatrist, psychologist, therapist or counsellor.
  • Alternative therapy - Treatment outside the traditional doctor or hospital setting. For example, a chiropractor or acupuncturist.
  • Routine dental and optical - Your health insurance policy can also contribute to the cost of regular check-ups with an optician or dentist.
  • Travel cover - Your policy can include cover for short trips abroad.
  • Cover for family members - You have the option to extend healthcare coverage to your employees' immediate family.
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What's excluded?

While policies can be very comprehensive, there will be some common exclusions the providers will outline in their documentation. Typical exclusions include:

  • Chronic conditions - While most healthcare cover plans now include cancer care, other conditions that require long-term or indefinite rehabilitation are excluded. For example, recurring heart problems or kidney dialysis are unlikely to be included.
  • Pre-existing conditions Health insurance only covers conditions or accidents that began after the start date of your policy. Your insurer will ask about any pre-existing conditions your employees may have, and they may need to provide proof.
  • Self-inflicted injuries - Your policy will not cover injuries that result from choices, such as participating in dangerous sports.
  • Drug and alcohol use - If your staff members need treatment due to drug addiction or alcohol dependence, your insurance will not cover this.
  • Routine pregnancy - Pregnancy check-ups and childbirth do not tend to be covered by private healthcare. You must pay for it yourself or use the NHS.

We keep things simple with straightforward, honest advice.

Insurance can be complicated at times, so our priority is to keep things simple and give you the facts you need to make a decision. We don’t rush or push clients in a given direction - it’s vital you come away feeling confident in your choice.

Kingsley Agbo, Senior Broker
Kingsley Agbo

How health insurance can support mental health in the workplace

Employees' mental health is a top priority for small businesses. Too many working days are lost to team members struggling mentally .While no small business owner wants to create an unhealthy environment for their team, the high workloads and tight deadlines associated with working in a small business can affect people's mental health.

As a result, many business owners spend time devising strategies to improve mental wellbeing in their workplaces. Small business health insurance can be central to these strategies, especially as mental health care can be hard to access via the NHS.

Mental health add on options

Depending on the cover you choose, you may be able to add a broad range of mental health options, including:

  • Direct referrals - no need to see a GP before you can see a specialist
  • Employer support - Support for small business owners around how to identify and alleviate mental wellbeing problems in the workplace

A workplace centred around wellbeing is a happy and productive workplace. Invest in your staff's mental health and watch your business thrive.

Leading providers of business health insurance

The UK's four major insurance providers offer small business health insurance to business owners and sole traders. Let's look at each of them in turn:

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Aviva logo


Aviva is an award-winning provider offering private healthcare cover options for businesses with between 1 and 249 employees. It aims to be as flexible as possible, giving staff members access to the treatment they need on their terms.

When you take out small business health insurance with Aviva, you and your team receive the following:

  • A choice of private hospitals across the UK
  • Extensive cancer coverage
  • Ongoing wellbeing support

Standard cover includes acute cover, cancer cover, treatment for musculoskeletal pain and a mental health helpline. You can also add additional benefits, including dental and optical care, diagnostic tests and GP-referred services.

Bupa Logo


Bupa offers small business health insurance for businesses with 50 employees or fewer. Choose from four different cover options, with higher premiums giving you a higher level of cover.

If you take out the base level of health insurance with Bupa, your team members will get the following:

  • Access to 300+ Bupa partnership medical facilities
  • Cancer treatment paid in full
  • Some outpatient care paid in full - including outpatient MRI and CT scans

Bupa's base cover level also offers outpatient coverage for consultations, X-rays and diagnostic tests up to £1,000 per year. There's also mental health inpatient and day patient treatment, access to a digital GP, and cover for eligible muscle, bone and joint conditions.

Axa PPP logo

AXA Health

AXA Health recognises that having a happy, healthy team is essential to a thriving business. AXA Health has a range of excellent health insurance solutions for small businesses with an employee headcount between 1 and 249.

Here's what your team can access with AXA Health, depending on the policy you choose:

  • Unlimited access to telehealth services, including 24/7 online AXA doctor appointments (up to 20 minutes per appointment, subject to availability and DCA fair use policy)
  • Fast access to specialist treatment when you add diagnostics to your health insurance plan
  • Cover for cancer and heart conditions with 24/7 phone care from experienced nurses

You can also get up to 40% off for your people at Nuffield Health, fitness and wellbeing centres. Let AXA Health help you build a tailored plan to match your business needs and budget.

Vitality logo


Vitality's small to medium-business health insurance is there to help you make a real difference to your employees.

With the Full Cover Promise, your staff can get the following:

  • Hospital care - If you need to stay in hospital, Vitality will pay consultant's fees in full for any eligible treatment, including diagnostics and scans
  • Mental wellbeing - Up to eight in-person sessions with therapists and counsellors
  • Online doctor care through the Vitality GP app

As with many Vitality insurance products, you and your people can earn rewards when you look after your health better. Rewards include money off an Apple Watch and a weekly barista coffee.

What affects the cost of a small business health insurance policy?

The premiums you pay your provider for small business health insurance will depend on several factors, including:

  • Number of employees - How many people you choose to cover on the policy.
  • Age of employees - If your team are older, it will cost more to insure them.
  • Level of cover - The higher the cover and the more add-ons, the higher your premiums.
  • Claims history - If you make many claims on your health insurance, it will cost more to renew in the future.
  • Location - If your business is located in an area where private healthcare is more expensive (such as London), your health premiums may be higher
  • Outpatient care - Adding outpatient care is excellent for your people, but it does mean higher premiums.
  • Choice of hospital list - The more hospitals and medical facilities available to your people under your policy, the more expensive it will be.
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Underwriting methods

The underwriting method is the final factor that affects how your premiums are calculated. Here are the four options for underwriting:

Fully Medically Underwritten

This type of underwriting won't cover pre-existing conditions. You and your team must declare your medical history when you take out your health insurance.

Two-year moratorium

Your insurance will cover pre-existing conditions after two years of continuous membership as long as the person has been free of symptoms for two years.

Continued medical exclusions

If you're moving providers, this underwriting method transfers the underwriting arrangement you had with your previous provider to your new one.

Medical history disregarded

All pre-existing conditions are covered with no requirement to disclose your medical history (typically reserved for companies with 25 staff or more).
Compare the UK's leading providers of small business health insurance

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