How health insurance for tech companies works

Tech companies can buy a group health insurance policy to cover every employee. As group health insurance plans let your health insurance provider spread their claims risk over multiple people, they typically cost less per head than individual health insurance plans.

Business health insurance plans typically provide core cover and allow you to tailor your policy by adding optional extras. Once you start paying your health insurance premiums, your employees will be covered and can claim treatment when needed.

The benefits of health insurance for tech companies

Health insurance gives your employees quick access to private healthcare so they can get back to work, whether key staff members in your new startup or essential team members in a larger business. Health insurance is a valuable part of your employee benefits package and makes your staff feel valued, helping you increase employee engagement and retain talent.

What do tech companies need from their health insurance?

Group health insurance plans have various features that let you tailor your cover to your needs. We'll discuss health insurance policies and the optional extras that will benefit tech companies shortly.

However, your health insurance needs will likely change depending on the number of employees your business has and whether you're a new or established company.

Health insurance for startups

As a new startup, you may be reluctant to invest in a health insurance plan as you'd rather keep costs low initially. Administering a health insurance scheme can be time-consuming when you're already working long hours. Equally, you may not qualify for group health insurance if you're a one-person business.

There are solutions. You can make your scheme voluntary, meaning employees pay the premiums if they want to join. You can also choose a basic policy or cash plan to reduce costs. Many small business health insurance policies are available to one-person registered companies, or you can buy an individual plan and pay for it through the business.

Cash plans

Cash plans can be ideal for startups as they're typically cheaper than private health insurance. Although cash plans don't cover private treatment, they pay cashback on workers' routine healthcare costs and NHS treatment.

Most plans pay a fixed amount for NHS care, such as a night in a hospital. Employees can also claim out-of-pocket costs for optical, dental, and physiotherapy treatment.

Health insurance for SMEs

Small business health insurance is typically available to businesses with up to 249 employees. Some policies cover one person, while others require a minimum of two. Health insurance companies differ in their approaches. Most provide a basic policy and you can add optional extras. Others take a modular approach, so you can build a bespoke plan.

The difference between small business health insurance and corporate plans is typically in the additional services they offer.

Corporate health insurance

Corporate health insurance plans are structured like small business plans, offering health benefits you can tailor to your business needs.

However, the optional extras available reflect the demands of managing a larger workforce, such as outsourced occupational health or crisis management support.

What does basic health insurance cover?

Most health insurers provide a basic policy to all customers, comprising core cover and services that every employee can access.

Here's what you'll find on most policies.

In-patient and day-patient treatment

Both in-patient and day-patient treatment take place in a hospital. The only real difference is that day patients go home to sleep while in-patients stay overnight.

Your employee health insurance will cover accommodation and treatment costs, including consultant fees and medication. It may also fund some post-surgery rehabilitation.

Out-patient tests or procedures

You'll typically only get full out-patient cover with a comprehensive policy, but many providers now include some out-patient care in their core policies. Some policies offer out-patient procedures such as cataract surgery. Others provide consultant appointments, diagnostic tests, and scans so your employees can benefit from private diagnoses even if your health insurance doesn't cover their treatment.

Cancer cover

Every health insurance provider includes cancer care in their core policies, probably due to the statistic that 50% of us will get cancer at some point.

Coverage varies, with some providers sticking to the basics, such as chemotherapy, radiotherapy, and surgery. Others offer more extensive support, like advice on wigs and prosthetics. Depending on your chosen provider, employees may have access to cutting-edge treatments such as stem cell transplants or proton beam therapy.

Virtual GP appointments and telephone helplines

Getting an appointment with your NHS GP can be a challenge. Every insurer offers a 24/7 virtual GP with video or telephone appointments, so your team can access advice and treatment that fits their other commitments.

Telephone helplines range from nurse-led helplines to specialist advice from pharmacists, midwives and counsellors. These aren't usually available 24/7 but have extended opening hours.

Reward and discount programs

Most insurers have reward or discount programs enabling your staff to save money on what they usually buy. Many programs now provide extra rewards to employees who hit healthy living targets.

You'll typically find discounts on gym memberships, fitness-tracking technology, holidays, and health support such as stop-smoking programs, health screening and mindfulness apps.

Some providers include health checks and support employees to set health goals. Depending on the size of your business, you can also access data insights to support your company's well-being strategy.

Optional extras for tech companies

Including additional health insurance options in your policy extends the available range of treatments. Many insurers let you set financial policy limits, giving you more control over your premiums and coverage tailored to your workforce.

Here are a few policy elements that are well worth adding.

Comprehensive out-patient cover

Many basic health insurance policies include either diagnostic tests or out-patient procedures, but not both. This can mean your employees face longer waiting times as they must wait for an NHS diagnosis before accessing treatment via their private health insurance. Alternatively, they may have private diagnostic tests and then need to join an NHS waiting list for treatment if their health insurance plan doesn't cover it.

Comprehensive out-patient cover provides the best of both worlds, giving employees a seamless experience from diagnosis to treatment, regardless of the care they need.

Therapies cover

Some out-patient coverage includes physiotherapy, osteopathy or chiropractic treatment, while others offer these separately. Most basic policies include up to eight physiotherapy sessions without a GP referral.

However, many tech companies are office-based. Employees spend most of their time sitting, putting them at increased risk of musculoskeletal issues, so health insurance with access to more treatment sessions will likely be beneficial. Therapies coverage can also include alternative therapies such as acupuncture if you want to provide them.

Enhanced mental health support

Most basic policies include some counselling sessions and may provide a mental health support helpline. However, tech companies can be stressful workplaces, particularly if you're a new startup.

Extended mental health support provides additional counselling or CBT sessions and in-patient or out-patient psychiatric care if needed.

Optical and dental

Optical and dental cover typically come as a package. As most tech industry employees work with screens, you have a legal duty to provide eye tests and glasses or contact lenses if needed for display screen work. Adding optical cover to your health insurance can be a cost-effective way to pay.

Your employees will likely appreciate dental coverage if they pay for private treatment. Depending on your chosen plan, it typically covers regular check-ups, x-rays, hygienist appointments, and routine and emergency treatment.

Family cover

Most insurance companies let employees add their children to the policy, and many offer discounted rates so employees can add all their children and only pay for the eldest. 24/7 GP appointments are ideal for families as parents can call for advice about a sick child in the middle of the night without leaving the house.

Demand for family cover will depend on your employees' family commitments. However, offering health benefits to employees' children demonstrates your commitment to their well-being, which can help you attract and retain top talent.

An extended hospital list

If your tech company is based in central London or another major city, an extended hospital list lets your employees access treatment close to home or work. Most policies include a standard list showing which treatment centres the policy covers. Private hospitals in larger cities typically have higher treatment costs due to higher wages, rents and utility bills. Rather than pass the cost to all their customers, insurers charge more for extended lists, so you can broaden the choice of treatment centres if necessary.

Travel Insurance

Some health insurance providers let you add travel insurance to your policy. If you already provide travel insurance for employees who regularly travel on business, this could help you save money.

Most policies also include personal cover, so your employees benefit as they don't need to pay for separate coverage when they go on holiday.

Services to support your business

Health insurance can provide additional services to support your business and employee well-being.

Insurers offer most of the following as an optional add-on for an additional charge. Some are only available to larger companies or require a minimum number of enrolled employees. Each service varies depending on your chosen health insurance company and policy terms.

Employee assistance program

Employee assistance programs provide confidential, third-party telephone support. Many also provide online self-help resources that employees can access when needed. These programs are helpful employee benefits because they allow your team to discuss any concerns without worrying about the impact on their careers.

Most employee assistance programs (EAPs) typically focus on mental health advice but not treatment, so employees must use the health benefits included in your policy if they need counselling. However, an EAP can signpost your staff to appropriate treatment or support.

Some EAPs provide advice helplines to assist employees with legal or financial worries.

Occupational health support

If you don't already have an in-house occupational health team, your health insurer can help with outsourced support. Some insurers offer risk management guidance to help prevent health issues from arising. Others provide access to healthcare professionals who can assess and treat employees during sickness absences and manage their return to work if necessary. These services are typically only available to larger businesses with corporate policies.

Many health insurance providers also offer well-being services. While these don't perform the same function as an occupational health team, they can provide health assessments, virtual GP appointments and access to treatment, even if you don't have health insurance. They're usually also available to smaller companies.

Vaccination programs

NHS flu vaccinations are available to patients with relevant age or health criteria. However, an annual flu vaccination can help to prevent seasonal sickness absence and reduce absenteeism. You can invest in a flu vaccination service alongside your health insurance or separately.

There are typically two ways to offer vaccinations. If you have a large workforce, you can pay a nurse to come to your premises for a full or half day and carry out vaccinations there. Alternatively, you can buy vouchers if you have a smaller team or most of your employees work from home. The vouchers cover the cost of a vaccination at a local pharmacy so employees can arrange an appointment at a time that suits them.

Stress and crisis management

Stress can significantly impact an employee's well-being and performance, and providing an employee assistance program and mental health coverage as part of your health insurance can help. However, managers may need additional support to manage their mental health while being responsible for team welfare. Some corporate health insurance policies include training and resources to support managers alongside tools accessible to all staff.

Depending on your chosen provider, you can also access additional support and counselling during significant changes or stressful events.

Health insights and data analytics

If your health insurance or well-being services include employee health assessments, your insurer can typically provide anonymised data, giving you insights into workplace health trends and common issues. The data allows you to design and implement a workplace well-being strategy to improve employee's health.

These insights are available with most business health insurance. However, you'll usually need to enrol a minimum number of employees to ensure you can't identify individuals and the insights remain confidential.

Health insurance exclusions

Every health insurance plan excludes some illnesses or types of treatment. Some standard exclusions apply to every customer, while others vary depending on an employee's medical history.

Standard exclusions include chronic illnesses that need long-term management and monitoring, straightforward pregnancy and birth, cosmetic surgery and treatment for addiction.

If an employee has sought medical advice or treatment for a condition in the five years before joining the policy, these will be classed as pre-existing conditions and excluded for the first two years of cover.

How much does health insurance for tech companies cost?

Your business health insurance premiums will depend on various factors, including the policy terms and your circumstances. Employee medical insurance premiums are an allowable business expense for corporation tax purposes, so they can help you reduce your tax bill.

Otherwise, your insurance quotes are based on the following factors:

  • The number of employees the policy will cover - more employees mean lower premiums per head.
  • Your employees' average age - medical insurance gets more expensive as we age.
  • Your industry - high-risk industries and professions cost more as there's an increased risk you'll claim.
  • Your postcode - some areas have more claims or a higher overall claim value.
  • The amount of coverage you choose - a comprehensive policy costs more than a basic one.
  • The type of underwriting you select.

A quick guide to underwriting

There are three main types of underwriting available with business medical insurance. Moratorium and full medical underwriting apply a two-year exclusion period to any pre-existing conditions when an employee joins the policy. With full medical underwriting, an employee must complete a medical questionnaire when they join, and your insurer can confirm what exclusions apply from the outset. With moratorium underwriting, employees don't provide medical information upfront, but your insurer will investigate when they claim, meaning claims can take longer.

Medical history disregarded underwriting doesn't exclude any pre-existing conditions and is usually available to businesses with 15+ employees. It's the most expensive option but lets your employees have quick private treatment regardless of their medical history.

Get in touch

At Globacare, we help our clients find the right insurance for their needs. If you'd like to learn more about how health insurance can support increased physical activity in the workplace, get in touch. We're a regulated broker and will provide advice tailored to your circumstances.

Tobias Britton

Tobias Britton

With over 15 years of experience, Tobias leads the expert team at Globacare. A CII IF7 qualified adviser himself, with a Diploma of Insurance to his name too, he's our resident expert in health, life, income and business protection insurance.

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