Business Health Insurance

The health and wellbeing of employees has a direct impact on business productivity and growth. A healthy, rewarded workforce is key to success for both employers and employees.

Analysis from the Knowledge Academy, based on data from Capita, has revealed that 42% of UK employees said that private medical insurance (PMI) was the benefit they would most like to see as part of their employee benefit package.

Having PMI as an employee benefit can help to reduce the cost of sickness absence and ensure employers can attract and retain the best staff for their business.

There are many options for taking out private health cover and there are lots of benefits to choose from. This is something our expert advisors can help you navigate through and will advise you of the most suitable policy, based on your requirements. We compare policies from all leading UK insurers and present our findings in a clear and simple way, supporting you through the whole process.

There is no charge for our service, we are available to help over the telephone or you can request a quote online.

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What is business health insurance?

Business health insurance is a health insurance policy set up and paid for by a company which will cover the cost of private medical treatment for its employees.

Small business health insurance can cover as few as two employees and up to 250. Corporate health insurance policies are available for businesses insuring over 250 employees.

It is the most valued employee benefit and reduces business impact for employers when an employee is sick.

Key benefits of business health insurance

If an employee becomes injured or falls ill, they can bypass lengthy NHS waiting times and access private treatment, helping them to return to work sooner.

The number of people reporting mental health issues is increasing, with one in four people experiencing a mental health problem of some kind. Prompt treatment of mental health issues is essential to the overall health and wellbeing of employees. NHS waiting times for access to an initial mental health assessment is around three months for one in four patients. Many business health insurance schemes include immediate access to mental health support and treatment through telephone helplines. Enhanced psychiatric cover can also be included on most policies.

Business health insurance policies include cancer cover as standard. Should an employee be diagnosed with cancer they can get cancer treatment privately and, in many cases, access to the latest cancer drugs not routinely available on the NHS.

By offering private medical insurance to your employees, not only will you improve productivity you will have a happy and healthy workforce who feel valued. It will also ensure you can attract and retain the best candidates for your business.

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Minimise sickness absence with early diagnosis and access to breakthrough treatments.

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Attract and retain the best staff for your business with PMI as an employee benefit.

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Reduce workplace stress with access to counselling and mental health support.

What does business health insurance cover?

The illnesses that are covered by business health insurance are summarised as curable, acute conditions.

The most common conditions covered include:

  • Cancer
  • Heart problems
  • Musculoskeletal issues, such as joint replacements and injury
  • Mental health issues

What is not covered

Private medical insurance does not cover accident and emergency situations or rehabilitation and convalescence.

Chronic conditions are not covered by a PMI policy unless it is an acute phase.

Most insurers have general exclusions such as:

  • Chronic conditions
  • Cosmetic treatment
  • Addictions and substance misuse
  • Pregnancy, childbirth, and infertility
  • Learning difficulties and developmental problems
  • Gender re-assignment

Core cover

The exact details of what a business health insurance policy covers varies considerably from policy to policy. There are many different levels of cover and additional benefits available.

Standard policies cover surgery, consultations, nursing, and hospital charges. While comprehensive policies cover much more, including out-patient appointments, psychiatric treatment, and complementary medicine.

Health insurance policies usually have a core offering as standard, this is what the policy includes before you add any additional optional benefits. They can vary between insurers but usually include:

Benefit Details
In-patient treatment Cover for when you stay overnight in hospital for treatment. Cover includes hospital fees such as operating theatre costs, nursing care, specialist fees such as surgeon and anaesthetist fees, diagnostic tests, MRI, PET and CT scans.
Day-patient treatment Cover for when you are admitted to hospital for treatment or diagnostics and are discharged on the same day. The same benefits as in-patient cover apply.
Out-patient treatment Cover for when you are treated in an out-patient setting without using a bed.

Surgical out-patient procedures are covered.

Out-patient consultations and diagnostics are usually included in the limit you select for this and not under the core cover. Some insurers include full out-patient cover under their core benefits with the option to reduce the limit.
Cancer cover Most insurers offer cancer cover as standard under the core benefits with some including access to drugs not routinely available on the NHS.
Digital GP and helplines Most insurers provide digital GP services and clinically led telephone helplines, with access to immediate advice, prescriptions, and onward referral to a specialist.

Comprehensive cancer cover

According to Cancer Research UK, over a third of people in the UK fear cancer more than any other life-threatening condition. Therefore, having access to private cancer treatment is one of the most valuable aspects of health insurance. With a business health insurance policy, your employees will have access to the latest cancer drugs and treatment, and their choice of cancer specialist. Having this cover as part of a renumeration package ensures you can attract and retain the best staff for your company.

Most leading UK health insurers include comprehensive cancer cover as a core benefit in their policies. However, there are differences in the specific benefits each insurer offers and therefore it is important to compare the options available. Our expert advisors have a full understanding of all insurer products and benefits and are on hand to talk you through them.

You can read more on cancer cover in our guides section.

Cancer cover compared

Digital GP

Most insurers provide digital GP services and clinically led telephone helplines, with access to immediate advice, prescriptions, and onward referral to a specialist.

These virtual appointments work well within a business health insurance policy. Having quicker access to medical advice over the telephone or via an app reduces the time off required for face-to-face appointments. It also means an employee can arrange an appointment at short notice and at a time to suit them.

You can read more on digital GPs in our guides section.

Digital GPs

Business health insurance product options

As with individual health insurance policies, employers can select additional benefits to add to their policy. These include out-patient cover, therapies such as physiotherapy and osteopathy, and mental health cover.

Most insurers offer benefits tailored to employees such as musculoskeletal and mental health pathways. There are also employee assistance programmes and a personal health fund on some policies.

As there are many different options and benefits to choose from, we have compared each of the leading UK insurers business health policies below.

AXA logo Aviva logo Bupa logo Vitality logo
Core cover 3 plan options
Hospital options AXA directory Extended, key, trust, and signature Extended, key, trust, and signature Countrywide and London care
Guided option Axa guided Expert select
Consultant select
Choose benefit options
  • Treatment
  • Out-patient
  • Diagnostics
  • Extended cover
  • Therapies
  • Mental health cover
  • NHS six-week option Fixed two-year pricing
  • Private GP Employee assistance programme
  • Travel cover
  • Reduced out-patient cover
  • Routine and GP referred services
  • Mental health upgrade
  • Dental and optical
  • NHS six-week option
  • Out-patient cover
  • Mental health cover
  • Dental and optical
  • NHS six-week option
  • Fixed 2-year pricing
  • Family cash benefit
  • Full surgeon and anaesthetist fees
  • Out-patient cover
  • Full diagnostics
  • Therapies
  • Mental health
  • Dental and optical
  • Travel cover
  • Emergency overseas cover
Key benefits for employees
  • Fast-track appointments
  • Health at Hand
  • Doctor at Hand
  • Working Body physio
  • Musculoskeletal pathway
  • Mental health pathway
  • Stress counselling helpline
  • Family mental HealthLine
  • Anytime HealthLine
  • Direct Access service
  • Employee assistance programme
  • Personal health fund
  • Talking therapies
More information Get a quote More information Get a quote More information Get a quote More information Get a quote

Why choose Morehealth to compare health insurance providers?

Our experienced advisors take the stress out of comparing the leading health insurers in the market for you. We compare cover with leading insurers such as AVIVA Health, AXA Health, Bupa, and VitalityHealth. We do not charge you for our service, and as an independent intermediary our advice is impartial.

In most cases we will save you money on your health insurance if you already have cover in place.

Morehealth offers a personal and friendly service, we can discuss your needs over the telephone, and you will always have access to a qualified advisor when you call us.

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Benefit options

The benefit options for business health insurance policies are much same as those you can select on an individual health insurance policy. We have summarised the options below. You can read more about health insurance product options here.

There is flexibility within most business health schemes, you can select different benefit options for certain groups of employees. For example, you may decide to offer directors and managers a more comprehensive package of benefits to reflect their overall renumeration package.

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Out-patient cover

With most insurers the out-patient limit needs to be chosen by you, unless full cover is included as standard, in which case you can choose to reduce it. Out-patient cover ranges from no cover up to full cover with options in between such as £500 or £1000. The limit is either a combined limit to include out-patient consultations and diagnostics, or with some insurers you can upgrade the out-patient diagnostics to full cover, which is separate to the limit for consultations.

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Mental health cover

Some insurers include certain mental health benefits as standard such as a restricted limit on psychiatric consultations or cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). You can choose to extend your cover with this add-on. This would give your employees access to in-patient and out-patient psychiatric treatment, including diagnostics, hospital charges and specialist fees, and up to either 28- or 45-days in-patient treatment.

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Therapies cover

Some insurers offer specialist referred therapies such as physiotherapy under their core cover. With the therapies add-on your employees will have access to treatment such as osteopathy, acupuncture, physiotherapy, or chiropractic care, and this can be referred by a GP.

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Guided option

Most leading insurers offer a ‘guided option’ which businesses can apply to their policy, resulting in lower premiums for their health insurance. With this option, the insurer offers the member a select list of consultants and hospitals to choose from rather than the full list. Often with the ‘guided option’ the insurer will guarantee no shortfalls for the member to pay. The ‘guided option’ is a great way to save money on your health insurance if you are happy for the insurer to choose the consultants your employees can see.

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The six-week option

Choosing the six-week option can significantly reduce the premium your company will pay. Your employee will still have the benefit of prompt cover should a GP refer them to a specialist for consultations and diagnostic tests, and any subsequent eligible out-patient treatment. In-patient or day-patient treatment will only be covered under the policy if the wait for the treatment required is longer than six weeks on the NHS. If the waiting time for NHS treatment is longer than six weeks your employee will be covered for private treatment as an in-patient or day-patient straightaway.

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Dental and optical cover

Most health insurers cover surgical dental procedures when performed in a hospital as standard. You can enhance this by choosing the dental add-on which includes reimbursement for routine, major and accidental injury costs. While the optical benefit will reimburse your employees for the cost of glasses or contact lenses and eye tests.

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Travel cover

Some insurers offer both European and Worldwide travel cover as an additional benefit on your health insurance policy. There is also a winter sports upgrade option and cover for travel vaccinations available with some policies. The travel add-on covers all the usual travel related issues as well as cover for medical emergencies while you are abroad. This is a great option for employees who travel as part of their job.

We are often able to make large savings on existing policies, without reducing the benefits or the conditions you are covered for.

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Axa logo

AXA Business Health

AXA Business Health is unique in that there is no standard core cover with options to choose from. Instead, there are three main core options for you to select: treatment, diagnostics, and out-patient cover. You can select just one option, all three, or select different options for specific groups of employees.

There are additional options to choose from which will then enhance your cover further, such as mental health cover, private GP access and travel cover.

AXA Health have several services that can help to tackle work related stress and ensure staff can access healthcare advice and treatment quickly.

Fast-track appointments – employees can be booked in quickly with one of over 17,000 consultants and specialists. This is available when you choose the out-patient option.

Health at Hand – 24/7 access to nurses; midwives; pharmacists and counsellors to answer health questions, discuss symptoms and assist with medication queries.

Doctor at Hand – unlimited online, video or telephone consultations with a private GP. Appointments are available 24/7, usually on the same day, last for 20 minutes, and the GP can provide specialist referrals and arrange prescriptions to be delivered to your employee’s home.

Working Body physiotherapist – telephone appointments with a physiotherapist to discuss symptoms and next steps for muscle, bone, and joint problems.

Employee assistance programme – unlimited access to telephone support for psychological and mental health conditions. If you upgrade to the Premier employee assistance option, your employees will also have access to up to eight sessions of face-to-face counselling and referral to a psychologist in complex cases. There is an additional premium for the employee assistance programme.

Stronger Minds – telephone assessments for all mental health related concerns with onward referral to a specialist if required. There is no need for a GP referral and this service is included with the mental health cover option.

Aviva logo

AVIVA Health Solutions

The AVIVAHealth business health insurance product is called Solutions and it is for businesses with 1 to 249 employees. Along with all the usual benefits a health insurance policy offers it includes the following benefits that have been tailored for a business and its employees:

Routine and GP referred services – a combined limit of £1000 per member to cover consultations with specialists and tests for chronic conditions, GP minor surgery and follow up consultations relating to an acute condition.

Mental health pathway – a self-referral service for your employees to access CBT and psychiatric assessment. Based on recent data, 78% of employees were able to access clinical assessment using this service before leaving work due to sickness absence.

Stress counselling helpline – 24/7 stress counselling helpline for all members and their immediate families.

BacktoBetter – a musculoskeletal pathway which provides access to a case manager without needing to see a GP. It enables faster recovery for musculoskeletal conditions through advice, self-management and onward referral to a specialist or physiotherapist.

Mental health upgrade – mental health treatment as an out-patient is covered under the core cover. With this option you can upgrade the cover to include in-patient or day-patient mental health treatment up to either 28 or 45 days. You will pay an additional premium for this benefit.

Bupa logo

Bupa Select

The Bupa business health insurance product is called Select and has three levels of cover to choose from; Select Key, Select Enhanced and Select Complete.

Bupa have several services that can help to tackle work related stress and manage time off work due to illness. Bupa’s mental health cover is one of the most comprehensive in the market, with a key focus on enabling faster access to treatment and referral without the need to see your GP.

Bupa Family Mental HealthLine – a telephone service for mental health support with a trained advisor. Providing guidance and advice to parents and carers concerned about their child’s emotional wellbeing and mental health.

Bupa Mental Health Advantage – up to 45 days in-patient and day-patient psychiatric care. There is an additional premium for this benefit.

Bupa Anytime HealthLine – 24/7 access to medical advice on all health-related matters with a qualified nurse.

Direct Access service – if your employees are worried about cancer, mental health or muscle, bone, or joint symptoms they will have access to trained advisors, physiotherapists, and mental health practitioners. Advice can be given over the telephone without a referral from your GP.

Specialist oncology support team – access to a team of specialist health advisors and nurses to manage a cancer care journey.

Vitality logo

VitalityHealth Business Healthcare

VitalityHealth Business Healthcare includes all the usual benefits a health insurance policy offers. The following benefits have been tailored for a business and its employees:

Personal health fund – a pot of money per employee to pay for services and treatments not usually covered by a health insurance policy. It can be used to pay for private GP consultations, health assessments and dental fees. The amount in the fund is linked to your Vitality status, starting at £75 and going up to £225 as you earn more Vitality points.

Employer cashback – up to 10% cashback on your business healthcare premium when your employees earn Vitality points for engaging in health and wellbeing activities.

Employee assistance programme – 24/7 access to a confidential telephone counselling service. Advice includes legal and financial support and management support for workplace issues such as bullying and harassment. Onward referral to face-face counselling can also be arranged with up to 6 sessions per member per year covered.

Talking Therapies – up to 8 sessions of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) or counselling, where treatment is agreed as clinically appropriate.

Medical underwriting for business health insurance

With business health insurance there are various ways your policy can be underwritten. It is important you choose the option that best suits your employees.

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Moratorium underwriting

If you do not want your employees to have to tell an insurer about their medical history, you can choose moratorium underwriting. There is no application form or medical history questionnaire to complete.

The insurer will let the employee know if a condition is covered at the point of claim based on their medical history. A moratorium period of two years is in place for any condition for which your employee has experienced symptoms or received treatment for in the last five years.

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Continued medical exclusions

If you already have business health insurance with an insurer and wish to switch to a new provider, you can choose continued personal medical exclusions (CPME) underwriting.

The underwriting will transfer from your previous insurer rather than being re-underwritten.

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Full medical underwriting

If you are happy for the insurer to ask your employees about their medical history, you can choose full medical underwriting (FMU). The insurer may need to exclude some pre-existing conditions from their cover, but they would know upfront exactly what they are covered for.

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Medical history disregarded

If you already have business health insurance with an insurer and all members are insured on a medical history disregarded (MHD) basis, you can choose this option when transferring to a new policy.

This underwriting option is also available for companies who do not have a policy in place already and are looking to insure several employees. Each insurer has their own criteria for minimum employee numbers for this option.

MHD underwriting covers pre-existing conditions and there are no medical history questionnaires to complete.

You can read more in our guides section on underwriting. Our expert advisors can use their knowledge to assist you in choosing the right underwriting, considering your employees medical history and future medical needs.

Underwriting explained


Is there a minimum number of employees required for a business health plan?

Most business health insurance policies require a minimum of two employees to be covered.

Can employees add family members to the plan?

Yes, although some insurers have minimum age limits at the date of joining.

Can you add and remove employees at any time?

Yes, as your employees leave the company, or new joiners start you can make changes to the plan. We can administer these changes for you.

Can employees continue cover after leaving the company?

Yes, employees can transfer to their own individual policy, this is a good idea if they have pre-existing conditions they wish to continue cover for. We can assist with the transfer and the underwriting of the new individual policy.

Are pre-existing conditions covered on a business health plan?

This is more often the case than with individual health insurance but will depend on the underwriting you choose. Medical history disregarded underwriting covers pre-existing conditions but is usually only available on plans with around 20 members or more.

Can I choose different levels of cover for each employee?

Yes, you can tailor your plan to offer different levels of cover for specific groups of employees. You may have some business travellers within your organisation who would benefit from the travel cover option. Or it could be that you want to offer more comprehensive cover for directors and managers.

Is business health insurance a taxable benefit?

Yes, it is a taxable P11D benefit in kind. Companies will also pay employers national insurance contributions on the premium.

Health insurance guides

Below are our helpful guides that provide further information about how medical insurance works and the various options available. Should you prefer to speak to one of our expert advisors we are always available on the telephone to help.

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