The self-employed lifestyle is often just as challenging as it is rewarding. Whilst there's no boss to answer to or regretful Christmas parties to attend, the reality of the situation is that if you stop working, you stop earning. Personal and business protection providers have made big strides in covering some of the most essential outgoings in the event of ill-health, however none of them address the most important issue of all – getting you healthy again!
Health insurance for self-employed people is almost exclusively the only type of personal protection available which is solely dedicated to personal well-being rather than simply acting as a stop-gap for bills. Although the NHS sets the global standard for government-funded health services, the controversy surrounding excessive waiting times, cleanliness and crammed wards has been well documented. According to NHS statistics, there are currently over 2.9 million people waiting to be seen or to receive treatment, with nearly 60,000 of those having already been waiting for 6 months or more.
Whilst all self employed health insurance policies have their differences, the fundamental aim is to get the policy holder diagnosed and treated quickly, in a comfortable setting, and with the peace of mind that the best possible medical care is being offered.
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The importance of a quick and thorough recovery has never been so paramount with the government implementing huge austerity measures across both welfare and healthcare. There is still a widespread misconception that the state will provide enough for people to get by in the event of a sudden and unavoidable loss of earnings, however the reality is a bitter pill to swallow for most people. Aside from the concerns surrounding the speed and quality of an overcrowded health service, the financial recompense during times of not being able to work due to ill health is equally concerning.
Whether you're employed, self-employed or even unemployed, if you need financial assistance from the state as a result of not being able to work for health reasons, then you must apply for Employment and Support Allowance (ESA). This relatively new benefit was originally set up to drive down the numbers of people claiming certain benefits by significantly increasing the number of hoops that must be jumped through in order to trigger a successful claim. The amount of money in savings and even a partner's income can have a big say as to whether a claim is accepted or rejected.
If you're lucky (or unlucky enough, depending on which way you look at it) to be accepted for ESA, then you'll receive a payment of up to £72.40 per week if you're over 25 or £57.35 if you're under that age. This continues for up to 12 weeks whilst your working capabilities are being assessed with the help of several visits to the job centre and work-specific medical examinations. At the end of this period, the benefit either stops and you’re expected to return to work, or continues at a slightly higher rate until the job centre feels you're capable of returning to work. It's pretty stressful stuff at a time when the main focus should be getting back to good health.
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Insurance options for the self employed are becoming more and more mainstream with a whopping 15% of the UK’s entire workforce now registered as their own bosses. Business loans and mortgages tend to be the biggest debt that someone will take on in their lifetime and there is short-term provision available for these outgoings by way of Accident & Sickness policies or Income Protection. Although it’s always prudent to cover yourself wherever you can from a financial perspective, the vast majority of these income/outgoings-based policies boast less than impressive claims figures and policy conditions.
Many providers impose strict caps onto the benefit payments meaning that no more than 50% of the pre-tax wages can be claimed on. These types of policies can even restrict where you go on to spend your benefit, with some requiring proof of outgoings, NOT income, before a claim will be paid. In almost every case, these plans will only pay for up to 12 months per claim meaning that this financial safety net disappears during long-term sickness, leaving a small amount of government help in its place.
Critical illness insurance has long been touted as a way to plug this financial gap, but when we take a look under the bonnet it tends to paint a very different picture. Whilst medical conditions such as cancer, heart attacks and strokes are going to have a severely impact on your working life, the criteria for successfully claiming on these policies is very strict. According to the Office of National Statistics, the most common reasons for long-term sickness in the UK are due to muscular-skeletal and mental problems such as back pain, stress and depression – none of which are covered by critical illness or accident & sickness policies.
Companies such as Bupa, Pru-Health, AXA and Aviva continue to lead the way when it comes to providing the most popular self-employed health insurance plans in the UK. The fact that such established, household names are actively investing so much time and money into these types of products is a testament to the credibility of such an important product.
So what is the best health insurance for self employed people? With so many different options out there and a variety of monthly subscriptions available, it’s easy to understand why so many people are now actively seeking trained health insurance professionals to aid them with sourcing the most appropriate plan for their needs. If you’d like to find out more about the policies available to you along with a breakdown of the most competitive quotations, then simply complete the enquiry form at the top of this page and one of our experts will contact you at a time that is convenient.
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