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Health insurance vs self-pay healthcare for self-employed workers

18 March 2024

When it comes to private healthcare, there are often two options to choose from. You can either take out a private health insurance plan, or you can self-pay for your treatment. So, what are the differences between the two options?

Private health insurance covers the cost of private medical treatment for acute conditions that develop after your policy has started (depending on the details of your plan). You can pay for your plan monthly or annually. With self-pay healthcare, you pay to have your treatment privately at the point you need it. 

What are the benefits of health insurance over self-pay healthcare for self-employed workers?

With both health insurance and self-pay healthcare, it can be reassuring to know that should you need medical treatment, you can access private medical facilities at a time and place that is convenient for you without having the worry of being placed on a long waiting list. When you’re self-employed, you’ll want to minimise the amount of time that you spend away from work, so being able to access private medical treatment quickly is likely a priority for you. 

The main benefit of private health insurance over self-pay healthcare is that rather than having to pay a large lump sum of money at the time that you need treatment, it instead means that you can pay for your cover through a monthly premium. Private health insurance works in the same way as many other insurance policies, where you pay a monthly premium in order to be covered for treatment when you need it (subject to the details of your plan). When you’re self-employed, it can be reassuring to know what your monthly premium will be for your health insurance, so that you can fully plan your finances. With self-pay healthcare, you don’t have the same certainty over the cost of your treatment and may have to pay one lump sum as opposed to a set monthly cost.

Private health insurance can also come with additional benefits for self-employed workers, alongside the cover options that you choose. For example, when you take out health insurance with us at AXA Health, you get access to the following benefits and offers included as standard:

  • Health information phone line – 24/7 health support through our health information phone line
  • 24/7 access to a private online GP service – AXA Doctor at Hand (powered by Doctor Care Anywhere) is a 24/7 service, available wherever and whenever you need it. From a choice of appointments with GP’s or Advanced Nurse Practitioners, so you can get an appointment at a time and place that suits you. Advanced Nurse Practitioners available 8am-10pm. Appointments are subject to availability
  • Wellbeing incentives – access to up to 40% off monthly gym memberships for you and all your employees, in addition to your business healthcare cover. Terms apply
  • Cancer and heart care – telephone support from our experienced healthcare practitioners, through the uncertainty of serious illness
  • Muscles, bones and joints support – Get to the bottom of aches and pains with no need for a GP referral. Speak to the right expert over the phone or online. Our muscles, bones and joints service is available for members aged 18 and over

Is health insurance or self-pay healthcare right for me?

If you want to receive medical treatment privately, you could either choose to invest in private health insurance or you can self-pay for treatment at the point of need. Whichever option you decide to choose will be dependent on a number of different factors that are personal to you. These include your financial situation, as well as your health and previous medical history. 

Private health insurance is a good option if you want to plan ahead for any medical conditions that may arise after your policy has started. When you’re self-employed, you may want to have a good idea of your monthly outgoings so you can plan your finances. If this is the case for you, then private health insurance may be a good option for you if you want to receive private medical treatment as you can pay a monthly premium, meaning you’ll be able to keep track and plan your finances. 

Self-pay healthcare may be a good option for you if you want to receive medical treatment quickly for a condition that you are currently experiencing (private health insurance is designed to be for the treatment of acute conditions that arise after your policy has started). The price of your treatment will depend on a number of different factors, including the treatment you need and the hospital that you are treated at.

AXA Health business health insurance

At AXA Health, we think that the best way for you to get the self-employed health insurance that’s right for you and your budget is to let you build your plan yourself. That’s why we offer a range of cover options for you to choose from, so you can build a plan that suits your needs (if you’re buying cover for 1-2 people only, you will need to include either the Treatment option or the Diagnostics Only option in your plan). 

Find out more about our business health insurance, including what we do and don’t cover, and get a quote today