In most instances, private health insurance (sometimes referred to as private medical insurance (PMI) or private healthcare cover) covers the cost of private medical treatment for acute conditions that develop after your policy has started (depending on the details of your plan).
An acute condition is a disease, injury or illness that is likely to respond quickly to treatment which aims to return you to the state of health you were in immediately before suffering the disease, injury or illness, or which leads to your full recovery.
Private health insurance comes with the benefit that appointments can often be made at a time and location that's convenient for you.
Private health insurance doesn't usually cover the cost of private medical treatment for chronic conditions. A chronic condition is a disease, illness or injury that has one or more of the following characteristics:
When you own a small business, your people are often vital to its success. It takes a long time to build up a team around you who you fully trust to grow your business and support you in achieving your vision and goals. When you do find the right people, it's natural that you'd want to make sure that they feel supported and valued.
Small business health insurance can benefit your business in a number of ways, including:
Including private health insurance in your employee benefits package can be a great way to retain your team by showing them that they're a valued part of the business. It helps to show you're investing in their health and wellbeing as much as they're investing themselves in your business. It's also a benefit that's highly valued by employees. According to one survey, 29% of UK employees would like their company to offer private medical cover.1
Not only can small business healthcare cover help to retain existing employees, it can also be a great incentive to help attract new team members. According to one study by Canada Life Group, 85% of employees are more likely to work for employers who offer clearly labelled benefits.2 When you own a small business, it can be difficult to attract the best quality candidates for a position, particularly when you may not be able to offer the same level of salary that a larger company may be able to. Offering a benefits package that includes things such as private healthcare cover can therefore be a great added incentive.
Our small business health insurance gives you and your team access to health information and support online and over the phone.
Access to our online GP service, AXA Doctor at Hand (powered by Doctor Care Anywhere) is included as standard and gives you and your team access to an appointment with a GP or Advanced Nurse Practitioner online or over the phone that's up to 20 minutes long, at a time and place that suits you. Appointments are subject to availability. GPs are available 24/7, Advanced Nurse Practitioners are available 8am - 10pm
Plus, you and your team will have access to our health information phone line.
With small business healthcare cover, you and your team can have more flexibility and choice over your medical appointments, including where and when you're treated.
As well as having benefits for the business, small business health insurance also has a number of benefits for your team. When one of your employees has a health worry, it can be difficult for them to concentrate on anything else. It can start to impact their sleep and their productivity at work.
Small business health insurance can provide peace of mind that, should your employees have a health worry, they can access help and support promptly via services such as an online GP and health information telephone helpline.
Medical appointments can be difficult for employees to attend, particularly when they're at inconvenient times or locations. With private healthcare cover, your team will have much more control over their appointments. They could have an appointment in the evening after work, or at the weekend. At AXA Health, our small business health insurance provides access to our 24/7 (subject to appointment availability) online GP service, AXA Doctor at Hand (powered by Doctor Care Anywhere). This gives you and your team access to a phone or video appointment with a GP or Advanced Nurse Practitioner lasting up to 20 minutes, at a time and place that suits them.
It also comes with the benefit that employees will receive eligible treatment in a private hospital, usually with their own private room.
At AXA Health, our small business health insurance also gives your team access to our 24/7 medical information telephone helpline. Whether they have a question about a prescription or are feeling burnt out at work, they'll be able to pick up the phone and speak to a nurse, pharmacist, counsellor or midwife at a time and place that's convenient for them.*
*Nurses and counsellors are Available 24/7, midwives and pharmacists are available 8am-8pm Monday-Friday, 8am-4pm Saturday and 8am-12pm Sunday
The aim of small business health insurance is to get you and your team back to work quickly through prompt access to diagnosis and eligible treatment. This differs from a number of other health plans that are available, including:
• Health cash plans. Health cash plans can be used to spread the cost of everyday, routine healthcare bills including dental check ups and eye tests. Whereas private health insurance aims to get you and your team back to work quickly by giving you fast access to eligible treatment, health cash plans allow you to subsidise the cost of routine healthcare check ups for you and your team.
• Critical illness cover. Critical illness cover will pay out a lump sum if you're diagnosed with a specified critical illness. It doesn't usually cover the cost of private medical treatment.
• Accident, sickness and unemployment cover/income protection. This provides you with a set monthly payment if you're out of work due to accident, sickness or unemployment in order for you to cover the cost of certain bills. It doesn't usually cover the cost of private medical treatment.
• Life insurance. With life insurance, a cash sum is paid out to nominated beneficiaries in the event of death.
• Key person insurance. Key person insurance compensates the business for financial losses that would arise as a result of the death or extended incapacity of an important member of the business.
Underwriting allows you to decide how you'll cover team members for any conditions they might have before joining us. The underwriting option that you choose can affect the cost of your healthcare cover. The underwriting options available with AXA Health are are:
As with most healthcare cover, there are certain things that our small business healthcare plans don't cover. Here are some of the more significant exclusions:
At AXA Health, we have a number of cost-saving options available that can help you to look after the health and wellbeing of your team while keeping costs down. Our cost-saving options include:
When you provide private health insurance to your team, it's considered a ‘benefit-in-kind'. This means that your employees will need to pay tax on the benefit amount.
At the end of each tax year, employers have to complete a P11D expenses and benefits form for every employee who has received expenses or benefits in addition to their salary. (This doesn't include routine business expenses and benefits like travel and company car fuel.)
Read our blog post to find out more about how private medical insurance affects your tax.
At AXA Health, our small business health insurance comes with a number of benefits for you, your team and your business.
Our small business health insurance gives you and your people access to our 24/7 health information telephone helpline. Whether it's a question about a prescription or a pregnancy-related query, our team of nurses, counsellors, midwives and pharmacists is just a phone call away. Nurses and counsellors are available 24/7, midwives and pharmacists are available 8am-8pm Monday - Friday, 8am-4pm Saturday and 8am-12pm Sunday
Our small business health insurance gives you and your team access to our 24/7 online GP service, AXA Doctor at Hand (powered by Doctor Care Anywhere). With AXA Doctor at Hand, you'll have access to an appointment with a GP or Advanced Nurse Practitioner online or over the phone that's up to 20 minutes long, at a time and place that suits you (subject to appointment availability). This could be in the evening or at the weekend, so you can minimise the amount of time that you and your team need to be away from work. AXA Doctor at Hand clinicians can also prescribe the medication you need during your consultation. (Available in most circumstances. Out-patient prescriptions and delivery are not covered by the plan and may cost more than on the NHS. Prescriptions are only available in the UK.)
Musculoskeletal problems (issues affecting the muscles, bones and joints) can have a big impact on all areas of someone's life. With our muscles, bones and joints service, you and your team can speak to a physiotherapist online or over the phone, without the need for a GP referral. They'll assess the symptoms, discuss what they could mean and help to plan what to do next. Our muscles, bones and joints service comes as standard on all small business healthcare cover plans. Available to our healthcare members aged 18 years or over. Any face to face treatments, tests, or consultations are only payable under the plan if you have relevant cover options.
If you decide to switch your business health insurance to AXA Health, we aim to save you up to 10% off your renewal premiums with your current provider
When a GP refers an employee to a specialist, we can reduce the wait to see them, when possible. Our appointment booking service will match them with the right expert, at a convenient time for them, so they can quickly get on the road to recovery (The consultation will be covered if you include an Outpatient option with your plan).
If one of your team is affected by cancer or a heart condition, it has a big effect on the whole team. Our experienced team of nurses are there for your people at the end of the phone. They know all about the side effects of treatment, medication and how your employee may be feeling. They're also on hand to support family and colleagues too.
Everyone's route to better health and fitness is different. With our latest gym offers, you're not tied down to one venue - there's even an online-only fitness option - giving you the flexibility to look after your health and wellbeing in the way that works for you.
It's never been simpler to stay fit and healthy in mind and body.
**Discount applies to Nuffield Health fitness and wellbeing centre monthly individual membership only. Your employees must provide proof of membership and/or employer. You, your spouse, partner or dependent must be a named member on a current AXA Health healthcare plan to get a 40% discount and be 18 years or older. As a member, you can access your home club (the one you select on joining) as well as many more clubs around the country. These depend on your home club. You must use your home club at least 50% of the time. The joining fee is £39 and may be subject to change by Nuffield Health. Existing members of Nuffield Health who transfer to a 40% off AXA Health discount will be charged a £39 administration fee by Nuffield Health. Read full terms and conditions at axahealth.co.uk/terms/gym-discount. 40% off Nuffield Health 24/7 online memberships - available to your employees and their spouses, with or without an AXA Health membership. Read full terms and conditions at axahealth.co.uk/terms/gym-discount. 40% off the purchase of a Hussle Monthly+ pass is available to members on an AXA Health healthcare plan. A partner or spouse and direct dependants age 16 and over included on their healthcare plan can also get 40% off the purchase of a Hussle Monthly+ pass. 33% off a Hussle Monthly+ pass is available to employees of AXA Health healthcare clients not covered by a company healthcare plan. They must provide proof of employer. Read full terms and conditions at axahealth.co.uk/terms/gym-discount.
You know your business better than anybody. That’s why we think that the best way for you to get the healthcare cover that’s right for you and your team is to give you the chance to build your plan yourself. We’re offering a choice of private medical insurance cover options and benefits that you can choose from, so you only pay for the cover you need.*
*If you are buying cover for 1-2 people only, you will need to include either the Treatment option or the Diagnostics Only option in your plan.
Whatever options you choose, all new SME customers will have access to the following as standard:
Here is a summary of the cover options available. You can choose the options that work best for your business and budget:
To find out more about the options available, including what is and isn't covered, call our small business experts on 0800 389 7413
(Lines are open 8.30am-5.30pm Monday to Friday. We may record and/or monitor calls for quality assurance, training and as a record of our conversation.)
The diagram below briefly explains how the claims process usually works:
Ask your GP for an open referral
If your GP recommends you see a specialist, tell them that you want to go private and ask for an open referral (an open referral is where your GP states that treatment is necessary and which type of specialist you require that treatment from, but they do not specify the specialist's name). This means our appointment booking service can help you find a suitable specialist and make a convenient consultation for you. (Your consultation will be covered if you include an Outpatient option with your plan).
Call us before you see the specialist/start any treatment
Call as soon as you've seen your GP. This will mean that you won't end up paying for treatment that you're not covered for.
We'll check your cover and let you know what happens next
We may ask you to provide more information, for example from your GP.
Acute condition: An acute condition is a disease, illness or injury that is likely to respond quickly to treatment that aims to return you to the state of health you were in immediately before suffering the disease, illness or injury, or which leads to your full recovery.
Chronic condition: A chronic condition is a disease, illness or injury that has one or more of the following characteristics:
Day-patient: A patient who is admitted to a hospital or day-patient unit because they need a period of medically supervised recovery but does not occupy a bed overnight.
Directory of Hospitals: The list of hospitals, day-patient units and scanning centres that are available for you to use under the terms of your plan.
Excess: Excess is the amount you'll need to pay towards a claim that you make on your health insurance. Your excess is paid yearly and can be different for each person covered on the plan.
Inpatient: A patient who is admitted to hospital and who occupies a bed overnight or longer, for medical reasons.
Open referral: An open referral is where your GP states that treatment is necessary and which type of specialist you require that treatment from, but they do not specify the specialist's name.
Outpatient: A patient who attends a hospital, consulting room, or outpatient clinic and is not admitted as a day-patient or an inpatient.
Pre-existing medical conditions: A pre-existing medical condition is any disease, illness or injury that:
Subscription (sometimes called a premium):This is the financial cost of insurance cover. It can be paid annually or in monthly instalments during the duration of the insurance policy.
Underwriting:The process of underwriting involves insurance companies deciding:
To find out more about the options available, including what is and isn't covered, call our small business experts on 0800 389 7413
Lines are open 8.30am-5.30pm Monday to Friday. We may record and/or monitor calls for quality assurance, training and as a record of our conversation.
Sources and references
1Opinium research via Canada Life, 2022
2Canada Life Group, 2017
This financial promotion is issued by AXA Health, a trading name of AXA Health Limited (Registered No. 12839134). AXA Health Limited is a wholly owned subsidiary of AXA PPP healthcare Group Limited and part of the global AXA Group. Underwritten by AXA PPP healthcare Limited (Registered No. 3148119). All of the companies are registered in England and Wales and have their registered office at 20 Gracechurch Street, London EC3V 0BG. AXA Health Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. AXA PPP healthcare Limited is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority. Services purchased in addition to your insurance cover are not regulated either by the Financial Conduct Authority or the Prudential Regulation Authority. Write to us at: AXA Health, Phillips House, Crescent Road, Tunbridge Wells, Kent TN1 2PL. We may record and/or monitor calls for quality assurance, training and as a record of our conversation. For information about AXA Health, visit axahealth.co.uk/aboutaxahealth.