There are many advantages to being self-employed. Aside from the control of being your own boss, you can also work flexible hours, avoid the office environment and never have to do anything you don’t want to. More and more people are turning to self-employment as a great option for their working life.
However, there are drawbacks to being self-employed too. One of the major ones is that you are not entitled to be paid for any time that you don’t work. Firstly, that means you don’t receive any mandatory holiday or time off. But perhaps more importantly, you also have the issue of illness and injury.
Unlike employees who receive mandatory sick pay there is no such policy in place for the self-employed. Whether it’s an unlucky accident or a long-term illness, problems with your health can cause you more problems than just feeling unwell.
This means it can be a very smart move to invest in private health insurance to help you out when you need it most. Read on for more information on whether you might benefit from health insurance.
What does health insurance cover?
As with any insurance policy, exactly what it covers will depend entirely on who you buy the policy with and what terms you choose with them. Unsurprisingly, generally the more expensive the cover, the more services you can expect to receive – but do check what you are getting to know that you are enjoying the best possible deal.
Almost all private health insurance policies will cover the costs of tests, surgery and your care while in hospital. However, there will always be restrictions on what will be covered by the policy, so be sure you know exactly what you are paying for. You can also pay for some policies that will cover you for out-patient care and treatments.
What doesn’t it cover?
Again you will need to check through your policy to know exactly what won’t be included. However, there are some things that your private health insurance will never cover. For example, any pre-existing medical conditions will almost never be covered.
Chronic and long-term illnesses generally won’t be covered either. HIV and AIDs related issues, hypertension, diabetes and epilepsy among other long-term health problems are almost impossible to get insured for.
Pregnancy, organ transplants and cosmetic surgery will also not fall under health insurance policies. Emergency care is never covered by your policy and in the case that you need an ambulance or immediate medical assistance you should always use the NHS.
It’s worth noting that cancer treatment and care is often available but it is very rarely part of basic insurance packages and you may have to pay more to be entirely covered. Check this before you sign up to any policy. The same is true for mental health conditions.
Do you need it?
The main benefit of health insurance for the self-employed is the speed at which you will be seen. If you are a UK resident you will almost certainly have access to the services of the NHS, but the problem with the NHS is that for non-emergency treatments and surgery there will always be a waiting time – and this can often extend to months rather than weeks.
It is also true that some procedures and drugs are not available on the NHS, however this is generally only in specific circumstances. So the main benefit for the self-employed is how quickly you will be seen in a private hospital and therefore how fast you will be able to recover from your illness or injury.
As mentioned before, this can especially beneficial for the self-employed as generally you will be unable to earn money while you are not able to work.
Other kinds of insurance you might benefit from
If you become unwell or injured, health insurance has the benefit that it can get you back to work as soon as possible. But in the meantime it may be worth considering income protection insurance to help you keep up with mortgage payments, bills and other costs during the time that you can’t work. It would be best to combine these kinds of insurance to keep you in the safest possible position.
Article provided by Mike James, an independent content writer in the finance industry – working with a selection of companies including Flexible Health, who were consulted over the information contained in this post.