Here are some of the major suppliers of corporate private medical insurance in the UK:
AXA PPP Healthcare provides a comprehensive private health insurance plan, a low-cost essentials private health insurance plan and a cash plan to help towards healthcare bills.
Aviva offers a raft of business options including small business health insurance, health insurance 250+ and international private medical insurance for companies.
Bupa offers a tailored healthcare scheme known as Bupa Select, with options for reducing the cost (eg higher excess) or enhancing benefits (eg additional payments for complementary medicine). For larger firms, it can also offer risk-sharing insurance contracts (with stop-loss for large claims) and healthcare trust schemes.
CIGNA has a number of schemes aimed at small, medium and large employers, including medical and dental care with a “nurse-led managed-care approach”, as well as absence case management and occupational health schemes.
PruHealth emphasizes its simple claims process and its Vitality incentive programme, which encourages employees to take part in healthy activities to improve their wellbeing.
WPA (Western Provident Association) has schemes that include “Health Top-Up”, a low-cost plan that complements NHS care. WPA says that it is the market leader in corporate healthcare trusts, self-funded schemes for companies with 400 or more employees.
Groupama Healthcare‘s Santé scheme, which is offered only through brokers, is available with four levels of cover and is primarily designed for small-to-medium companies (SMEs). It also offers CoverBreak, a scheme that lets employers take breaks in their PMI payments.
Simplyhealth offers a wide range of schemes, from dental plans and cash plans to fully-featured private medical insurance and tailor-made health plans, as well as administering corporate healthcare trusts.
Healix specialises in corporate healthcare trusts, as well as providing medical helplines and cover for employees working overseas.
Supplier change can be problematic. It can be triggered by three things: increasing cost; poor service; or failure to pay claims.
Steve Herbert, head of benefits strategy at Jelf Employee Benefits, maintains that any one of these alone is a good reason to review the provider. “Two or more makes a switch review a necessity,” he points out.
So remember the following to make sure your switch goes as smoothly as possible:
- A switch must not result in a loss of cover for employees.
- The employer must provide all the employee data to the new insurer.
- If a switch is recommended to an employer, by say an intermediary, care must be taken to ensure the employee understands the reasons behind the switch and what is needed from each employee to ensure cover continues.
- The employer should factor in that they have enough time to complete the switch without a hitch.
PMI is a benefit in kind and as such there is a taxable cost to the employee of implementing this benefit.
A full and detailed guide on the tax and national insurance contributions obligations for employers paying for an employee’s medical insurance and treatment can be found on the HMRC website.
Employers will need to allow enough time to set up payroll deductions for voluntary employee payments. Firms will also need to record the employer contributions for P11d purposes.
Bupa, meanwhile, urges employers to contact their relevant tax district to see if their health cover provides tax benefits to the employer.
Self-insured healthcare trusts have payroll implications for employers, as a similar P11d benefit is applied to employees’ benefits as with other corporate private medical insurance.