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What Is A Health Plan At Work?

George Blandford

June 20, 2024

A health plan at work is a type of health insurance that your employer offers to you and other employees. In the UK, these plans add to the health services you can already get through the NHS. They give you more choices for your healthcare and can help you get treatment faster.

Why is it important to understand your work health plan? When you know what your plan covers and how it works with the NHS, you can make better decisions about your health. You’ll be able to get the most out of your plan and ensure you and your family have access to the best possible care.

In this article, we’ll explain:

  • What is a health plan at work
  • The different kinds of employee health plans in the UK
  • What benefits these plans can give you
  • How much these plans might cost
  • How to choose the right plan for you
  • The way these plans work together with the NHS

By the time you’ve finished reading, you’ll have a good grasp of what an employee health plan is and how it can help you take care of your health.

Key Takeaways:

  • Work health plans provide additional benefits on top of NHS coverage
  • There are three main types of plans: Private Medical Insurance, Health Cash Plans, and Dental Insurance
  • Benefits can include faster treatment, more hospital and doctor choice, and coverage for extras
  • Costs vary based on plan type, with factors like age and health affecting premiums
  • Our team can help you navigate options and find the right plan for your needs and budget

Types of Employee Health Insurance Plans in the UK

In the UK, there are three main types of health plans you might get through work:

  1. Private Medical Insurance (PMI): This is the most comprehensive type. It covers a wide range of treatments, including seeing specialists, getting tests, and having surgery. With PMI, you often have more choice over which doctor or hospital you go to, and you can usually get treatment quicker than with the NHS alone.
  2. Health Cash Plans: These help with everyday health costs. They give you cash back for things like dental check-ups, eye tests, and physio sessions. The monthly payments for these plans are usually lower than PMI, but there are limits on how much you can get back each year.
  3. Dental Insurance: This type of plan focuses just on dental care. It can help pay for routine check-ups, cleanings, and even bigger treatments like fillings or crowns.

Benefits of Employee Health Insurance in the UK

One of the biggest benefits of having a health plan through work is being able to get treatment faster. With PMI, you can often skip NHS waiting lists and get treated at a private hospital or clinic you choose. This can be really helpful for non-urgent things like hip replacements or cataract surgery, where NHS wait times can be long.

Work health plans also let you choose from a wider range of doctors and hospitals than the NHS. This means you can pick a specialist or hospital that works well for you, rather than being stuck with your local NHS options.

Other benefits can include:

  • Getting access to new treatments and medicines that aren’t always available on the NHS
  • Being able to have a private room if you need to stay in hospital
  • Getting coverage for specialist treatments like physio or mental health support
  • Having access to 24/7 online GP services and health advice hotlines

Costs of Employee Health Insurance Plans

The costs of work health plans can vary, but there are two main types of payments:

  1. Premiums: This is the monthly amount you (or your employer) pay for your health plan, whether you use it or not. It’s like a subscription fee.
  2. Excess (also called a deductible): This is an amount you agree to pay towards your treatment before the insurance starts covering the costs. For example, if your excess is £200 and your treatment costs £800, you pay the first £200, and the insurer pays the other £600.

How much you pay can depend on things like your age, health, and the level of cover you choose. Generally, plans with higher premiums will have lower excesses and cover more treatments.

Here’s a rough guide to how much different levels of cover might cost:

Level of CoverMonthly Premium RangeExcess Range
Basic£20 – £40£500 – £1000
Medium£40 – £70£250 – £500
Comprehensive£70 – £150+£0 – £250

Remember, these are just examples – the actual costs will depend on your specific plan and circumstances. It’s always a good idea to compare different options and read the fine print before signing up.

Choosing the Right Employee Health Insurance Plan

Picking the right work health plan can seem tricky, but it doesn’t have to be. Here’s a step-by-step guide: 

  1. Think about your health needs. Do you have any ongoing conditions that need regular treatment? Do you take any daily medications? Make a list of what’s important to you.
  2. Consider your budget. Look at how much you can afford to pay each month in premiums and how much you could pay as an excess if you needed treatment.
  3. Check which hospitals and doctors are covered. Make sure the plan you choose includes providers that are convenient for you and that any specialists you see are covered.
  4. Read the plan details carefully. Look out for any exclusions (things the plan doesn’t cover) and any limits on treatment. If you’re unsure about anything, ask for clarification.

How Employee Health Insurance Works with the NHS

It’s important to remember that work health plans are designed to work alongside the NHS, not replace it entirely. You can still use NHS services as usual, but your work plan gives you extra options.

For example, let’s say you need a knee replacement. With just the NHS, you would go on a waiting list and be treated at your local NHS hospital. But if you have PMI through work, you could choose to have the surgery at a private hospital, often much sooner than you’d get it on the NHS.

Similarly, while the NHS provides great emergency care, it can have long wait times for non-urgent treatments. PMI can help you skip these queues and get treated faster.

But remember, for emergency treatment, the NHS is still your first port of call. Work health plans are about giving you more choice for planned, non-emergency care.

Making the Most of Your Employee Health Insurance Plan

To get the most out of your work health plan, there are a few key things to remember:

  1. Use your plan’s extras. Many plans come with benefits like free health checks, virtual GP services, or discounted gym memberships. Make sure you’re taking advantage of these.
  2. Stay in-network when possible. Using hospitals and doctors that are part of your plan’s network can help keep costs down.
  3. Get to know the claims process. If you need to claim on your insurance, make sure you know what paperwork you need and any deadlines you need to meet.
  4. Don’t forget the NHS. Your work plan is a great addition to NHS care, but it’s not a replacement. Make sure you’re still using NHS services when you need them, especially for emergencies.

If you’re not sure where to start, try your plan’s health advice helpline. They can point you in the right direction and help you find the right care for your needs.

Take the Next Steps

Now that you understand the basics of employee health insurance plans in the UK, it’s time to take action. Finding the right plan can be daunting, but our team is here to help.

We specialise in helping people just like you navigate the world of work health plans. We’ll work with you one-on-one to understand your unique health needs and budget, and then we’ll help you find a plan that fits.

Don’t let confusion over health insurance hold you back. Take control of your health today and get in touch with our team. We’re ready to help you find the perfect plan for you and your family.

FAQs

What is a health plan at work and how does it differ from NHS coverage? 

A health plan at work is additional health insurance provided by your employer. It offers benefits on top of what the NHS provides, such as faster treatment, more choice of hospitals and doctors, and coverage for extras like dental or physiotherapy.

Can I still use the NHS if I have a work health plan? 

Absolutely. Work health plans are designed to complement NHS services, not replace them. You can still use the NHS as normal, especially for emergency care. Your work plan simply gives you additional options for non-urgent, planned treatments.

How do I choose the right employee health insurance plan for me?

To choose the right plan, consider your health needs and budget. Look at what each plan covers and what the costs are, including monthly premiums and excesses. Make sure the plan includes hospitals and doctors that are convenient for you. If you’re unsure, our team can help guide you through the process.

What if I can’t afford a work health plan? 

The cost of work health plans can vary significantly based on the level of cover. If you’re worried about affordability, consider options like health cash plans, which have lower monthly premiums. Many employers also offer to pay a portion of the premium, so check what your work offers. If you’re still unsure, our team can help you find a plan that fits your budget.

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