• December 10, 2018

Despite the cost of absenteeism, 95% of the UK’s SMEs still have no staff healthcare insurance

While small-to-medium sized businesses up and down the country have the most to gain from cutting staff sick leave, a stubborn misconception persists that healthcare insurance is a luxury that only larger employers can afford.

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As any business owner will tell you, their employees are their greatest asset. Yet, only 5% of SMEs in the UK are providing any form of healthcare plan for their staff.

This statistic becomes even more astonishing when you learn that, according to the National Federation of Small Businesses, SMEs employ a total of 16.3 million people in the UK and generate a combined turnover of £2.0 trillion – or 52% of all private sector turnover. 

So, why is investment in employee benefits so low when SMEs must be acutely aware of the link between their staff’s wellbeing and productivity?

Moreover, having no benefits package puts SMEs at a competitive disadvantage, particularly with larger organisations who are often vying with them for the same skills and talent they need to take their business to the next level.

The reason, more often than not, comes down to a lack money and resources.

For most SMEs, paying for, and rolling out, a health insurance plan is just too costly and complicated. So, they rely on the loyalty and diligence of their staff to keep going, even when the low headcount of many such firms means that any long-term absence can put a serious strain on their employees' commitment and morale.

The ‘lightbulb moment’ that led to a new and ground-breaking healthcare solution for SMEs 

Luckily, the people behind Insurtech start-up, equipsme saw an opportunity to do “something different” in the health insurance market. They set about asking SME owners around the country what they really wanted from a health insurance product and what they would be willing to pay. 

The result of this undertaking was the launch of a range of affordable health insurance plans, developed exclusively for SMEs and distributed through 30 of the UK’s top independent brokers, including CLEAR. The plans offer a menu of four easy-to-understand cover options ranging from £7 to £37 per employee per month. Furthermore, there is just one simple exclusion for employees who have developed medical symptoms in the last three years running up to their application.

Affordable healthcare cover with no jargon and no medical questions

Equipsme offers a broad range of health and wellbeing support services, including 24/7 remote GP access, physiotherapy sessions, scans, diagnosis and hospital treatment as well as optional extras such as stress support and dental and optical services. 

The insurance plans are also flexible and can be tailored to the needs of each business, their employees and their budget. For example, employees can choose to pay separately to add partners and family members if they wish. Day-to-day health support is also available and – a major departure from traditional health insurance plans – includes a personalised health check so that employees can learn more about their personal health.

Equipsme’s remote GP service can also recommend a referral to AXA PPP healthcare for diagnostic tests and scans, removing potential delays some patients may face when consulting similar remote GP services. 

Furthermore, equipsme’s GP service is not an NHS opt-out service, so members can use their own NHS GP and/or equipsme’s GP service if they want. Additionally, members can use the remote GP service abroad and speak to a fully-qualified, English-speaking doctor.

The enrollment application is also easy to understand, doesn’t include medical questions and avoids confusing healthcare terminology such as in-patient, out-patient and consultations limits. 

Matthew Reed, managing director of equipsme, said: “We want all businesses to feel as if they can get healthcare in place for all of their existing employees without breaking the bank or stretching themselves too thin. We want to keep their workforce fighting fit by offering unlimited GP appointments, physio sessions, health checks and diagnostic tests. We feel all SMEs, no matter how big or small, should be able to insure every single one of their employees. Everyone should have access to healthcare.”

How CLEAR can help

Our employee benefits specialists can work with you to provide an affordable equipsme healthcare plan for your business. For more information, email: enquiries@thecleargroup.com.


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