Equipsme managing director and founder Matthew Reed joined a delegation of business leaders in a meeting with Number 11 Downing Street and called for the government to make it easier for small businesses to support the health and wellbeing of their staff.
The meeting, hosted by Chancellor Sajid Javid, invited comments on how the government can support the growth of UK SMEs.
Equipsme is the first new entrant to the health insurance market in over a decade, with a flexible product designed to be affordable for businesses to buy for their entire team.
Plans include 24/7 access to a remote GP service and private physiotherapy appointments.
Employers can also provide access to a stress support line and face-to-face counselling sessions for £1.50 per employee per month. Unlike many traditional Employee Assistance Programmes there is no minimum monthly spend – making it easier for small businesses to support the mental health of their staff.
Presently private medical insurance must be declared as an employee benefit.
Reed agreed this is appropriate for “elitist perk” private medical insurance but called on the government to abolish the requirement for SMEs in an effort to improve the UK’s lagging productivity and help small businesses to compete for talented staff.
Reed said: “We think a small business that chooses to look after its staff and take the burden off the NHS shouldn’t have to pay £500 in accountancy fees to process P11D fees. Nor should low-earning employees be penalised for being given access to a GP at weekends.
“It’s a disproportionately high hurdle for the small businesses that don’t have employee benefits and payroll teams to deal with this.”
Reed added: “Only 5% of firms offer private health insurance to their staff. The lion’s share of those are either large corporates buying it for senior managers or directors who only buy it for themselves. Our research with Enterprise Nation shows that over 90% of SME owners would be more likely to consider buying health insurance for their team if was easier.
At the meeting Reed also praised the Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) for encouraging investors to partner with start-ups such as Equipsme.
Reed attended the meeting as a guest of small business network and business support provider Enterprise Nation.
Reed added: “We were delighted to meet the Chancellor and to see the government’s commitment to UK enterprises first hand.”
Equipsme provides simple and practical health insurance plans for businesses with more than one employee, in partnership with health insurer AXA Health and service partners, making it possible to give employees a health benefit they really want from only £8 per person per month.
For further information please contact:
Elinor Zuke / email Elinor