Meet Matthew Reed, MD of Equipsme.

Equipsme managing director Matthew Reed tells us why he started the business and plans for the future

When I founded Equipsme in 2017 I had one mission: to make health cover hassle-free, transparent and available to everyone regardless of seniority or job description.

I was frustrated by complicated, expensive policies that left small businesses scratching their heads and the self-employed very much on the sidelines.

My determination to build a modern, digital-based product that did what it said on the tin was strengthened further when I discovered that only 5% of UK businesses offered any private health benefits.

That statistic shocked me. Surely employers would want to help their workforce look after their health and return to work as quickly as possible? There had to be more to it. I began digging.

The health insurance industry seemed geared towards the large enterprise businesses with packages mostly aimed at senior people.

Worryingly, almost half the SMEs I consulted had explored private health insurance but given up because they found the process too complicated. And companies that had policies were ‘making do’ with a bigger product shoehorned into an SME bracket, which often didn’t work for them.

Meanwhile, the self-employed – in my experience the most motivated to get well quickly because they can’t afford to be ill - would either go without or face buying individual products costing hundreds of pounds a month.

The findings spoke volumes. Those ‘forgotten groups’ deserved equal access to health cover that catered for their needs.

Cue Equipsme.

From the start we did things differently. Our aim was to reach those who had never purchased PMI before so we asked customers what they wanted and the feedback was crystal clear.

Transparent pricing, no hidden or nasty surprises and no confusing or arbitrary limit on claims. We make it easy for business decision-makers to work out the monthly cost on their fingers or iphone, we’re upfront about what conditions and treatments are included or excluded, and avoid complicated medical jargon as much as possible.

People told us they wanted quick access to a health professional so they could get the help they need to get better and back to work faster.

So we developed different tiers including our Diagnosis and Treatment options for both SMEs, the self-employed and larger companies.

The package includes 24/7 access to a private GP, nurse helpline, as well as an annual health check kit, physio support with up to at least five sessions, private specialist consultations, private specialist tests and diagnosis with no excess.

For the self-employed, we also introduced 24/7 mental health stress support and up to eight counselling sessions as standard, which companies can purchase as extras along with dental and optical cover.

We truly believe in this day and age that no-one should be out of pocket if they need to make a claim, that’s why AXA Health settles authorised medical treatment bills directly. There’s no waiting to be reimbursed.

Gone are the days of paperwork, chasing and endless admin – our sleek digital platform makes anything from submitting claims to accessing GP appointments and health support a breeze.

One of the inconvenient truths about insurance is it’s boring.

And while, traditionally, it has been seen as an elitist male, pale and stale product, 50% of our customer base is millennial. Younger, progressive, forward-thinking companies are increasingly telling us ‘we want to look after our staff’ and are thrilled to find plans that suit them.

Equipsme believes the health of every person – be it the delivery driver or the director - is important. Whether you are in your teens or your 50s or 60s you deserve to be taken care of.