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    Seven (million) reasons for HR teams to consider employee private medical insurance

    21 March 2023

    Emma Snowden

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    3 minute read

    Employer health insurance means much more to your people than simply cost

    We’ve all seen the clickbait headlines, generally featuring exclamation marks and laughably duff claims such as: “Exciting news for (your town here) seniors on funeral planning!!” Or, “Sensational new way to make a Will!!”

    If you’re tempted to click on the breathless bot copy, you’ll find very little or, indeed, nothing to justify its claims, beyond having to scroll through ever more irksome ads.

    I reference this phenomenon by way of affirming the authenticity and relevance of the source of the headline for this post.

    1. As of October last year, there were, actually, 7.2 million people in England alone waiting for elective treatment on the NHS with 3.1 million waiting for more than four months and just over 400,000 looking at a year before their procedure takes place.

    So what, you may be thinking. It’s not really news that the NHS remains under considerable pressure.

    But where it does hit home is when it affects your workforce. Consider the impact if one of your colleagues were forced to wait months – even a year – before they could finally be treated? Their personal suffering, family concern and the ultimate effect it would have on your organisation is a risk which needs to be considered carefully.

    2. However this is a risk which can be effectively managed with employee private medical insurance. If this sounds a predictable position, point taken but the point remains: there is a solution to manage something which is difficult to predict but, if anything, is growing.

    Cover of this type now routinely includes online consultations with general practitioners within 48 hours as opposed to wrangling with a receptionist in the vain hope of landing a physical appointment he or she seems to have been tasked with preventing.

    One major provider has seen calls soar from 2,000 a month before the pandemic to more than 40,000 with the isolation covid wrought demonstrating the effectiveness of a digital doctor dialogue as opposed to actually being able to physically visit one.

    3. But what if employer health insurance is something beyond the budget of your organisation? Its advantages become academic if they are unaffordable. Health cash plans have been developed with this restriction in mind.

    Staff can pay for treatment, ranging from physiotherapy and routine dental or optical procedures to a diagnostic consultation. They can then claim cash back up to a pre-set limit, shielding organisations from a financial commitment too far.

    4. It might be a familiar refrain but that’s because it’s proved to the be the case. Valuable benefits such as employee private medical insurance and health cash plans do help employers reassure, retain and recruit staff. In an era of high employment and competition for the best people, a well-judged private medical package helps to send a strong message that companies who say they care demonstrate they do so.

    5. The latest Punter Southall HR survey provides a further snapshot on the theme of caring: how employers view wellbeing. If “mental health” can be considered a factor in overall wellbeing, which we think it can, our latest research found it very much in the forefront of HR teams’ considerations.

    At number three in the list (below pensions and flexible working), its prominence, compared to the previous survey’s sixth position, reflects the concerns we see in the market. And it’s a principal reason employee private medical insurance continues to expand beyond the physical and surgical to those touchpoints which comprise the kind of wellbeing your people may be seeking.

    6. Workforce age profile is also a factor informing what kind of employer health insurance is right for your organisation. As a general rule, the older the average age, the greater the likelihood of colleagues falling ill. This may be a compelling reason to invest in their health for the good of both your business and their vitality, especially given the government-backed push to persuade 50-somethings who have retired to return to work.

    7. Last but certainly not least, how do you knit all this together? How does private health insurance work for your organisation and its commercial objectives? Fitting the right policies to your workforce’s needs is a unique proposition.

    An adviser experienced in navigating the market for private healthcare in the UK on behalf of corporate clients can make sense of what can be a bewildering number of choices and features in a highly competitive sector. Granted, not seven million but certainly enough to warrant a conversation.

    Get in touch to find out how we can help your people and your organisation.

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    Health cover your staff will cherish

    Valuable benefits such as employee private medical insurance and health cash plans do help employers reassure, retain and recruit staff.

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