When asked what employee benefits they’d like their employer to provide, almost 1 in 3 workers at the UK’s SMEs said health insurance, ranking this top of the list of insurance benefits workers would like to see.
The NHS does a fantastic job with the resources it has, but pressure is growing thanks to funding squeeze and a sicker population. Given this, it’s no wonder that a policy that provides treatment for acute medical issues in private facilities with no waiting lists is so popular among workers.
Yet it’s not just workers who benefit from business health insurance – employers can gain from it, too.
NHS waiting statistics make for sobering reading. At the end of March 2018, there were 2,755 patients waiting to start treatment who’d been waiting more than 52 weeks. Meanwhile, the median wait time for inpatient treatment in 2017/18 was 10 weeks.
If you had a worker with a painful health condition, they could be off work for some time if they had to wait for NHS treatment. This might mean you paying both sick pay and overtime for other staff members to take on their workload for weeks at a time.
Having private healthcare in place means your workers can get treatment faster when they need it, with more flexible appointments that can be better slotted in around a work schedule. As such, company health insurance is a benefit for both employers and their employees.
Clearing up cost concerns
“While business health insurance is a popular benefit, it does come at a cost,” says Nadeem Farid, Head of Employee Benefits at Drewberry. “However, it’s important to note that it’s an inherently flexible insurance, with many factors to consider that can adjust the cost of cover.
“Whether you’re looking to play with the excess, implement the six-week NHS wait, limit outpatient cover or restrict your lists of eligible hospitals, there are so many different ways for your adviser to explore reducing the cost of cover for your employees.”
Of course, a full health insurance plan could still be out of reach, especially for smaller businesses.
“If full health insurance is simply not in your price range, there is another option to consider to give your workers health benefits: a health cash plan,” explains Nadeem. “This provides a payout to meet everyday health expenses we all face, such as the cost of optical and dental treatment and money towards prescriptions. These also prove popular among workers and are a good ‘halfway house’ between full Private Health Insurance and no cover at all.”
The key message to take away is that in today’s tight labour market – one in which 48% of SME workers are considering searching for a new job in the next 12 months – employee benefits are a key way to retain and recruit top talent. With health benefits topping the list of cover workers desire, in today’s competitive jobs marketplace it makes sense that employers are looking at this from all angles to keep workers happy.
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