By guest blogger, Westfield Health Chief Executive, Jill Davies
In the wake of the Government’s comprehensive spending review, low-cost, high-return options could become ever more popular contenders for employers looking for suitable employee benefits for staff.
When you combine this with increased attention on the importance of health and wellbeing in the workplace, you can see why corporate health cover is going far beyond simply renewing staff health insurance plans. Companies are, understandably, reviewing both outlay and cover. Employers want to maximise value for money without minimising benefits.
This is where the health cash plan (HCP) comes in. It’s low cost and it’s high impact. Traditionally a mainstay during tough times, the cash plan is, in some instances, finding itself to be the must-have product in the portfolio for many HR managers.
But, what makes a good HCP?
HCP providers have always reflected the changing provision of the NHS to ensure their products are relevant. You’ll find many similarities between the plans on offer, from cash back at the opticians and dentists to physiotherapy. It’s easy to tell the difference here, the amount of cash back your employees will be entitled to is an obvious one. But, there are other details to look out for that could mean a lot to your workforce; are existing medical conditions covered? Is there a qualifying period before they can claim? These are some important variables.
One key differentiator is anticipating and matching changing healthcare needs, the proactive provider is the one striving to identify where provision and availability is diminishing, and expanding the range of benefits beyond the traditional HCP by developing innovative new products accordingly.
So what does this mean? Not all corporate HCPs are aligned to business needs and if an employee needs healthcare but has to wait, the business suffers. Leading providers recognise this and have developed products that are not just employee benefits, they are business benefits too.
Introducing scanning to the plan makes it easier for employees to achieve a quick diagnosis and a faster route to treatment, which means a quicker return to work. MRI, CT and PET scans, can help to diagnose serious conditions such as heart disease and cancer early, potentially at a treatable stage. So your workforce is likely to thank you for this too.
This need for maximum value at a time of increasingly squeezed budgets has helped to create a new perspective on HCPs for employers and employees alike - one of mutuality, where both the employer and the employee benefit. So what makes a good HCP? One that goes beyond the traditional cash benefits and takes care of the business needs as well.
Jill Davies is the Chief Executive at Westfield Health, an EEF Advantage Partner, find out more at www.eef.org.uk/membership/advantages