How to choose the most appropriate healthcare benefits for your particular workforce


People are the most important part of any organisation. Employers of all shapes and sizes are increasingly investing in healthcare benefits that can help them to reduce sickness absence and look after the health and wellbeing of their employees.

As well as helping with their duty of care, these health benefits can make employees feel valued whilst improving workforce engagement, morale, productivity and retention. However, as every organisation and every person is different, the question of which healthcare benefit is the most appropriate for your particular workforce is a complex one.

You could choose private medical insurance (PMI) and critical illness insurance, but the costs sometime mean they are only made available to executives. Cycle to work schemes and company paid fitness classes can work well, but the uptake is unpredictable. Alternatively, you may prefer a more holistic solution that supports the physical, mental and financial wellbeing of all your employees.

Health cash plans are a growing industry and could be the answer when deciding which solution is best for your workforce. As well as providing preventative health services such as 24/7 counselling and support helplines, health cash plans look after the everyday healthcare needs of employees through a wide range of health benefits, including cashback on dental, optical and physiotherapy costs. This type of healthcare benefit encourages employees to look after their wellbeing and have also become much more flexible to meet the needs of different employers.

Tailoring to fit  

Look beyond the one-size-fits-all, off-the-shelf health cash plans and you’ll discover that some plans enable employers to create their own tailored plan. Organisations can pick and choose from a long list of health benefits to meet their individual needs and budget. You can build a bespoke health cash plan to meet your particular requirements, adjusting the health benefits to suit, whether your workforce is office-based or involves lots of manual labour.

Our version of this has become so popular that over 70% of the members who joined Health Shield in 2016 were part of a tailored scheme.

Another thing to consider when assessing healthcare benefits is that some products are designed to merge with each other. The number of health cash plans providing cover for PMI excess payments continues to grow. Whereas, traditionally, health cash plans were seen as a benefit primarily for blue-collar workers, employers can now dovetail their PMI provision with a health cash plan to enhance employee engagement at all levels.

Start with health screening

If you’re unsure where to start, a health screening programme could be the ideal first step to identifying the health needs of your workforce. As well as helping to detect problems like high cholesterol and blood pressure, they can identify serious illnesses like diabetes and cancer, meaning employees can access treatment at an early stage.

Over time, health screening can help your employee build up a picture of their own long-term health which, in turn, allows you to provide support where it’s needed most. You can even get health checks in a temporary clinic in your workplace. This makes health screening more affordable and means that employees can receive individual results and confidential advice without having to travel to and from expensive clinics.

There are many different health benefits in the market. Before you make a decision, it’s a good idea to listen to your employees and their needs and look into the reasons behind their sickness absence.

You may discover that there is a big demand for a specific health benefit such as health screening, counselling or stress prevention. Or, you may find that a product that provides a wide range of health benefits may be more suitable to meet the diverse needs of your workforce.

Whatever you choose, looking after the health and wellbeing of your employees is the right decision.

This article was provided by Health Shield.


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