5 key steps to getting your approach to PMI on track

The cost of private medical insurance continues to spiral out of control. Typically, PMI costs have increased between 5% and 15% every year for the last 10 years.

medical costs

During this time, the average annual cost of a policy has risen from £500 to £1,870, partially due to expensive drug treatments and lack of competition between insurers. Unfortunately, there’s no sign that this issue will be resolved any time this year. 

Where’s the rub?

Over 50s currently make up 27% of the workforce, with this number predicted to rise to a third by 2020. This is important because as your workforce ages, the number of claims will increase and with the cost of cancer treatments ever increasing, we are forced to question the affordability of PMI arrangements.

It is paramount to have a robust health and wellbeing package in place to help provide the best support for your workforce. However, it is equally important to remember that the way you look after unwell employees is a critical part of your employer/employee relationship.

You need to consider how work impacts your employees’ health, and in turn how their health impacts their work to understand the health challenges your employees may be facing and the implications these will have on your organisation. If you do not do this, you risk alienating current and prospective employees.

These are just a few of the many problems to consider when deciding how to manage your healthcare strategy. Introduce a more holistic approach to wellness with these 5 key steps to get your PMI scheme on the right track.

1) Understanding needs

Understanding the psychological challenges which accompany long-term illness is a good start. One of the biggest criticisms levied at employers is that the dialogue used around illnesses such as cancer is difficult at best, and at worst, stifled.

2) Taking a holistic approach

Employers need to develop holistic strategies which deal with wellness as a whole, planning support strategies that deal with the effects of long-term illness, not just the immediate treatment costs.

For example, sufferers can find the return to work incredibly difficult. It’s crucial to have strategies in place to manage this as carefully as possible - allowing flexible working for example, or reduced hours. It’s also possible to use PMI to help with aspects of an employee’s life outside of the office. Benefits such as childcare or cleaning, can take an extra worry off employees’ minds and can have a big impact on employees’ work-life balance.

3) Choosing providers

Be sure to choose the right insurers. Some are already taking steps to provide a holistic solution so will support your strategy. These insurers provide options for supporting the employee through the challenges of treatment and post treatment. One such service includes a dedicated nurse for up to a year after the treatment has finished.

4) Equipping your teams

It’s not just about managing the fatigue, we need to bear in mind these employees have been through emotional trauma and will need support upon their gradual return to work. Managers and HR teams need to be equipped to deal with these situations. This could include offering managers listening and dialogue training.

5) Prevention

Finally, employers need to look at health and wellness approaches to improve the underlying health of their workforces. In the UK, 42% of cancers are preventable. Employers should therefore be taking steps to proactively help their employees manage their health and wellbeing, so that cancer claims in the future are minimised.

This could involve running anti-smoking seminars, educating employees about nutrition or running health screening programmes. Employers would also benefit from putting measurable objectives in place to quantify the impact of wellness strategies on claims. It’s time to adopt a new approach, the PMI clock is ticking. 

For more top tips on your health and wellbeing strategy, listen to our webinar ‘How do you design a benefits scheme that stands the test of time’.

Luke Prankard is senior health and wellbeing consultant at Thomsons Online Benefits.

This article was provided by Thomsons Online Benefits.

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