PROSPER MAGAZINE: DIGITAL EDITION
PEOPLE CONSIDERING PRIVATE HEALTHCARE ALMOST DOUBLES
Demand for health insurance as an employee benefit is also on the rise as a result of Covid-19.
The number of people considering private healthcare treatment and insurance has nearly doubled since the start of the pandemic, research conducted for Equipsme has shown.
The nationwide survey of 1,500 UK adults found that 15% were open to paying for it before the Covid-19, however, that figure has risen to 27%.
The research also found that younger people are most likely to consider paying privately for healthcare, with 30% of those aged 18-34 answering this way, compared to 22% of those aged 55 and over.
Waiting times for specialist treatment was the most common reason given for this interest. As many as 67% of those surveyed said they are worried about the NHS's ability to deal with non-urgent and non-COVID related conditions, while 76% of people said they were concerned about NHS waiting lists.
The NHS Confederation warned earlier this month the Covid-19 crisis could see the number of people waiting for NHS treatment double to 10 million by the end of the year due to backlog of cases, social distancing measures and staff availability.
Kevin Rogers, CEO of Wolverhampton based Health Cash Plan Provider Paycare said, “With the NHS under unprecedented pressure, even before the onset of the Coronavirus crisis, it’s hugely important for organisations to be encouraged to consider the preventative healthcare and wellbeing of their teams.
The happiness and financial health of our communities have never been more important and aside from the emergency, urgent and COVID-related treatment which the NHS is understandably having to prioritise, employers could have a role to play in helping people access the right support.
“Services such as GP apps, which are provided within some Health Cash Plan and Benefits Packages for employees or individuals, are hopefully playing some small part in relieving the pressure on GPs who are of course working tirelessly to help as many patients as possible.
“With the long-term impact of Coronavirus still unknown, the technology-based services that organisations are able to invest directly in (which the NHS may not have the focus nor resources to provide) could help to minimise the infection control risks associated with face to face appointments.
"This year has sharply brought into focus the importance of timely and affordable access to both preventative and therapeutic healthcare. The pressure during the Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the amazing work of the healthcare system in the UK; we must support their mission and focus on new, flexible access to healthcare when, where and how people really need it.
"As well as a strain on those working with the NHS, many workers across all sectors have been under immense pressure, whether that be increased workloads, absent colleagues, concerns over job security or even childcare and home-schooling.
While many employers begin finding their feet again after one of the most challenging periods in recent history, offering healthcare benefits to employees can offer physical, mental and financial health support with the added benefit of being an affordable way to reward commitment and hard work.”
Meanwhile, the survey by Equipsme also indicated that health insurance as an employee benefit was preferred ahead of gym memberships, childcare vouchers and company phone, below pensions and flexible working.
Employers can take note that this is something that people are increasingly interested in. Now more than ever the industry understands how important it is to protect employees and look after the people that make the business wheels go round.
The working world has changed for good, and beer-and-pizza benefits in kind just aren't going to cut in anymore.
Chamber Team Celebrate Year of Healthcare Benefits
Employees at the Black Country Chamber of Commerce celebrated a fantastic first year of being Paycare Policyholders this month.
The staff enjoy access to an array of Health Cash Plans with the Wolverhampton-based not-for-profit organisation, meaning they benefit from cashback on a range of everyday health costs, access to a digital doctor with MyPocketGP and find support when they need it with the Confidential Counselling Helpline.
Alongside being able to claim back the cost of dental, optical, wellbeing and many other treatments and medical services, the plan also gives the Chamber team access to the newly-relaunched MyPocketGP app so they can have round-the-clock appointments with a practising NHS GP if needed, as well as a range of retail, leisure and entertainment discounts through Paycare Perks.
The association between the two organisations stretches back far longer than the last year as Policyholders – Paycare has been a Chamber member for over 35 years, first joining in January 1984, and became a Patron of the Black Country region’s Chamber of Commerce in 2014.
Paycare CEO Kevin Rogers is ever passionate about the cause of the organisation and its alignment to Paycare’s own values, more so having been a former board member at the Chamber.
When asked what difference the Paycare plan had made, Chamber CEO Corin Crane explained, “Like many employers, we are much more aware of the value of employee health benefits. These benefits are seen very positively here at the Chamber and for both us as a business, and for our employees, the range of health benefits has been incredibly well-received.
“As a business support agency and membership organisation, we know that benefits implemented by employers for their workforce can have a dramatic effect on company productivity and morale, so it’s no surprise that more and more businesses are introducing Health Cash Plans as an employee benefit, recognising the impact that sickness absence has on the bottom line.
“I know many of the team are using Paycare for everything from dental care to eye tests, GP consultations to personal counselling, gym membership and even booking discounted holidays with Paycare Perks.
During these tough economic times, the business case for implementing an employee benefits scheme has never been stronger, and a year into our Health Cash Plan with Paycare, we know that the raft of physical, mental health and wellbeing measures available to our teams is incredibly important.
“The availability of preventive healthcare also means less absence because of our employees’ own health issues, or those of their families. Many employers and especially small businesses don’t realise that offering healthcare benefits can be attractive to employees and even be a retention factor.”
Members of the Chamber team have also shared their experiences with Paycare, one said, “I have used Paycare and found it to be excellent. They have dealt with and paid out my uploaded receipts for my dental check-ups and eye care promptly.
“I have just booked a week away using a Paycare Perks code which is available for Policyholders once you have logged in and the whole process was seamless. I haven’t needed to speak to anyone because online access is simple and straightforward. I have just booked and received a 10% discount using one of their promotional codes on the site, under Paycare Perks.”
Another said, “Our Paycare plan is superb, the costs for my yearly dental and optician tests are now covered, far exceeding what we pay. I can log in and check my benefits, submit a claim, upload receipts and receive claim payments quickly.
“There is also peace of mind in the fact I can ring the MyPocketGP service on behalf of the whole family. There’s also the special Paycare Perks - loads of ‘money off’ offers and savings to be made online, overall it’s saved us a fortune in the first year we’ve been on board, and it costs next to nothing to take out one of the Paycare Health Cash Plans, in fact, I think we are going to upgrade ours.”