Healthcare is complicated. We at Medigo know that just as well as anyone – we've helped hundreds of thousands of patients find the medical care they needed. But healthcare takes on another level of complexity when it's not just your health needs that you're looking after, but rather a whole company's.
In this post, Medigo's UK Managing Director, Bruce Eaton, explains the current situation of employee health benefits. Bruce lays out some of the current problems faced and some predictions for the future, before finishing with some actionable tips on how employers can find value in their health benefits package. .
The Modern Workplace
One of the main issues facing employers who want to look after their employees' health is that it's difficult to find a one-size-fits-all plan that will fit everyone in the company. Most people have disparate health needs, but this is particularly striking now that many large companies in the UK employ five generations of employees.
From Generation Z's eager digital natives to the experienced, old-school baby boomers, UK companies have never been so diverse. This is a huge strength for them, as age-diverse workforces have been linked with greater knowledge-sharing and innovation as well as enhanced customer service. But it also means it's easy to leave somebody out when assembling employee benefits, as employers will struggle to cater to a 'workplace family' who all have unique and varying health and wellbeing needs.
The Generations at Work
Let's break this down further by looking at one multinational company's office in London. What do employees need from their workplace health benefits in this situation?
James, 28, works in Marketing. He runs regularly, eats well, and considers himself in fairly good shape. But a root canal last year has left him in dire need of a dental crown. It would be purely cosmetic, so the NHS won't cover it, and private dental care is really expensive. James is feeling worse and worse about his smile.
His manager, Priya, is 39 and hasn't been sick for years, but she and her partner have recently decided they want to have children. It looks like the best way for Priya to conceive will be via fertility treatment, and she's nearly past the age where the NHS covers treatment. Priya has Private Medical Insurance through her company, but PMI doesn't cover fertility treatment, either.
Head of Marketing, Lillian, is 61 and in no rush to retire: she loves her job, and she has integral knowledge and experience to contribute to the company. Recently, though, she's been slowed down by increasing pain in her hip, which is affecting her mobility, mood, and absentee rate at work. She never enrolled on the company's PMI scheme because she was always covered by her husband's company policy, but now he's retired and the company plan excludes her hip as a pre-existing condition. A hip replacement might be on the horizon, but waiting times with the NHS are long and getting longer.
The company's Managing Director, Mohammed, 55, thought he was in great health until a regular GP check-up spiralled into a sudden prostate cancer diagnosis. He's covered by the company's PMI scheme, but neither his local NHS nor private hospitals can access the newly available, very necessary proton beam therapy he has been advised would be the best treatment. His specialist has told him that the treatment is available abroad, albeit at a high price point.
All of these employees, of course, have their own families, and our families are also getting larger. In 2017, 2.4 million Brits were part of the "sandwich generation", the term used for those who are caring both for children and for elderly parents. And the BBC has reported that 15% of the workforce is now juggling work and caring responsibilities.
If employers want to cater to all five generations in their company as well as to help them manage family responsibilities, they need to find a solution that doesn't leave a large portion of the company behind.
How To Improve Health Benefits In The Workplace
The challenges facing employers can seem daunting, but they're not just obstacles that must be beaten; they're also opportunities for companies to adapt, evolve and mature for the better. The outcomes of the right healthcare benefits plan for employees is felt throughout an entire organisation, including:
- Improved mental health and wellbeing,
- Declining absentee rates, and
- A growing sense of trust and happiness
Spending on healthcare benefits is rising. With employment so high in the UK, employers are using healthcare benefits to attract the best and brightest candidates to their companies… and keep them.
A good healthcare package will ideally take care of a range of health concerns, including mental health. PMI is too expensive to give to every member of a company, and as we've seen above, PMI can't solve every problem. That means employers should be looking beyond traditional healthcare offerings to find something innovative, flexible, and be open to new developments and opportunities in healthcare both in the UK and abroad.
Healthcare is never going to be simple, but the right employee benefits package can make it simple, at least, for the company itself. Companies shouldn't have to solve every health concern of every employee themselves; they just need to find someone who can.
Click here to read Bruce's full whitepaper. For more information or to hear about Medigo's healthcare benefit offering, contact firstname.lastname@example.org