Why do you need to think about employee health insurance for staff?

The working population is getting older, creating more diverse populations of staff – all with differing needs. One thing remains the same. Absenteeism is still a big problem for employers. In fact, 140 million days of work are lost each year in the UK due to sickness absence1. So the health and wellbeing of your staff is of the utmost importance.

  • Prevent - Intervene - Protect
    We encourage our clients to identify potential problems early and take prompt action to support staff as quickly as possible.
  • Find the right balance
    Engaging and educating your employees can mitigate your risks and reduce your costs while helping to ensure a healthier, happier and more productive workforce.
  • Attract and retain your best people
    More than half of employees place high value on the employee benefits provided by their employer, including employee health insurance. This is why 73% of employers have woken up to the power of using benefits to attract and retain staff2.

How our employee healthcare consultants can help

As every client is different, so are your health and wellbeing requirements. Our specialist employee benefits team will provide advice on the most appropriate range of employee health insurance products and services that best fit your objectives.

2. MetLife UK Employee Benefit Trends Survey 2017

Employee healthcare for small businesses

Elect is a new private medical insurance designed especially for smaller businesses, covering up to 9 people.

Private medical insurance for independent schools

Cover to support your key staff and their dependants with immediate access to private consultations, diagnosis and treatment.

Private medical insurance

Cover to support your staff's wellbeing and provide immediate access to private consultations, diagnosis and treatment.

Dental insurance

Cover for a range of treatments, hygienist visits and procedures for your employees.

Health cash plans

Cover to provide your staff with cash benefits for a range of day to day treatments from health professionals.

Health screening

Health assessments to pick up potential health issues before they become major issues.

Employee assistance programmes

Employee assistance programmes (EAP) can deliver support to help maintain the emotional wellbeing of your employees. They provide a qualified counselling service to help contain problems and prevent them spiralling out of control.

Occupational health

Put in place services, controls and measures to get your people back to work in a suitable role as quickly as possible.

Group scheme leaver service 

Do you have staff retiring or leaving your employment? Help them understand what happens to their private medical insurance when they leave your business to ease their worries and create a positive leaving experience. Our group scheme leaver service helps ensure they remain protected.

Business and leisure travel insurance

If your employees suffer unexpected difficulties when travelling for business purposes, you want to ensure that they are covered.

Frequently asked questions

Why use an intermediary?
A: There are 3 ways of purchasing private medical insurance: direct from an insurer, through an intermediary or through an agent (e.g. bank, retail outlet). The benefit of using an advisor like Mercer Marsh Benefits is that we give you the best recommendations after assessing your needs in a consultative way. We are responsible for the advice we give and we can give advice on a carefully selected range of insurers, not just one product or insurer.
How much do employees pay for employee healthcare insurance?
If an employee is part of an employer paid scheme then their premium will be paid to the insurer by the company, so the employee does not have to. However, there are some indirect charges which they may face for this benefit in kind – tax, national insurance, policy excess for example. It may also be acceptable for the employee to pay to add their family members to the policy at their own cost, depending on the scheme design. In these cases the employee will pay the premium but it won’t be subject to p11d benefit in kind tax calculations. We can provide further guidance on whether a benefit is exempt or not, or you can find further information at www.gov.uk.
What else does my private medical insurance cover provide?

Private medical insurance policies have changed a lot since they were first offered and all insurers and providers acknowledge that they want to be of benefit to those who don’t need to claim, as well as those who do. While it varies by plan some of the features can include:

  • Employee Assistance Programmes offering support on a range of issues including financial concerns and stress
  • Discounted shopping portal and reward programmes
  • Health calculators and online assessments to identify key health risks and provide coaching or guidance on how to reduce those risks
  • 24/7 medical support helplines for reassurance and guidance
  • Access to health and wellbeing information resources
  • Discounted health screening and other insurances
Why have private medical insurance policies developed to offer these additional benefits?

This is a constant topic of debate in HR and employee benefit magazines. A fitter, healthier and more engaged workforce will mean better productivity and less staff turnover. It is always hard to put a figure on this, however it’s widely acknowledged to be of benefit for both the company and the staff.

  1. Helping companies to reduce illness and claims by providing support for prevention in the first place. Move the focus from reactive, to proactive, health and wellbeing support
  2. Insurers genuinely want to help people get healthier by better understanding their health risks and improving their wellbeing 
  3. A way for everyone to see a benefit of being in the company PMI scheme 
  4. To encourage more usage of their online facilities as most of these features are delivered by the web or through an app
What health insurance can I provide for employees who are not part of the private medical insurance plan?

There are lots of options available so please speak with us to discuss this further. It will depend on your budget, what you are looking to achieve and your staff culture.

  • Pay for a lower cost option: reduced benefits PMI, cash plan, employee assistance programme, dental insurance, group life as examples
  • Change focus to prevention over protection for all staff and roll out some educational support through healthy eating or exercise support, financial education workshops, flu jabs
  • Look at options where the employees pay for the cover but you arrange access it to it – known as voluntary options.
Are we able to change insurer/provider?

Depending on your circumstances you may be able to change your PMI company and Mercer Marsh Benefits will facilitate this and make it as easy as possible. If you want to switch then there are 5 main things you need to consider:

  • Significant conditions and claims – the key contact for the PMI scheme may need to sign a declaration advising the new insurer of any conditions, whether claimed for or not, that are taking place now, planned for the future or happened in the past for the whole membership. This will determine whether a transfer to a new insurer is possible and on what terms they will accept the group.
  • Comparing your cover – even if your employees’ personal medical exclusions are the same with the new insurer, the overall cover and the terms and conditions of the new insurer are likely to be different.
  • Paperwork – the paperwork required varies from one provider to another but there’s likely to be an application form to sign and you might need to ask your employees to provide a copy of their policy certificate as proof of their current cover.
  • PMI is usually offered through an annual contract. If you are thinking of switching to another insurer, it’s best to consider doing this at your renewal date. At any other time you may lose premium so this will need to be checked.
  • Pre-existing conditions – some insurers will not add any new medical exclusions. But others may price on the basis that the policy is re-underwritten and new medical conditions are excluded. The price will often be lower but your employees on cover could be left without cover for an on-going issue.

What are other companies offering as employee benefits in our industry?
A ‘one size fits all’ does not exist and every plan is different. An effective solution involves a detailed fact find to understand your specific requirements and a tailored recommendation to help achieve them.
What about global solutions for staff based overseas?
Our specialist international healthcare team has in depth knowledge of different healthcare systems and regulatory requirements across the world. They can help you to understand, source and manage the best solution for your individual needs. Let us know and we can put you in touch with our experts.
What is an employee assistance programme?
An employee assistance programme (EAP) is designed to help employees deal with personal and/or work related problems that might impact their work performance, health and wellbeing (emotional or financial). It provides a qualified counselling service to help contain problems and prevent them spiralling out of control. It can include telephone support and in some circumstances face to face support can also be provided. Please note some policies have an EAP embedded as part of the core cover.
What is a health cash plan?
A health cash plan can be a very cost-effective way to support your employees and help protect your business. It can be offered as a standalone benefit but equally integrates with other wellbeing benefits. It provides cash benefits for a range of day to day treatments from health professionals, including, but not limited to consultants, dentists, opticians and physiotherapists. Whether it’s a check-up or treatment, your employees can usually obtain quicker diagnosis and treatment in the private health sector and receive cashback, up to set limits. Many health cash plans providers also offer online portals, second opinion cover and integrated employee assistance programmes to help further enhance the wellbeing of your employees.

Mercer Marsh Benefits (MMB) is a trading name of Jelf Insurance Brokers Ltd, which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). Not all products and services offered are regulated by the FCA (for details see marshcommercial.co.uk/info/terms). Registered in England and Wales number 0837227. Registered Office: 1 Tower Place West, London, EC3R 5BU.