Health Insurance in the Work Place

For a long time now, one of the most attractive “perks” in job advertisements has been “private sickness insurance”. For those who start employment with a firm that offers this, its an appreciable benefit. When it extends to the family too, it can offer a great deal of peace of mind. The employer benefits by their employees ability to sort out health problems quickly and efficiently, with negligible time off work.

A recent study showed that when it comes to employee benefits on the health front, long term sick pay was rated the most popular product. In general, financial benefits are very much more popular with staff than more preventative measures such as flu vaccinations, membership to a gym or health club or counseling services. In the current financial climate people are more concerned about how they would manage if they were ill than in taking steps to avoid those illnesses.

There was a marked difference in peoples priorities when it came to health benefits. Younger workers were much more likely to appreciate the benefits of subsidised gym membership, sports related activities and counseling. Those in the mid thirties age group and beyond rated health screening, private medical insurance and healthcare cash plans as their main priorities, whilst the over fifty fives overwhelmingly chose critical illness insurance as the most important cover.

Private medical cover is considerably expensive for businesses that may be facing tightened financial conditions themselves. However, by listening to what their employees are telling them, particularly in the younger age group, it continues to be a good investment which means that their valued staff are less likely to suffer from illnesses which prevent them for working.

There are various health insurance schemes for employers. Traditional private health insurance means that any premiums which are paid to the insurance company are kept by them and invested to pay claims in the future. The money has gone out of the company who took out the insurance, whether or not claims are made.

The alternative is to pay money into a fund, which belongs to the business. This fund would be available to pay for run-of-the-mill less expensive treatments and minor illnesses and injuries, running alongside a comprehensive insurance scheme for the more major health issues. Therefore the premium would be reduced considerably. If it is found that members tend to use the NHS for these less serious conditions or rarely claim for them, then the employers benefit from the savings which are made.

A representative of one of the main companies who run health fund schemes stated that “The cost of providing health insurance is often a long-term commitment for many businesses and they need to look at the lifetime cost of policies, which can be huge. Being tied in to a product with spiraling costs way ahead of real-world inflation is not attractive to many business owners and executives, and providing private health insurance for staff has become prohibitive for many companies.”

However, if the costs of providing good quality cover can be cut, then it will help companies to continue to provide for their employees and show a healthy saving in their companies finances at the same time. This had to be good for everyone concerned.

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