Health Cash Plans have become the second most popular employee benefit according to the recent Willis Towers Watson Employee Benefits and Wellbeing Index.* And the continued success of Health Cash Plans has earmarked these as a well-used benefit, with their utilisation in the corporate sphere increasing in recent years.
A health cash plan allows an individual to receive cash payments that cover the price of everyday healthcare costs. This kind of plan will primarily cover optical and dental care, as well as physiotherapy. However, Health Cash Plans can also be tailored to include more varied benefits. They can be employee- or employer-funded as part of a corporate plan.
Whether treatments are provided by the NHS or privately, Health Cash Plans are a low-cost and affordable option for employers when looking to support the health and wellbeing of their staff and fulfil their duty of care.
Employer-paid Health Cash Plans are treated as a benefit-in-kind for tax purposes and the value of the benefit is determined by the premium paid rather than the cash that is repaid to an employee.
They also have an element of flexibility because employers can choose what products to include or exclude for their employees’ plan. As well as leading to general improvements in the health of an organisation’s workforce, Health Cash Plans can contribute towards reduced sickness rates, especially because employees can get a lot of healthcare cover for a minimum cost.
Although inexpensive in basic form, industry trends show that creating a more comprehensive health cash plan package is on the agenda for many employers. Employers are now opting for higher levels of cover as products have become more established.
Brunsdon Employee Benefit Director and Group Risk Consultant Steve Kenyon believes a Health Cash Plan scheme can provide those who do not qualify for PMI with valuable health benefits.
He says, “This may be a driving factor in the continued popularity of Cash Plans. But in reality, Health Cash Plans ideally complement Private Medical Insurance because they provide different benefits. Some employers are looking at how they can bridge the gap between their senior staff who are entitled to PMI and the rest of their workforce and many are finding that Health Cash Plans are the ideal solution.”
In recent years, there has been a trend to offer new additions to Cash Plans, as well as the traditional dental and optical benefits, including access to employee assistance programmes (EAPs), health screening and maternity benefits. As the range of services on offer has increased, so too has the ability for employers to build their own plan, tailored to their requirements or budget.
Another area where improvement is needed is around how effectively Health Cash Plans are communicated to employees. Steve says, “Sometimes the product is little understood or communicated poorly to employees, but a Cash Plan that is well promoted and used can really have an impact by keeping employees well, happy and productive. That’s why they are becoming more and more popular.”
For more information or to learn how a Health Cash Plan could benefit your employees, please contact the Brunsdon Employee Benefits team on 01452 623645.
Please note this article is for information only and does not constitute advice.
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