Wednesday 27th March 2019

Misconceptions stopping employees using healthcare benefits

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Article By Dave Morman

Misconceptions stopping employees using healthcare benefits

A common misconception about healthcare benefits is that they are not confidential. Employees are worried that if they use a counselling service, via an employee assistance programme (EAP) for example, that information can be fed back to their employer and potentially used against them.

However, such services are completely confidential.

Many believe health benefits are just about shorter waiting times and cost-effective treatment, but the benefits are usually far wider and can include mental health first-aid training, for example, which helps managers spot signs of mental ill-health, understand how they can best support an employee, and signpost them to more help if needed.

Healthcare benefits are also sometimes deemed as something only for those in the most senior roles but that’s not the case. It’s in a firm’s best interests to try to ensure a greater take-up of benefits company-wide as often discounts can be provided and premiums kept lower.

And as older people are more likely to suffer from ill-health than younger generations, many believe healthcare benefits are mainly aimed at older employees. Again, this is not true. Studies show a link between leading a healthy lifestyle and having a long and healthy life overall.

Health screenings help to maintain health and identify issues before they become a bigger problem. This helps employees nip any health concerns in the bud.

Another misconception is that some employers think healthcare benefits are too expensive, preferring to offer bonuses instead when the business is doing well. But research by Centre for Economics and Business Research found that long-term absence of six months or more costs the UK £4.17bn each year.

Private Medical Insurance can also offer access to rehabilitation treatments, such as physiotherapy, helping employees make healthier and quicker returns to work. Meanwhile, cash plans can provide a cost-effective way to help employees stay on top of their health.

Health and wellbeing benefits are improving all the time to make them more relevant to today’s employers and their workers. They are some of the most valued benefits by employees and can add much value to the company too.

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