Health Cash Plans
Here at eXPD8 Field Marketing, we have been reviewing our benefits packages as a means of contributing towards staff retention.
When I first heard about health cash plans I admit to being cynical, both about their attractiveness to our colleagues and the benefits that they would provide. However, following a staff survey held for our Support office and Field Management colleagues, which identified this as a benefit that they would like us to consider, I committed to finding out more.
Health cash plans are a type of insurance which covers a range of cover for essential and everyday health costs, such as dental and optical costs.
With the help of our HR partners at PES Consulting, I was introduced to Health Shield, who are a not for profit friendly society providing Health Cash plans. I met up with David Long, Health Shield’s Business Development Manager for the South West, who gave me the rundown of what benefits could be covered by the scheme. My cynicism fairly quickly turned into “what’s the catch?” as I struggled to believe that such extensive cover could be provided for the level of investment we were considering.
We were able to create bespoke cover, setting benefit levels for the everyday costs then also including other benefits into our package. We wanted to focus on the “wellbeing” elements of the cover, so were able to include health and wellbeing cover, allowing colleagues to reclaim the cost of treatment to relieve pain or prevent illness, including the cost of physiotherapy or even massages! Cover extends to all dependent children, and, for small personal contributions, colleagues are able to increase the value of cover provided, or include their partner in the scheme.
In addition, access to a support helpline, an online GP helpline and a “perks” website are all included as part of the package.
We were able to do several iterations of our plans, instantly seeing the overall cost impact, to enable us to come up with what we perceived to be the best package of benefits for our colleagues given our budget. Once decided, Health Shield provided us with our personalised scheme literature. Our account manager Tracey attended our benefits launch meeting to announce the package to our colleagues (and give me all the credit for it!), which was extremely well-received. Colleagues have already started to make use of the scheme, from reclaiming the cost of replacement contact lenses to prescription charges to Swedish massages!
So, “what’s the catch?” Well, it is a small taxable benefit (less than £20 for most), and there is some administration in managing starters and leavers, but these pale into insignificance when measured against the benefits that can be made available, and the feel-good factor that it has brought with it. I’d recommend companies look into health cash plans as an extremely cost-effective employee benefit – take a look – www.healthshield.co.uk (others providers are available!).
Group Finance Director