York-based health and wellbeing provider Benenden has strengthened its corporate offering with the launch of Benenden Business Healthcare, which offers a bespoke package of benefits designed to tackle long-term absenteeism.
The contractual health insurance product, underwritten by Bupa, is targeted at SMEs who can be particularly vulnerable to the financial impact of employees being signed off with long-term illness, but who typically find corporate healthcare cost-prohibitive.
Helen Smith, group business development director at Benenden, said: “Prolonged workplace absence can have a debilitating effect on businesses, especially SMEs, so we have created a product that helps to positively manage the health of a workforce in a practical and affordable way, both in the long-term and also in the short-term by speeding up access to GP advice .”
The product launch has been backed by recent research undertaken by Benenden revealing that one in five employees ranked employer-funded healthcare as their number one benefit, while 43% believe it is their employer’s responsibility to provide a healthcare offering.
The corporate healthcare market is considerably larger than the individual-paid private medical insurance (PMI) one, with private medical cover funded by employers accounting for three-quarters of the PMI market.
As part of the Benenden Business Healthcare package, all members are covered by a full diagnostic plan to ensure they receive a medical diagnosis without the delays often associated with the NHS. Once diagnosed, they are managed back into the NHS to help get them back to full health.
However, should they be diagnosed with either a musculoskeletal problem or mental illness – the two conditions which are responsible for the majority of long-term absenteeism – then they will continue to be covered by Benenden’s health insurance.
A 24/7 Medical advice line will also be available to members of the Benenden Business Healthcare scheme. This will provide round the clock access to medical advice and support from qualified, UK based nurses and GPs with the aim of helping employees to get faster access to a GP and thus reduce short term workplace absences.
Helen Smith added: “Only a small proportion of the public opt for private medical insurance, which means when they have a health issue they are vulnerable to NHS waiting lists. This health insurance package ensures that employees are managed back to full health without delay, without employers having to invest in a corporate insurance package which is very expensive and – to an extent – unnecessary.”
Benenden Business Healthcare is currently being distributed through a select network of brokers, with a view to increase this over the course of 2016 in a phased roll-out.