The coronavirus pandemic has highlighted the need for quick and efficient access to medical advice and treatment. COVER investigates the changing environment
The pandemic has brought with it an increased awareness of the importance of good health and wellbeing, and recognition that the NHS is under immense strain.
The NHS Confederation recently warned the number of people waiting for NHS treatment could double to 10 million by the end of the year, due to treatments delayed as a result of the crisis.
Cancer Research estimates that during lockdown: 100,000 people have missed out on screenings; 290,000 people with suspected symptoms have not been referred for hospital tests, and 23,000+ cancers may have gone undiagnosed.
According to Cheryl Brennan, director of corporate consulting for Howden Employee Benefits & Wellbeing, the value we place on our health has increased significantly as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. "Coming out of the crisis, people want to ensure they and their families can get quick access to medical advice and treatment, when it is needed," she says.
"Many will be looking to their employers to offer better health and wellbeing solutions or considering paying for private healthcare themselves."
The pandemic has also brought into sharp focus how delays in access to screening and diagnosis, coupled with long waiting lists for treatment, are impacting on staff absence and presenteeism.
While for most employers and employees a company paid, fully comprehensive private medical plan would be desirable, brokers are finding that health cash plans are offering more affordable options amid the pressures of an economic crisis.
"Group risk products are being reviewed by clients and many are deciding that they are more important than ever," Claire Ginnelly, managing director for Premier Choice explains. "Sadly, some have had to cancel due to the economic situation but it has been a last resort. Cash plans have been part of the conversation as they are a more cost effective way of providing some cover for employees. They also often offer the added value services which we see in private medical insurance (PMI) and group risk policies."
But a tailored approach that fits the health and wellbeing needs for an entire workforce is where health cash plans are playing an increasingly important role.
Click here to read the full article and more from COVER and Simplyhealth in their exclusive ‘Facing the New World' guide for employers and brokers.