Insurance for your health insurance? Could Wellness programmes prevent unnecessary usage and thus cut premiums?

Wellness London was recently asked by a major law firm; “Why do we need a wellness programme when we have comprehensive private medical insurance?”

An excellent question that we felt we should approach in a blog. With so many employee benefits available to employers there is no doubt health insurance, alongside a pension, is the most in demand.

Wellness programmes are a rapidly growing trend but the most common question asked is the one above. Can it tie in with health insurance? Can it replace health insurance? We will attempt to answer these issues and more now.

Wellness London has been operational for two and a half years, we are no longer a start-up, we are in fact somewhat of a pioneer in the wellness market in the UK.  We genuinely deliver a balanced programme, one that does not value nutrition over mental health or exercise over postural care.  We believe in promotion and prevention across all pillars of wellness.

Wellness providers are very different to insurance providers, with a different motivation.  We aim to prevent people from becoming unhealthy, we make people well, thus in effect saving people using their health insurance. For health insurers, this means fewer payouts for expensive treatments, leaving them able to offer more cost-effective health plans. In short; wellness programmes are good for everyone.

With a prevention programme in place, though, should a company still have private medical insurance (PMI)?

Insurance – Nearly all employers now need it and pay it regardless of costs.

A strategic well thought-out wellness programme is in fact insurance for your insurance.

The health insurers will potentially earmark senior executives as being high risk for stress markers and other signs of disease as well as typically being older and therefore cost more to insure.  That amount will continue to rise as they age.

Does an employee have a history of poor health?  A history of poor health compares to points on your driving license.  Expect hefty premiums!

As a business, it’s never going to be good if your high health risk employees have to make claims for private medical insurance.  Certain medical procedures can cost hundreds of thousands.  It is at this point when you realise the potential costs involved that the insurers.  Suddenly they have justification for charging many thousands of pounds per employee!

You never want to use insurance, (be it health / care/home) in fact, we often try to do all we can to avoid making a claim (in fear of annual premiums jumping ever higher). For example, we drive more carefully to avoid accidents or store the car off-road to decrease the risk of it getting stolen. You might get a burglar alarm on your house, put a lock on your bike. The theme: prevention.

What can you do to prevent your employees using health insurance unnecessarily?

  • Find out what are the current problems are, then build a policy that benefits the team. For example; musculoskeletal complaints due to poor posture at the desk or poor nutrition due to inadequate snacks or education on how to eat well at work.
  • Bring services to the workplace. Often people ignore niggles as they don’t want the disruption of having to take time off for an appointment. The problem gets much worse then they have to use their insurance.  Bringing GP’s and therapists into offices allows early stage detection of injuries and illness which often respond to simple changes and education.
  • Keep your employees healthy. Healthy workers can be up to 3 times as productive as those in bad health. You cannot force lifestyle changes, but you can make them appealing.
  • Address the most common reasons for sickness and insurance claims, notably work-related stress and musculoskeletal disorders.
  • Provide a healthy and safe facility (showers, lockers, fridges, clear stairwells, fresh fruit, etc.).
  • Invest! Organisations can reportedly reap returns of 6:1 for every £ spent on health and wellness programmes.
  • Encourage participation in programmes, allowing people to attend during work hours. It is imperative that the senior managers take workplace health seriously.
  • Find role models and champions within the business. If someone has successfully improved their personal wellbeing substantially then make a story of their success, spread their message (as long as they don’t mind of course).

Please contact us for more information on getting #wellinto workplace wellness.

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