EXCLUSIVE: 79% offer private medical insurance to staff

EXCLUSIVE: More than three-quarters (79%) of employer respondents offer private medical insurance (PMI) to employees, according to research by Employee Benefits and Staffcare.

The Employee Benefits/Staffcare Benefits research 2017, which surveyed 271 employer respondents in February-March 2017, also found that 73% of respondents offer PMI to partners and dependents.

In 2016, 71% offered PMI to staff, and 62% offered it to partners and dependents.

Ten years ago, when asked which benefits they offered as part of their core benefits package for all or some staff, 28% and 38% of all respondents listed PMI for employees, respectively. This year, among the 79% of respondents that offer PMI for employees, 45% do so as a core benefit to all staff and 40% do so for some staff.

Counselling or employee assistance programmes (EAPs) have long been a mainstay of employers’ core benefits package, with their popularity growing over the years. In 2004, just 30% of respondents offered an EAP for staff. By 2007, 51% of respondents offered this to all staff and 7% to some employees. Ten years on, 70% of respondents offer counselling or an EAP for employees, of which 89% do so on a core basis for all staff, while 3% do so as core for some of their workforce. This growth may be due to employers’ increasing awareness of stress and mental wellbeing issues and their corresponding desire to provide support for staff.

Notably, more than a quarter (26%) of respondents provide mental health first aid or champion training, and 10% plan to introduce this.