Complementary health perks at Dennis Publishing

Two-thirds of Dennis Publishing’s 370 UK staff have taken up its health cash plan since it launched in May 2010.

Some employees have also opted for additional partner cover at their own cost.

The cash plan was launched to run alongside a private medical insurance (PMI) scheme. HR director Alison Hunter says: “When the Health Shield cash plan was introduced, we saw a 30% drop in PMI take-up, but only about one-third of staff have both.”

Hunter says the cash plan suits the organisation’s workforce, which has an average age of 32. “It works for the company and staff because of its flexibility and suitability for the lifestyles of the majority of staff. Most say they can’t believe how good the scheme is.”

By comparison, Hunter has found PMI schemes can be expensive to run and administer. “PMI schemes normally have very fixed excess levels, out-patient limits and certain restrictive conditions attached to certain illnesses or conditions,” she says.

Nevertheless, Dennis Publishing still feels staff should be offered a choice of healthcare cover. To do this most cost-effectively, it has introduced an employee subsidy, which involves subsidising any PMI cover or PMI benefit an employee chooses.

Hunter says: “The cash plan is all about the here and now, with instant refunds available and a flexible choice of options or upgrades and areas of claim, while PMI is the longer-term option, which could protect you as an employer if faced with long-term absences due to waiting times.”