Healthcare and wellbeing strategies rise to the top of many corporate agendas

Debbie Lovewell-Tuck

November saw several events that brought employers’ healthcare and wellbeing strategies firmly back to the top of many corporate agendas.

National Stress Awareness Day on 4 November highlighted the ongoing issue facing many organisations of how best to support staff suffering from stress and other mental health issues.

This can be such a sensitive subject that it is perhaps no surprise that some employers prefer to shy away from addressing such issues in the workplace, perhaps for fear of saying or doing the wrong thing and potentially offending employees. Yet, employers can be ideally placed to provide the help and support that afflicted employees may need. And doing so can have significant business benefits in terms of enhanced staff loyalty and productivity. Read more about how to stay engaged with mental health issues.

On 1 November, meanwhile, National Stress Awareness Day was preceded by the rise in insurance premium tax (IPT) from 6% to 9.5%. This has had significant implications for benefits such as private medical insurance (PMI), dental insurance and health cash plans, which have all seen price increases as a result.

This has posed a number of issues for providers in how to deal with the increase in cost, particularly where schemes are currently midway through their contract.

While some providers have initially absorbed this cost on behalf of employer clients, others have already passed the increase on to existing schemes. Understanding how this impacts their healthcare schemes, therefore, is vital for employers. Read more here.

Healthcare trusts are just one option for organisations looking for alternative ways of funding medical cover. ‘What role do healthcare trusts play in a modern health and wellbeing strategy?’ explains more about how these work.

One of the buzzwords we have heard in relation to all areas of benefits over the past few years is data. In the health and wellbeing arena, data is being used to enable employers to target their benefits offering to meet the needs of their workforce and tackle the issues impacting staff. Absence management data is particularly relevant in this respect. Read more about how data sourced from absence management systems can be used to drive a health and wellbeing strategy.

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Keeping up to date with the latest trends in health and wellbeing might seem like a never-ending task at times, but it’s one that will ultimately pay dividends.

Debbie Lovewell-Tuck
Editor