Bombardier Transportation UK uses private medical insurance claims data to inform integrated healthcare strategy

Bombardier Transportation UK

Train manufacturing organisation Bombardier Transportation UK used monthly private medical insurance (PMI) claims data to design an integrated healthcare strategy to respond to the health and wellbeing needs of its 2,600 UK-based staff.

Its integrated healthcare approach, which is delivered by Bupa, was implemented in 2011 after PMI claim statistics revealed a high prevalence of musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) among employees, who typically perform manual job roles. This led to the organisation creating a more proactive healthcare strategy, designed to specifically tackle MSDs in the workplace, improve the general health of the workforce, and reduce the costs of its PMI scheme, which has seen since seen a saving of £1 million.

David Puls, reward manager at Bombardier Transportation UK, says: “If we have a healthy workforce, with low sickness rates and high availability, [employees will] build trains more efficiently. Therefore, we try and design the routes that the employee takes [for healthcare access] to get them the best and most appropriate treatment, and the most cost effective as well.”

When an employee is off work due to ill health, the integrated healthcare approach is able to direct them to the most relevant and appropriate service to treat their condition promptly and efficiently, whether this is an appointment with the occupational health nurse or making a claim on the PMI scheme.

In July 2015, Bombardier Transportation UK changed its PMI provision from a traditional insurance product to a healthcare trust, administered by Bupa. This means that the organisation is not required to pay insurance premium tax (IPT), making the scheme more cost efficient. Underspending in the scheme also means that the funds are rolled over into the next year’s fund rather than paid as set premiums. This means that the organisation has been able to save approximately £150,000 a year on its private medical provision.

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Alongside PMI, which is offered to all employees on an employer-paid basis, Bombardier Transportation UK also provides occupational health, an employee assistance programme (EAP), a day-one absence management system, and a case management system. In addition to a variety of flexible benefits such as dental insurance, a health cash plan, life insurance, and critical illness insurance, staff also have access to a physiotherapy helpline that provides direct access to physiotherapy treatment for MSDs.

Puls adds: “It’s about getting people the best treatment as quickly as possible and getting them back to work. PMI we see as the end of the chain, not the start. We try the other interventions first and then if those haven’t succeeded, then we go to PMI as the most effective way to get fast treatment.”