University of Nottingham offers private medical insurance as part of a broad wellbeing approach

The University of Nottingham introduced its private medical insurance (PMI) scheme in January 2019.

There were a few reasons behind the organisation’s decision to implement the benefit:, explains Ben Hadwin, HR project manager: “We really tried to step up our wellbeing offering in general, and my view is that it’s about giving people choices. We have a health cash plan in place, but we know that there was demand for full private health cover. So it was an awareness that wellbeing was increasingly important.”

Another selling point was that the university could offer its employees the benefit at a better cost than they could get privately, explains Hadwin. As a public sector organisation, the university’s PMI scheme is employee funded, but the corporate discount makes it an attractive option to employees. “It was around what voluntary options we could offer, and how to help peoples’ pay go further,” says Hadwin.

The university has a range of employees on different employment contracts, but the PMI scheme is open to all employees that have a contract for a year or more, which is around 6,000 members of staff.

The university has four campuses in Nottingham and a fairly large proportion of manual workers who do not always have access to their emails, so reaching all employees presented a communication challenge. The organisation uses weekly and monthly all-staff emails, and posters, as well as benefits roadshows, to get information out about the scheme. It also introduced a staff benefits hub in November 2018, which is used to promote the PMI benefit.

Although it is too early to determine the reasons behind take-up for 2020, Hadwin noted an increase in members during this year’s enrolment window in May, compared to the first year of the scheme.

As part of its focus on building a broad wellbeing offering, the university introduced an employee assistance programme (EAP) at the same time as the PMI scheme. “It’s part of the wider project to increase what our staff can benefit from,” says Hadwin.

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