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What are health cash plans?

Health cash plans are schemes that allow you to pay a monthly fee and in return you are entitled to have your routine medical and dental expenses covered. For example, you might pay £10 a month and that could cover up to £100 of dental costs, £100 of physio appointments and £100 of opticians’ appointments.

While it may sound similar to health insurance, they are not the same thing and you may even have both at the same time. This is because health insurance will only cover conditions that develop after you take out a plan, whereas a cash plan can be used to cover ongoing and routine appointments.

Many employees enjoy health cash plans as a perk of their job, and they use them to help with the costs of routine health appointments. However, with the Covid-19 outbreak and the initial lockdown in the UK in March 2020, routine dental and optical appointments were put on hold.

Now, a year into the pandemic, routine appointments are available, however are cash plans still a useful employee benefit?

Are health cash plans still a useful employee benefit?

Despite the multiple lockdowns, which resulted in some routine services being put on hold, cash plan claims for dental and optical appointments have continued throughout the year. This suggests that employees are still benefiting from cash plans, and it makes sense – the Covid-19 pandemic has put a strain on people’s mental and physical health, as well as a strain on their finances.

Many cash plans include telephone helplines for stress, debt management, and addiction, as well as legal and financial information, and this support has been invaluable for people throughout the pandemic.

Another important factor to note, is that the pandemic has required many services to be delivered virtually. Cash plans can offer access to virtual GP helplines, which has meant people have been able to speak to their GP without fear of the virus.

Health cash plans and wellbeing

Another way that cash plans have come into play, is in supporting mental health. Almost half of employees feel like the pandemic has made their job more stressful, and 42% of employers have lost an employee due to inadequate wellbeing support at work. Cash plans are a way to offer support whilst employees are working remotely.

One way to make sure cash plans can continue to offer support for employees is to extend the claim period, offer payment holidays, and to pay claims in the correct benefit year, when they were rescheduled due to the pandemic.

Cash plans in a virtual world

The pandemic and subsequent lockdowns have meant many healthcare providers had to rapidly transition to an online space. By December 2020, 89% of GP consultations were delivered online using video technology.

Online counselling calls have also increased by 903% and counselling services have seen a 44% increase in anxiety calls.

With stress and anxiety at an all-time high, cash plans can provide a vital bridge to counsellors and preventative healthcare. This on demand approach to healthcare will likely remain in the future and health cash plans have the potential to enable a proactive solution to looking after employee’s health and wellbeing.

Hopefully, you now have a better understanding of health cash plans and what they are and how to use them.

As we are operating primarily remotely right now, we can offer a telephone call, or virtual video call to answer your questions. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch, we’d love to hear from you.

According to the Association of British Insurers, around 1.6 million pension pots worth £19.4 billion are unclaimed due to savers failing to contact their pension provider when they move house.

Only 1 in 25 people contact their pension provider when they move house which causes many people to lose significant amounts of money which they have simply forgotten about.

Now is a good time to start thinking of which employers you have worked for and start checking if some of the £19.4 billion is yours.

The Government even have a website to help you trace lost pensions, why not give it a try: https://www.gov.uk/find-pension-contact-details

Employers claims that certain roles can only be fulfilled from the office may themselves be made redundant with almost half (45%) of British office workers believing that the pandemic will result in a ‘permanent change’ to their employers approach to flexible working.

O2s ‘The Flexible Future of Work’ report, conducted by the telecoms giant in partnership with ICM and YouGov, found that 81% of respondents who anticipate a change are expecting to be able to work at least one day a week from home, with 33% aiming to increase their home working by at least three days a week after lockdown.

These potential changes to the work/life balance could also have a knock-on effect for geographical popularity. The poll showed that nearly half of city dwellers (41%) would consider a move to more rural locations and 63% of Brits would be willing to live up to an hour away from their workplace if the need to physically attend the office was reduced.

If the geography factor in recruiting is reduced, then competition to attract and retain staff could intensify post lockdown.

The findings of the report were released just days before Twitter announced that all its employees will be allowed to work at home ‘forever’.

“If our employees are in a role and situation that enables them to work from home and they want to continue to do so forever, we will make that happen” said Twitter Chief Executive Jack Dorsey.

Dr Heejung Chung, Reader in Sociology and Social Policy Director at the University of Kent, who is currently researching the impact of flexible working, said: “The UK has a huge challenge with the geographic distribution of wealth, and this exaggerates the problem of overpopulation in cities. If people could work from wherever they want to, without any fear of career penalty, this would create a huge opportunity for everyone.”

Natasha Newby, Head of Proposition Development commented “At Corinthian we have always understood the need, and indeed always have had members of our team that use, agile working. We know that this is important to support the business, our client’s business needs and of course to support our team and their home commitments. Lockdown has just highlighted the efficiency of flexible working.”

The Chancellor confirmed in his budget earlier today that the furlough scheme will now run until September 2021.
The furlough scheme is also called ‘The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme’.
Employees on furlough will continue to get 80% of their salary for hours not worked, up to £2,500 per month.
From July 2021, employers will be asked to contribute more. The state will only then pay 70%, with employers expected to pay the remaining 10% of employee’s reduced income, and in August and September the state will pay 60% and employers will have to pay 20%.
You can continue work part-time while on furlough or be furloughed full-time, as now. Your employer can either put you on furlough full-time, or you’ll be able to work part-time and be furloughed for the hours you don’t work. Your employer will have to cover your wages at the normal rate for any hours you do work.
If you want to find out more, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.