Are health cash plans still a useful benefit?

Are health cash plans still a useful benefit?

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.

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