Desperation caused by long waits for NHS treatment has caused some employees to sell shares from their company share scheme to pay for private treactment.
This has triggered employers to respond and buy health insurance schemes for their organisations to prevent the sell-off, Gethin Nadin, chief innovation officer at Benefex, told delegates at the Health & Protection IPMI Summit.
Industries such as the retail and supermarket sector, which historically offered little support, are increasingly recognising their need to act and provide heath and wellbeing benefits to staff.
Nadin (pictured) explained the number one reason people were buying private medical insurance (PMI) in the UK was because of the pressure on the NHS and .
“I work with customers who found out their employees were selling shares from their share schemes to pay for elective care because the waiting lists were too long for small things like gallstones and knee surgery,” Nadin revealed.
“And employers want to stop that. They decided the share scheme was supposed to be a reward: ‘This was supposed to be a long term investment vehicle for our people, I don’t want them spending that money because of the NHS’.
“And so you’ve got lots of employers starting to ask ‘how do I help my people not be on waiting lists? How can I ensure that if you come and work for me, you won’t have to wait as long or pay as much as you would if you worked for the next company?'”
‘Life support for employees’
According to Nadin, this was reciprocated by staff who wanted their employers to step up and help them when they fall ill.
“I really think benefits are starting to become almost like life support for employees and that’s becoming louder and louder in this country where the NHS isn’t providing in the way that we might have expected it to,” he cotntinued.
And this trend is particularly evident in the worlds of retail and hospitality which have been particularly hard to recruit and retain staff since the pandemic.
“Employees started to question what the point was in working for their employer,” Nadin added.
“We saw that a lot in hospitality and retail and those were obviously industries that have struggled to attract and retain people.
“We are now going into far more competitive tenders with retailers than we ever have. We have employers that work with us like Lidl and Aldi who have given something like four or five pay rises in the last 18 months.
“You can now get a really good benefits scheme from a retailer in the UK which was unheard of five years so.
“You would never have paid for some of the health and protection benefits that some of these retailers are paying for now because they have to try harder to recruit and retain people.”