Demand for employee health insurance climbing dramatically as staff sickness levels increase, says Aceso Health and Group Risk

Mike Picken, Aceso Health and Group Risk

The rate of enquiries from employers around offering health insurance to staff as a benefit has never been higher, according to employee benefits provider Aceso Health and Group Risk, based in Leeds.

The business has seen enquiries from employers about medical and healthcare insurance climb rapidly since the pandemic put increased strain on the NHS. Now rising rates of long-term sickness are also driving employers to step in and offer private medical insurance to employees.

Aceso, which is part of the Attis Insurance Group and has six offices across the north of England and Midlands, has reported an increase in enquiries of more than 150% increase since January 2022, while rates of long-term sickness have escalated.

The Office for National Statistics reported in October that more than a million people in the UK had long Covid at least 12 months after they were first infected, and a recent YouGov report for Acas found that more than a quarter of employers (26%) had seen an rise in sickness absence compared to the same time last year.

“Employers are looking to step in and help their employees where they can through this bleak period, with less easily available access to healthcare and the cost of living crisis combining to create a perfect storm that’s proving difficult to cope with for many people,” said Mike Picken, executive director at Attis.
“Long NHS waiting lists and the frustrations that go with trying to obtain a GP appointment are starting to have a negative impact on productivity for some firms and a now a diverse range of employers are investigating ways they can help their staff to stay well.”

He added: “We’re seeing a big take up for innovative, low cost benefits such as cash plans. These everyday healthcare schemes have been around for years and are having a renaissance in the current climate. Starting from around £50 per employee they enable people to claim back healthcare costs such as prescription charges and dental care, as well as providing mental health support.”

He added: “However more comprehensive health insurance is also becoming popular with growing numbers of employees. Whereas previously it was always seen as a benefit that would only be offered to senior staff, many firms are now looking to provide it as a benefit for the whole workforce. We are being approached about staff health insurance by organisations of all sizes and across pretty much every sector.”

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