Providing a corporate health plan within your business could provide many benefits for you, your company and your employees, according to the American Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
An investment in employee health initiatives can help lower healthcare costs and insurance premiums while also encouraging individuals to save money by improving their wellbeing and lifestyle choices.
The CDC identified a number of key areas where employers can benefit from business health plans – lower healthcare costs, increased productivity, morale and reputation.
Lower healthcare costs
When an employee is encouraged to make healthier lifestyle choices in the workplace, employers can benefit from lower business health insurance premiums, due to the individual becoming less of a risk to cover.
Additionally, the CDC revealed employees with more risk factors – such as being overweight, having diabetes or smoking – cost more to insure and often pay more for health care and medical treatment than individuals with fewer risk factors.
A comprehensive corporate wellness plan can potentially reduce these risks by promoting healthy lifestyle choices and management practices. Employers can also support employees with chronic conditions and high-risk factors to seek more appropriate medical treatment.
By reviewing 56 studies of American workplace health programs, the CDC found businesses who implement these strategies saved an average of 25 per cent on the cost of absenteeism, healthcare, workers' compensation and disability management claims.
The report also found individuals can experience significant savings by improving their health and lifestyle, including reducing how often they must visit a doctor or no longer spending money on cigarettes or unhealthy foods, for example.
Healthier employees are less likely to need time off to recover from illnesses. In addition to this, individuals who receive health and wellbeing support from their employer are likely to pass on the benefits to their immediate family. This means employees may also miss fewer workdays caring for unwell family members.
Offering business health insurance can also decrease absenteeism among those employees who suffer an injury or illness. This is because individuals who fail to seek appropriate treatment within a recommended time frame can often experience worse symptoms or prolonged adverse effects from the condition.
With access to health insurance, individuals are more likely to seek medical treatment when symptoms first appear, due to the ease of access to specialised services and not having to pay for these facilities out of their own pockets.
Productivity is also expected to increase due to the decline in presenteeism. Presenteeism is the productivity lost when employees come into work while experiencing symptoms that affect their ability to perform normal work tasks.
In 2009-10, presenteeism cost Australian businesses more than 34 billion, according to a 2011 report from Medibank. These costs were incurred due to unhealthy lifestyles, employees attempting to work while sick, staff members infecting their colleagues with contagious illnesses and high levels of job-related stress.
Morale and reputation
A business that offers a corporate health plan may benefit from a competitive advantage in their industry. Workplace health programs can be an important marketing tool to attract top talent during the recruitment process.
Additionally, business health plans can improve retention due to employees feeling cared for and believing their health and wellbeing is important to their employer.
To make the most of the potential increases to morale and reputation, it is important for employers to consider employee needs and interests when designing a corporate health plan.
Employee input is crucial to ensure the program includes suitable processes and benefits to adequately protect and improve the lifestyles of each individual.
If you are interested in implementing a business health plan in your workplace, talk to the team at HICA today. HICA can offer access to Australian health insurance suitable for businesses of all shapes and sizes.