Why should I consider corporate health insurance? Learn how these specialised policies can help the business and employees.
If you’re an employer, you should consider a corporate health plan because of the benefits it provides in terms of improved productivity and staff morale. If you’re an employee, being able to join a corporate health plan can offer not only cheaper health cover, but a range of great benefits as well.
A corporate health policy is a health insurance policy taken out by an employer for the benefit of their employees. Three methods exist for determining how the policy is paid for:
- Fully funded. The employer pays for the health cover of their employees as a benefit of employment.
- Partially funded. The cost of health insurance is shared by the employer and their employees.
- Voluntary. The employer finds a health policy for their employees who can choose to join and pay for it themselves if they wish.
The policy types that are available for corporate plans are the same as those offered to consumers by health funds, which are:
- Hospital insurance only. Covers the cost of in-hospital treatments and services.
- Extras insurance only. Also known as general treatment or ancillary insurance, this covers medical services outside of hospital.
- Combined hospital and extras insurance. A common way of buying health insurance, this ensures cover for a wide range of treatments.
The level of cover provided and the member benefits depends on the package the employer is able to negotiate with the insurer and the amount the employees are prepared to pay in premiums (if shared or employee funded).
Workplace health enjoys a much greater focus today than in previous years and having a corporate health plan is believed to provide a number of benefits for both employers and employees including:
- An improved company culture
- An increase in productivity
- A reduction in absenteeism
- A reduction in workplace accidents
- Attraction and retention of better employees
- More healthy employees through health and wellbeing programs
The following are just a few of the Australian health insurers currently offering corporate health plans. Open health funds allow anyone to apply for cover, while restricted funds only allow people from specific groups, industries or organisations to apply for membership.
Who can join these funds?
- CBHS Health Fund. Open to employees, contractors and franchisees of Commonwealth Bank of Australia Group as well as their partners and family members, including dependent and non-dependent children, siblings, parents and grandchildren.
- Navy Health. Open to current and former members, reservists and cadets of the ADF, employees of the DoD, Defence suppliers and more. Extended family as well as the ex-partner/spouse of those previously mentioned are also eligible to join.
- rt health fund. Open to current or former employees of Government or privately owned transport (air, sea, land) and energy generation/delivery entities, as well as those involved in administering them. Extended family of eligible members can also join.
Choosing the right corporate health plan can be hard for an employer. There are myriad options offered by a host of insurers and you need to know what sort of plan will be attractive and beneficial to your workforce.
You also have to decide whether you will fund the health plan yourself, share funding with your employees or let them pay for it all. Your decision will depend on factors such as:
- The number of employees you have (voluntary plans require a minimum of 500).
- How willing they will be to participate.
- Whether you have the time, money and resources to manage the policy if you choose to fund it yourself.
That’s why, when comparing policies, it’s important to not only look at the discount you’ll receive and the employee incentives and benefits, but the level of management being offered along with the policy. Some insurers have whole teams dedicated to implementing and running corporate healthcare plans, including educating employees and organising health and wellbeing programs. If you don’t have a lot of resources to throw at it yourself, a managed plan such as this might be your best option.
There are a few common misconceptions about corporate health plans that prevent some employers from considering them. Let's dispel the myths so you can make a more informed decision as to whether corporate health insurance can benefit your business.
|The myth||The reality|
As mentioned above, some small businesses shy away from corporate health plans, believing them to be only for large companies with a lot of employees. A corporate health plan can, in fact, benefit a business of any size due to the fact that it can be tailored to fit the available budget, the number of employees and the preferred type of funding.
If an employer is time poor, the administration can be taken care of by a broker, whose can help you by:
- Finding the right plan that fits the businesses requirements.
- Educating both employer and employees on its workings.
- Providing an ongoing point of contact for advice and assistance and reducing costs.
- Minimising risks and increasing the quality of the cover over time.
As well as providing affordable health insurance through a corporate health plan, employers can improve workplace health in a number of other ways including:
- Identifying and eliminating sources of workplace stress such as harassment and bullying.
- Improving the workplace environment by upgrading things like lighting and ergonomics and providing relaxation areas for breaks.
- Recognising and rewarding good work and providing opportunities for advancement.
- Creating a better work/life balance by providing more flexible hours or the option to work from home.
- Choosing a corporate health plan that offers free or discounted access to health and wellbeing services and programs or initiating your own program for employees.
Many people mistakenly believe that they wouldn’t qualify for a corporate discount on health insurance, when in fact there are a number of ways you can receive a discounted health plan. These include:
- Through your employer and in some cases a previous employer
- Through your super fund
- Through an association or a club you belong to
- Through your mutual bank or credit union