Research found that health insurance ranked in the top three most sought-after benefits for a third (39 per cent) of employees. This was behind only flexible working (53 per cent) and a company pension scheme (46 per cent). The other core prioritised benefits were discounts (36 per cent) and free lunches (25 per cent), showing that as belts tighten with the cost-of-living crisis, people are relying on employers to support them when navigating economic uncertainty.
As the war for talent continues, benefits play a significant role in staff attraction and retention. More than two-fifths of employees (42 per cent) said they would be more likely to stay in their current role if it offered good health and wellbeing packages, while 28 per cent would feel more valued if their employer offered benefits to ease the cost-of-living.
Almost a fifth (19 per cent) said that health insurance through work is a priority benefit, as a result of financial pressures.
Business interest in health insurance options on the up
Bupa UK Insurance data indicates that businesses are responding, with the demand for health and wellbeing benefits at an all-time high. Bupa has seen significant growth in numbers, with over 150,000 new customers across private medical insurance, health trusts, dental and cash plans so far during 2022.
Alex Perry, CEO of Bupa UK Insurance, commented: “In challenging economic times, benefits like health insurance are really valued by employees and offer great reassurance. Setting out strong commitments to their employee wellbeing will help UK businesses attract and retain the brightest and best. Our data shows that looking after employees over the long term by prioritising their health, and that of their families, will always win out.”
The Bupa Wellbeing Index data also shows employees are making effective use of health insurance; 42 per cent of those with health and wellbeing benefits have used them in the last 12 months. But sadly, the ‘long-tail’ mental health impact of the pandemic is still being felt across generations, possibly exacerbated by the acute stresses of economic uncertainty.
Mental health conditions such as anxiety (11 per cent) and depression (9 per cent) were the most commonly addressed, in addition to Covid-19 (8 per cent), along with musculoskeletal issues such as back or joint pain (6 per cent). Overall, Bupa has seen claims for mental health conditions increase by 40 per cent between 2019 to 2021.