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Making Healthcare Insurance An Affordable Option for SMEs

Russell Scanlan


Many SMEs believe the prospect of offering employees private healthcare insurance stretches beyond their budget.  But in an increasingly competitive job market, and with the potential benefits and cost savings of reducing absenteeism and increasing productivity, can they afford not too? Chris Cunnington, Business Healthcare Manager at Nottingham’s largest independent insurance brokers, Russell Scanlan, looks at how attractive workplace benefits need not be out of reach for smaller companies.

With Brexit leaving the cost of importing and exporting goods uncertain, the continuous rise of minimum wage, increased rent prices and the threat of potentially financially-crippling cyber attacks, SME’s are facing an uphill battle of increased business expenses.  For many, the idea of staff benefits such as healthcare is one cost too far, stretching already overburdened budgets to breaking point.

According to a recent poll we carried out on Twitter, 54.5% of people believed that offering healthcare insurance for employees is simply too expensive for SME’s.  One in ten senior managers feel they are unable to provide benefits other than workplace pensions, with lack of budget cited as the main reason, followed by the belief that their company wasn’t big enough.

Whilst the thought of having to pay out may be daunting, the benefits of a healthy workplace far outweigh the initial outlay. Taking out health insurance is proven to reduce staff absenteeism and as a result increase office productivity and staff loyalty, eliminating any loss of profit that may occur from sick days.  What’s more, it really can be far more affordable than you might expect.  A healthcare and wellness package can start from just £7 per month.

Healthcare packages can also help tip the scales when it comes to recruitment. With the increased waiting times for public healthcare and added pressures on the NHS, the demand for private healthcare insurance has risen.  In fact for many, it is now seen as a basic requirement rather than an added benefit.  With larger corporations re-considering their ‘employee perks’ in a bid to conquer acute labour shortages, SME’s need to do more to attract employees. When it comes to bringing on board the very best talent, a strong benefits package is worth its weight in gold, with almost 35% of SME owners believing that it is the reason they miss out to larger corporation.

Over recent years, we have seen a flurry of providers who offer realistic packages for SMEs to put in place and cost much less than employers may think. Equipsme, is a smart and super cost-effective way of providing practical Health and Wellbeing support for employees. Aimed at SMEs, Equipsme includes Health Insurance from AXA PPP healthcare and brings together essential services such as 24/7 GP Access, optional extras such as Stress Support and ‘day one’ value with personalised Health Checks. Russell Scanlan is one of a select number of insurance brokers from across the UK, chosen to work with Equipsme on this ground-breaking product.

Of course, the old adage prevention is better than cure is particularly true when it comes to the importance placed on wellbeing within the workplace. Vitality offers a unique mix of great medical cover and wellness rewards designed to create a healthier, happier, more productive workforce. It offers fast access to private GPs, consultants, hospitals, high-quality treatment and a Full Cover Promise.  The Vitality Discounts and Rewards Programme helps inspire positive behavioural change and build a healthier, more engaged and productive workforce, no matter what your business size.

The advantages of providing a comprehensive healthcare package far outweigh the risks.  It is simple to put in place, boosts productivity and can be adapted as a SME grows. Engaged employees equal a productive and content workforce and good health leads to productivity. The benefits are central to attracting and retaining talent leading to business opportunities that benefit everyone.


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