The business case for a company health plan

Offering a corporate health plan isn’t just a feel-good option: it makes sound business sense. Here’s why.

With more than half of the Australian population taking out private health insurance, it’s no doubt a welcome addition to any employee benefits scheme. And staff aren’t the only beneficiaries; corporate health cover can also deliver significant advantages to a business’s bottom line. Here are just some of the arguments in favour of a company health plan.

1. It fosters a healthy (and productive) workforce.

There’s a reason the likes of Google and Microsoft present workers with nutritious food options and on-site gyms: healthy staff are more productive. A 2012 study by Brigham Young University found that employees who eat healthy foods and exercise regularly are 25 per cent more likely to have increased performance throughout their day.

On the flipside, employees who suffer from physical or mental health problems contribute to high rates of absenteeism and presenteeism, with the former costing businesses A$3608 per Australian worker annually and making an estimated A$44 billion dent in the national economy.

With these figures set to rise as the population ages and chronic disease becomes more prevalent in the workforce, corporate health plans can help employees access treatment when they need it – and even avoid certain illnesses through intervention programs.

2. It can help you attract talent.

A company health plan is a good card to have up your sleeve if you want to secure quality staff, with a SEEK survey revealing that insurance and wellbeing programs ranked among the top 10 workplace benefits favoured by Australian employees.

As organisations compete to create an enticing employee value proposition, corporate health plans are becoming increasingly common, explains Tamsyn Elder, general manager corporate partnerships at Bupa. “More and more employers are thinking innovatively to attract and retain the best people,” she says.

3. It can boost company morale.

When employers provide corporate health cover, it sends a clear message that they’re invested in the wellbeing of their staff. This not only cultivates positive relationships within the organisation, but also bolsters its public image. It’s no coincidence that many of the businesses featured in the annual Great Places to Work list and Aon Best Employers program offer a company health plan – including a past winner of the latter, Cisco Systems Australia.

4. It doesn't have to cost much.

Companies can choose how much they contribute financially to their corporate health plan – and, in many cases, there’s no cost at all.

The 2016 Aon Employee Insured Benefits Benchmarking Study found that 81 per cent of organisations that provide private health insurance cover have employees pay the entire cost – a fact that Elder confirms, adding that many of Bupa’s corporate plans are voluntary.

“It’s not mandatory and there’s no cost to the employer,” she says. “However, many employers also choose to subsidise – either in part or in full – the health insurance costs of their people, or sometimes for key groups of employees.”

The tax implications vary according to each scenario. For example, employers may have a fringe benefits tax obligation if they opt to pay employees’ monthly premiums, as opposed to policy excesses as and when required. This is just one consideration that employers can take into account when tailoring a corporate health plan to suit the needs of their business, as well as their employees.

Find out more

To find out how your company can start a corporate health plan, email: cpa@bupa.com.au, visit Bupa Healthier Workplaces, or call 134 135 and quote 2112225.


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June 2019
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