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Pioneering Healthy Rewards For Staff

5 December 2005

Pioneering Healthy Rewards For Staff

Big 4 Professional services firm Deloitte has broken new ground in employee benefits, taking advantage of New Zealand's first dedicated health management account, Activa, to pick up the tab for their senior employees everyday healthcare costs.

Deloitte will provide and pay for Activa accounts for managers in a move which Chief Executive Officer, Murray Jack says is in line with the firm's emphasis on looking after its people, providing a supportive working environment and encouraging proactive heath and wellbeing.

"We wanted to provide a benefit of real value to our staff and one that gave them choice and flexibility in how they used that benefit. Activa fits those criteria for us."

Activa is a health management account which was launched earlier this year by Activa Health Limited, part of the not for profit Southern Cross Healthcare group.

It enables New Zealanders to set aside funds into an account for day-to-day healthcare costs. The account is accessed via an eftpos-style card at Activa's growing network of around 2000 participating health providers and retailers nationwide. Activa has also partnered with some leading health brands to provide extra value to customers, including dentists, opticians, pharmacies, health stores, gyms and sport retailers, as well as physiotherapists, audiologists, radiologists and beauty and appearance medicine clinics.

Pre-launch research showed individuals spend $1,500 on healthcare a year and families some $2,200, with 70% of that spending going on everyday costs such as GP visits, prescriptions, dental or optical care and health maintenance*.

Murray Jack says that figure brought home the true value of the Activa health management account as a benefit.

"When you sit down and analyse a year's spending on health, it's clear that the costs do add up to a considerable sum. Activa offered a great opportunity for us to provide a flexible benefit for our senior people that recognises their individual needs."

Activa Chief Operating Officer, Louise Kerridge says, "Activa customers can use the account in any way that benefits their health or, if they have one, the health of their families."

Deloitte were quick to see the advantages in providing a benefit to employees that is easy to administer and gives complete flexibility to the recipients.

"It is no more complicated for them than annually depositing funds into the account on behalf of their employees."

Following on from Deloitte's initiative, Ms Kerridge expects Activa's potential as a flexible workplace health programme to be quickly recognised by other employers and is already in discussion with a number of large organisations.

"Activa is a great option for employers who want to retain good people. It also allows employers to allocate funds equitably to employees across different job levels and for different lifestyle and health-related requirements"

"In addition, we hope long term that employers will see benefits such as increased productivity and decreased sick days by providing health dollars for their employees," says Ms Kerridge.

Activa is a real benefit, it is easily administered and can be used by employees in the way that best suits them. It has a health emphasis which is positive, but it's up to the user to decide what's important and the definition is broad. One year it could pay for the family's flu jabs, the next year it could be orthodontic treatment or top-of-the-line sunglasses.

"Another advantage is that this is not a 'here today, gone tomorrow' one-off benefit. Every time the employee uses their Activa health management account during the year, it's a reminder that their employer values them."

ENDS


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