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Benefits Of Providing Employee Health Insurance

15 November 2004

Business Benefits Of Providing Employee Health Insurance

According to a new corporate health study, uninsured employees have a significantly higher rate of absenteeism from the workplace than those who have private health insurance.

Research conducted recently by TNS New Zealand Ltd examined and measured the value to a business of employees having subsidised Southern Cross health insurance.

Head of Corporate Solutions at Southern Cross Medical Care Society, Peter Tynan said, “The survey specifically examined the impact on stress and productivity in the workplace and employee retention.

“Comparisons were made between the experiences of those with subsidised health insurance and uninsured workers who had either already had an operation or were on a waiting list.”

Results of the survey showed: On average, the uninsured had to wait 11 weeks longer for hospitalisation following a GP referral. While waiting for treatment, normal work performance is adversely affected for 48% of uninsured verses 25% of insured employees. 36% of uninsured employees are likely to experience high stress levels while waiting for treatment in contrast to 20% of those with insurance. Absenteeism from work for the insured averaged 14 days compared to a considerably higher 71 days for uninsured. Even if the worst cases were taken out of this equation, the uninsured still averaged 48 absentee days.

Mr Tynan said, “Statistics available also showed that 91 of New Zealand’s top 100 companies offer some form of health benefit to employees.

He said, “As well as assisting with higher levels of employee productivity, health insurance remains a way to attract and retain talent and encourage positive feelings and loyalty towards the employer.”

This was highlighted when 65% of the insured who participated in the survey indicated they are more likely to remain with their employer as a result of receiving subsidised health insurance.

“Employers are obviously picking up on this too,” said Mr Tynan, “because recent statistics from a remuneration survey done by Mercer Human Resource Consulting also show that the percentage of staff and middle management receiving medical insurance as a benefit has been steadily increasing since 2002.”

The results emphasised the value of subsidised health insurance to both employers and employees - reduced sick leave, increased productivity and more likelihood for retention of staff as well as helping to position a business as an employer of choice.


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