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Private medical insurance at work please, say employees

04 September 2008 / by Rachael Stiles
More than half of Britons think that employers should take more responsibility for their employees' health, investing in corporate private medical insurance schemes.

Research from health insurance provider Bupa has found that Brits are now almost as concerned with the provision of Private medical insurance (PMI) in the work place as they are with having a work pension.

According to the survey, 40 per cent of the UK population now value private medical insurance as the second most important benefits of a job after a pension, halving the popularity gap between the two perks to just nine per cent.

PMI is obviously becoming a more desired perk of the job, nearing the top of the UK employee's wish list along with other health-related benefits, such as health assessments and free gym membership.

Companies are already under pressure from the Government to invest in health case for their employees, so it is hoped that the results of this research will provide further encouragement, that revealing how highly it is valued by individuals will encourage more employers to provide it for their employees.

The need for companies to support the health and wellbeing of their staff was also highlighted recently by the Department for Work and Pensions in its 'Review of the Health of the Working Population.'

"The rising popularity of workplace health benefits, particularly PMI, reflects changing attitudes to personal healthcare," said Ann Greenwood, director of business markets at BUPA Health Insurance, "people are now keen to have more control of their healthcare options rather than leaving them to chance."

Some of the primary concerns of the UK's workforce include wanting faster access to specialist care, not having to wait to be treated, and, above all, the cleanliness of hospitals – the main reason for three in every four employees wanting to have PMI.

Cleanliness and hygiene is now the prime concern for eight per cent more people than last year, in light of recent health scares involving hospital bugs such as MRSA.

Ms Greenwood continued: "At Bupa, we work with 88 percent of FTSE 100 companies as well as thousands of smaller businesses across the country. We know that companies are keen to play their part in keeping Britain healthy, but the current tax treatment of workplace health provision is an obstacle and a strong disincentive.

"Our own research of corporate clients shows that nine out of ten employers want to see support from the Government. Over half would invest more in employee health and wellbeing if fiscal disincentives were removed."

© Fair Investment Company Ltd