Fitness benefits 'rising in popularity' among cash plan members

Dental and optical still core, but employees interested in fitness too

An increasing number of employees believe fitness is an important part of their healthcare benefits, although “core” features such as dental and optical care remain key, according to a major piece of research published this week.

A survey of 20,000 members of Health Shield, the cash plan provider, suggests that younger male employees in particular are showing a greater interest in getting access to fitness benefits such as reduced health club fees and personal training.

The research, carried out over a four year period, shows that while dental and optical remain the bedrock benefits of cash plans, many employees are utilising “non-core” ones.

It shows that in 2010, 65% of 18 to 24 year-olds say that they value the fitness benefit in their cash plan, a rise of 12% since 2006. While there was a moderate increase in interest in the 35 to 44 and 55 to 64 year-old age groups, the biggest rise was seen among male employees aged between 18 to 24. That age group saw a 27% increase in interest in fitness benefits, to 71%.

Philip Wood, sales & marketing director of Health Shield, said that with over a quarter of adults in the UK thought to be clinically obese, it comes as “little surprise” that benefits such as fitness are rising in prominence.

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