Analysis: Benefit duplication

“One size doesn’t fit all,” says Jill Davies, chief executive of Westfield Health. “By tailoring benefits you can avoid duplicating benefits and give the employer a cost-effective product that meets their needs.”

There are some restrictions to enable it to offer this to such small groups. The minimum premium must be at least £1 a week; cover must be selected for all eligible employees; and the plan must include at least two core benefits, which are optical, dental, consultation and therapies. But, providing these criteria are met, cover limits can be flexed. For instance, the benefit limits on optical and dental are £30 to £250 a year, while consultation and therapy treatments run from a minimum of £100 to £750 a year.

But while there are options to help employers avoid benefit double vision, Pontin would like to see providers taking a more joined-up approach to the way healthcare benefits interact rather than blindly adding the same benefits across the board.

“There needs to be more recognition that there’s a decreased risk when a particular combination of benefits are in place,” he explains.

There are plenty of instances where this interaction does come into play. For example, if an employer has income protection in place, the availability of medical intervention to prevent health problems becoming long-term could mean fewer claims on the medical insurance. Similarly, an EAP could drive down claims on both IP and medical insurance.

“Where there’s this duplication of cover there should be a discount,” Pontin adds. “Some providers, especially those that offer a range of products, will do this but many don’t. I’d like to see this change.”

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