The Health Trust is a new scheme that combines a tax efficient health benefits vehicle with getting people who would not normally receive income protection or private medical insurance (PMI) back to work when it is not for a work-related injury or medical condition.
The plan starts with a nurse-based case management system, with employees referred by HR or line managers. The nurse is trained to identify return to work barriers using the biopsychosocial model.
Employers get access to the Medical Disability Guidelines, the world’s most comprehensive set of disability duration guidelines. Using these, Absence Matters calculates the overall cost to the employer of NHS waiting times, sick pay, lost productivity, temporary cover, case managed private assessment and treatment (dovetailed with NHS facilities), through the quickest and most cost efficient route.
Any private treatment is through the Employer’s Medical Benefits Trust which, like other health trusts, is a tax efficient (no Insurance Premium Tax usually) alternative to PMI. The system could be added into an existing health trust too.
Cost depends on a number of factors. A typical scheme could include £12,500 set up costs, plus an annual fee of £5 per employee. Rehabilitation fees start at £155 for phone-based help and go up to £650 for a home visit. The plan is aimed mainly at larger employers.
What They Say
Head of client relations Karen Gamble said: “There are too many medical conditions that cost employers, as the NHS takes too long and is too disparate to handle so many medical conditions efficiently. This product is designed to give a helping hand to employees who would not normally qualify for either PMI or income protection. The trust is designed to save employers significant sums of money whilst delivering a tangible benefit to employees.”
What We Say
"Absence Matters’ scheme takes the basic idea of health insurance and uses the sophisticated biopsychosocial model to calculate the real cost of absence on a case by case basis. But it then goes further, to apply case management to intervene where that makes financial sense. All tied up in a tax efficient wrapper.
"The result is exciting, not just because it should actually prove itself financially, but also because it holds out the prospect of taking PMI and income protection style solutions to a large number of workers who currently get neither from their employer.
"The scheme only applies to larger firms, mainly due to its set up costs but, for those firms which like the idea of PMI but not paying for something that may give them a negative return, this scheme is well worth looking at. It won’t replace full PMI for senior people, but then that’s not its aim."